Gypsy Shadow Publishing . . . Quality e-Books for today; Print books forever . . .

Back to Gypsy Shadow's Homepage

Hendrik van Oordt

Hendrik van Oordt, author of The Mystery of Whale House Dutch sculptor and occasional writer. Two non-fiction books (Le lexique bilingue d'analyse financière, Accent International, France and Bloemen, Taal & Symboliek; Elmar, Netherlands), some loose stories, a romance under the pseudonym Alicia Holland (The Woman's Story, Wings ePress, United States), a storybook for young children under the pseudonym Mols Hoop (Van Beesten en Monsters; Free Musketeers, Netherlands)

New Title(s) from Hendrik van Oordt

The Mystery of Whale House by Hendrik van Oordt The WIll and the Way by Hendrik van Oordt

Congratulations to Hendrik for being in the top ten in the Children's novel 2011 P & E Readers Poll for The Mystery of Whale House.
P&E top ten 2011 Readers Poll--Children's


Click on the thumbnail(s) above to learn more about the book(s) listed.


The Mystery of Whale House by Hendrik van Oordt Shipped off to an aunt and uncle on remote Rew island while their parents are moving house, Frank, Dana and Martin are bored to death in a place without internet or even proper cell phone reception. All the locals talk about is the lobster catch. But just when our city-bred heroes decide to start boycotting their aunt's fish soup, they hear a story about a mad woman and her son living in Whale House, a gothic monstrosity perched on an isolated peninsula up north. Cut off from the remainder of the island by a sudden storm, the three teens are forced to seek refuge in Whale House, where they discover a terrible secret. After considerable adventures, they come face to face with their captors, who cannot afford to let them escape…
Word Count:
Pages to Print:
File Format:
PDF                  Price: $ 3.99

The Will and the Way by Hendrik van Oordt

Cellist Kim Chalmers is in Paris preparing for a world tour when her fiancé, yaughtsman John Dunesne, is caught in a storm and reported missing. Haunted by John's loss and a failed childhood love for which she still feels responsible, Kim gets deeply depressed and ready to give up a promising career.

Agent and friend Anne Moorecroft discovers the whereabouts of Kim's childhood love, Will Evans, now a wild-cat oil operator in the Sahara, and tries to rekindle the fire between Kim and Will. Just then John Dunesne is found alive on the Irish coast. Kim's heart is in a turmoil. She is faced with a terrible choice. Will she make the right decision?

Word Count: 59400
Pages to Print: 211
File Format: PDF
Price: $4.99


The Mystery of Whale House
     Whale House stands at the end of the world. Everybody on Rew Island has heard the story of the boy who tried to cross to the House for a dare and was swept away by the waves and drowned. For most of the year it is blanketed in fog and rain, making it impossible to reach. Even when the weather is fair, the ocean washes over the slippery causeway at high tide. And fair weather never lasts long over there. Aye, it is a dangerous place to visit.

