I'm one of the publishers of All About Romance. I love reading romance, as well as mysteries, fantasy, history and historical fiction, and all kinds of other things. Staying on Goodreads for now but trying this out in case I decide to switch.
Wow - this book is such a cluster I don't even know where to begin. I forgot my Kindle on a recent trip, so I picked this up to while away the time on my train ride to NYC. I think being trapped on a crowded train is the only thing that made me keep reading.
So, where to start? Well, the truly sad thing about The Tulip Eaters is that it actually does have promise. Set in the 1980s, it gets off to a truly jarring start as the heroine, Nora de Jong, comes home from work to find her mother and a strange man both murdered in the house and her infant daughter missing. Not surprisingly, Nora is completely beside herself. As she searches for clues, it becomes apparent that the crime has its roots in events that took place during WWII, when Nora's parents still lived in the Netherlands. The historical angle of this story was the one thing that held my interest throughout the novel. Too bad it was poorly developed and lost in a sea of bad plotting.
Well, now that I've told you the positive side of this book, I'm sure you want to know what was wrong with it. And there's plenty on that score. For starters, Nora is quite possibly the most maddening heroine I've read in ages. She has a daughter but didn't bother to inform the child's father of her existence because she didn't want to have to deal with the man being in her life after she broke things off with him. As she goes about trying to find her daughter, she takes her clues and goes running off to the Netherlands without much of a plan. Luckily for her, hysterics and stumbling into random coincidental happenings seem to work very well for solving international kidnapping cases. I haven't had the same type of experience in my own law practice but I guess I just don't live in the right sort of fictitious world.
In addition to the frustrating journey of the heroine, the villains in this tale are pretty open and obvious so there's just not a lot of suspense there. The author also makes the mistake of taking a terrible event in history and exploring it with little nuance whatsoever. People were harmed during the war and treated in unspeakable ways by the Nazis? Well, guess who's going to turn eeeevilll.
Throw in a half-hearted romance and shoddy police work on the kidnapping, and you've got quite a mess. The ending was just the icing on the cake. I won't give it away, but let's just say that the author tries to get all Jodi Picoult on us and instead of giving a logical resolution, throws in a curveball that seems designed to make readers ponder about Big Moral Questions. Or if you're like me, you just wonder what is up with the heroine making yet another boneheaded decision.
In case you can't tell, this is not a book I'd recommend reading. Not at all.