Antoinette van Heugten's latest thriller just released

AT HOME in Fredericksburg, best-selling author Antoinette van Heugten enjoys walking two of her dogs, Rupert and Phoebe, in the downtown area. Her second book, The Tulip Eaters, is now available. — Photo courtesy James Fox

By Yvonne Hartmann— Just like her first book, Antoinette van Heugten’s latest thriller, The Tulip Eaters, is “near and dear to my heart.”

The Tulip Eaters follows on the heels of van Heugten’s first book, Saving Max, a USA Today bestselling novel based on her real-life experience as a mother of two autistic children.

The former international trial lawyer who now calls Fredericksburg home was inspired to write The Tulip Eaters after doing research on the Dutch resistance movement at the Dutch War Institute.

“Both of my parents were Dutch,” van Heugten said, explaining that they fought in the resistance in the Netherlands during World War II.

“Although they did not speak of it often, as children we heard stories of how our grandmother hid a Jewish boy in the cellar, how my mother transported microfiche on her bicycle and how my father had blown up munitions depots,” said the author, who is known to her friends and family as Nettie Joseph.

She continued, “We also were made well aware of the hardships their families and others suffered during the five years of Nazi occupation, particularly the starvation conditions toward the end of the war.”

“As such, I have always had a personal as well as a historical fascination with that time period,” van Heugten said. “My parents’ heroism, demonstrated when they were only teenagers was my initial inspiration. Reading the diaries and letters of so many Dutch people during war inspired me further.”

The Tulip Eaters follows Nora de Jong, who comes home from work to find her mother murdered and her six-month-old infant daughter, Rose, missing. She also discovers the body of an unknown man who appears to be Dutch, clutching a Luger in his hand.

“Nora works with the police to try to find Rose, but there isn’t a single clue until Nora finds mysterious documents in a metal box that bring everything she thought about her parents into question and drives her halfway across the world to Amsterdam, where pieces of an old family diary lead her into her mother’s past and a world of secrets, lies and truths that played out in Nazi-occupied Netherlands between 1940 and 1945,” van Heugten explained.

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