     Thus began the story Mr. Buirr told Frank, Dana and Martin one morning in the little harbor of Rew.
     How the children hated Rew! They were on the island under serious protest. They disliked everything about it, particularly the total absence of internet connections. In fact, they considered their holiday a punishment and a ploy to get them away from their computers and their mp3 downloads.
     Of course, the trip was not meant to be a punishment. It was merely a practical solution to give their parents the breather needed to decorate the family’s new home. But try telling that to a boy who has to trade his videogames for old-fashioned board games or a girl who can no longer spend her evenings chatting online with her girlfriends!
     Only Martin, who was the youngest, had liked the idea of going to stay with an aunt and an uncle they had never met. He enjoyed adventure stories and he was sure Rew Island must have loads of hidden treasure. He had therefore been deeply disappointed when Uncle Robert told him laughingly that no pirates had ever visited the coast.
     “The only treasure we have is the oysters in the bay,” Uncle Robert said. Martin secretly disagreed. Oysters were no treasure. They looked disgusting when you opened them and they tasted worse.
     Even worse, Uncle Robert and Aunt Nelly expected you to eat everything on your plate and somehow, when Aunt Nelly looked at you, you didn’t dare to object that you’d rather have a hamburger than some slimy animal from the sea.
     Yes, Frank, Dana and Martin couldn’t wait to go home after their first few days on Rew Island.
     And they had just resolved to write their parents (their aunt had no telephone and mobile phones just didn’t seem to capture a signal on the island) when they met Mr. Buirr. They immediately forgot all about their plans to go home. It was the start of an adventure, though they didn’t know it yet.
     Aunt Nelly had become so tired of their hanging around the house that she had said, quite crossly, “It’s a beautiful day and I’ve got work to do. Why don’t you go and see Mr. Buirr? He’s that old man with the pipe down by the harbor and he’s got all the time in the world to tell you stories and keep you occupied.”
     “What kind of stories?” Martin asked eagerly.
     “Oh, I don’t know. He loves telling stories. Ask him about Whale House; that will keep him talking. After all, the whole island’s been on about it forever. Now, off you go!”
     She had only said it to get them out of the house, but she had been right. When they saw Mr. Buirr they were delighted. He was the best thing they had come across so far on the island. Even Dana, who was really only into animals, had to admit he was interesting.
     He looked as if he had sailed every one of the Seven Seas. You just knew that he must have lots of interesting stories to tell. In fact, he could have stepped straight out of a television series with his weathered face and deep blue eyes. The only thing missing was a parrot on his shoulder.
     And so they said politely “Good morning” to the bearded old sailor and stood waiting patiently while he finished mending his net, secretly hoping that he’d talk to them and tell them a thrilling story about Shanghai (which Martin wanted to hear), wonderful animals (Dana’s wish) or life on board a ship (Frank’s preference).
     Finally he put down his tools with a sigh, took out a pipe and said, “You’re the kids staying with the Coulders, ain’t that so?”
     The children nodded eagerly.
     The old man lit his pipe and, between puffs, said, “I guess Mrs. Coulder told you I’ve been round and about, right?” He chuckled when they nodded. “Well, I’ve seen a scary thing or two in my time and I didn’t have far to go. Them winter storms can put fear into the strongest fisherman. Aye.” He puffed quietly for a few moments.
     Before he could open his mouth to continue Martin interrupted, “Please, sir. What is Whale House?”
     The old man frowned unexpectedly in annoyance. “Who’s been telling you about Whale House? Your aunt, is it? Don’t she know better? Them women chatter far too much. They’re garrulous creatures and talk about things best left alone. Don’t you go to the House, I’m telling ye! It’s a dangerous place.
     “And the folks there don’t like visitors. They never did. Aye, the House is at the end of the world. I went there when a lad. I weren’t older than you,” (here he pointed his pipe at Dana, who was thirteen) “and I were that scared. The waves was crashing all over and when you saw one coming you had to run like the Divvil to miss it. I was nary swept away twice. These days the weather ain’t what it used to be.
     “You kids could cross now and no harm come to you but I wouldn’t recommend it! The House is a strange place. And it sure is the end of the world. Now you listen to me because I’m going to tell you a secret. But you’ve got to keep it secret, mind!”
     The children nodded enthusiastically, thrilled by Mr. Buirr’s hushed voice. They were ready to promise anything to hear his secret. The old man looked at them suspiciously, as if not certain how far he could trust them.
     “Tell us, please!” said Dana, who felt she would die if Mr. Buirr didn’t reveal his secret.
     “All right then. Ye won’t believe what I’m about to tell you and yet it’s the solemn truth, so help me!”                                                          Back to The Mystery of Whale House
The Will and the Way

“You didn’t bring any bedding?” Will Evans sounded almost sympathetic in his perplexity. “What did you expect to find here? A hotel?”

A smile briefly lit up his face, and Anne could once again feel the powerful attraction exuded by this man. But he didn’t explain the reason for his smile and it was gone in an instant, leaving the same handsome mask as before. He had probably been laughing at her.

“I’ll give you my tent for the night.”

Anne didn’t argue. She was a modern woman who valued her gender equality, but she was far too scared of what was happening to protest that she could sleep under the stars as well as any man. She had never camped out in her life and she had already come to the conclusion that she would never ever do so again. Something was rustling somewhere, and something else was calling to the moon. Away to the right she could make out the silhouettes of the men talking quietly among themselves. Meekly she followed Will Evans to her quarters, a triangular tent so low you had to crouch to get in.

“No extra blankets, I’m afraid. You better keep your clothes on. The tent is insulated, but it’s a lot colder out here than at Fort Khaldun.”

He took out his bedroll, which he dumped right in front of the shelter.

“This is where I’ll be sleeping. If you need to go to the bathroom, it’s back there.” He pointed beyond a hillock and looked at her with an amused air. “Just don’t expect a bathroom.”


“It’s a good thing your parents don’t know I’m here.” The girl laughed breathlessly.

The boy and the girl were running through the orchard by Hardwood River. Ahead rose the old boathouse, derelict and abandoned since the construction of the new shed near the manor.

It was raining heavily. Both adolescents were drenched. The boy’s heart ached at the sight of the running girl in her bedraggled summer dress, clinging wet to her skin as though it never wanted to let go. It was the way he wanted to hold onto her.

When they reached the door, she turned and smiled through the wet strands of hair plastered against her cheeks and forehead. She took the boy’s face in her hands and kissed him.

“You look so serious,” she whispered. “I want you to tell me your problems. But first I want you to make love to me. That’s all I want from life. Happiness. You.”

“No!” The boy tore himself away, staring wide-eyed at her. “No,” he said again. He was crying soundlessly. “Laetitia knows and is threatening to tell Mom.”

The girl sagged to the ground against the building. “Aunt Mary will kill you,” she said, “if she finds out.”

He shrugged, unable to express himself. How could he explain that he wouldn’t mind whatever punishment his mother had in store for him as long as he could have her?

“I’m leaving home,” he said softly.

The girl looked up sharply. After a moment she laid a hand on his knee. “And me?”

