cover image The Tulip Eaters

The Tulip Eaters

Antoinette van Heugten. Harlequin Mira, $15.95 (368p) ISBN 978-0-7783-1388-5

Van Heugten’s sophomore effort (after Saving Max) chronicles the ordeal a mother goes through to rescue her kidnapped daughter, uncovering the truth behind her own mother’s past along the way. In 1980 Houston, pediatric surgeon Nora de Jong comes home to discover her mother Anneke’s mutilated dead body next to that of a man Nora’s never seen before. Missing from the house is Nora’s six-month-old daughter, Rose. Fed up with police bureaucracy, Nora takes matters into her own hands, traveling to Holland, the de Jongs’ homeland, to chase down clues. She’s aided by Nico, whom she fell in love with when she studied in Amsterdam but reluctantly left behind to pursue a career in America. Though riveting from start to finish, the book’s credibility suffers as the villain grows more cartoonish and evil, and van Heugten stumbles by letting us into the kidnapper’s mind early on, reducing the element of mystery. The story remains absorbing nonetheless, working best as that of a daughter discovering things about her mother and her family. Agent: Al Zuckerman, Writers House. (Nov.)