Just after World War II, Anton brought his Australian "child"-bride Miranda home to Amsterdam, but his mother Ria rejects Miranda. Over the next few years, Anton went on many sea voyages, eventually leaving Miranda and their daughter Diana behind with his mother.
When Diana is still a preadolescent, Anton fails to return from his latest sea voyage. With the bills piling up and no income coming in, Miranda decides to take in borders. Soon her cooking skills become famous and many of the housewives start ordering her dishes. Over the next few years as Diana becomes a teen she misses her father. When Rotterdam anthropologist Max Madoqua learns about all the exotic items in Miranda's home that Anton brought home over the years, he makes an attempt to see them using Diana's father fixation as his avenue to the collection. With Max's prompting, Diana sneaks into her father's two special locked rooms to begin a quest to find out what happened to him.
MANGOES AND QUINCE is a period piece that centers on the deep characters, especially Miranda, Diana, and to a lesser degree Ria and indirectly Anton. The story line travels at a leisurely pace so that the reader can savor the feelings of the principal players. Not for action lovers, Carole Field has written an interesting family drama that will please those historical cozy fans. This is one of those rare books that belong on the keeper shelf