He shook his head in silence. She scrambled to her feet.

“I’m coming with you.”


“You can’t stop me.”

No, but society can, he thought sadly. “You’re seventeen, without a passport, and you’re my cousin. If we ran off together, Laetitia would be sure to tell Mom what was going on between us and the police would haul us back in no time. Your life would no longer be worth living. And if I stayed, we’d try to continue what we’re doing. We wouldn’t be able to stop ourselves.”

He stood looking at her for a long time, unable to tear his eyes away from her face.

“I love you, Kim,” he said at last. “I’ve loved you forever, it seems.”

She took his face again in her hands and whispered, “Make love to me.”

He closed his eyes against her searching look. She was scanning his face as if she wanted to reach inside his mind for an argument that would convince him to stay. She bit his ear and put one of his hands on her breast. “Make love to me,” she said again.

He took her hand in his and kissed it long and desperately.

“I’ve signed up on an oil rig for the season. I’m flying out tonight. I’ll be stationed in Greenland. I’ll write.”
The girl began to cry, burying her face in his chest.


The neighborhood had that old-world charm you find in so many European cities, with deep courtyards, alleys at odd angles, old and rather dusty shops, bars and restaurants everywhere, and far too much traffic for the narrow streets.

It was a beautiful day in Paris, and Kim Chalmers stood lazily watching a couple of teenagers from her second-floor apartment window, enjoying the heat of the late summer sun on her face and upper body. The two kids in the street below were flirting heavily, laughing and showing each other pictures on their cell phones, with just enough body distance to suggest that they might not yet be together. It wouldn’t be long before they found each other, she thought. They would make a cute item. If John were here, he would have concluded cynically that they were negotiating a temporary truce between the sexes. But that was John, and she loved him for what he was, macho warts and all. For all his outward display of cynicism, she knew him for a softy who could not get enough of her and who would stand by her come hell or high water. Literally. John had seen enough rough weather and human misery while sailing around the world on his yacht to be ready to fight for the true things in life, and for reasons she could only marvel at, he thought she was the truest thing in his life.

She thought they would soon be married, if his parents had anything to do with it. His people were the type to keep pushing and arranging until everything was boxed tidily and prettily where it belonged, with the lid on and a neat label, ready for sailing on the great ship of life. Kim and John definitely belonged in the box labeled marriage. John’s mother kept saying so, and Kim had to admit they made a handsome couple. If she had qualms about the freckles on the bridge of her nose and a constant fear of growing fat, she had no doubts at all about John’s physique. He was easily one of the best-looking men she had ever seen, with the sort of carefree walk that made him stand out from the crowd wherever he went; dark, with untamed eyes that made any woman’s heart race faster, and a smile that opened all doors for him.

The sun had dipped behind the buildings across the street, and the kids below her window had moved on, absorbed by the shadows and their own private world. She turned toward the room, wondering what life was all about anyway. All day long she had been feeling strangely nostalgic and rebellious. She loathed anything smacking of self-pity and nostalgia, and yet she was feeling homesick for a past that was utterly irrelevant to her life and future. Perhaps it was the two kids with their cell phones or the burnished copper of the setting sun, reminding her of an Indian summer just like this when she had passionately loved and lost. More likely, the growing pressure on the part of John’s mother highlighted her own doubt that marriage was what she wanted right now with her career taking off. But wherever she looked, things seemed to be throwing up memories of years gone by.

She sighed and looked at her reflection in the mirror and at the comfortable room behind, with its pleasant clutter and spacious dimensions. Even if she did not share John’s unbridled admiration for her looks, the mirror told her she was good-looking by any standard, while her apartment spoke of a life without financial worries. In the words of the magazines, she had it all—talent, beauty and, if not wealth, enough money to lead an independent life. She had no reason to feel sorry for herself. She was twenty-seven and engaged to a dashing adventurer, a once-in-a-lifetime man who was also a gentleman in this graceless day and age, with a circle of friends that was equally glamorous and wild. A man who paid the daily compliment of telling her she was the most beautiful woman in the world and who backed it up with endless gifts. She had no right to indulge in that sort of nonsense.

Resolutely, she turned on the light, took her cello from its stand and placed it between her knees. With just three months to go before a series of concerts that would take her to major concert halls around the world, on the verge of an international breakthrough, this was not the moment to pretend a mid-life crisis. Besides, it was extremely unfair to John. The past was over and done with. She had cried enough to fill a bathtub after Will’s departure and it hadn’t brought him back. For years she had thought she would never forget him and now, when she had finally forgotten, a red sunset and a few rose-colored memories were going to bring him back and spoil the party? Teenage love. Never again, thank you very much. Look at the puppy love of those kids passing below her window. Think of the tears they would shed, only to go off and make an entirely different life with someone else, all promises forgotten.

Angrily she tightened the bow of her instrument, snapping several horsehairs.

“Stupid girl,” she muttered, anxiously eying the wood for cracks. Her bow was a beautiful example from a 19th-century maker, a gift from her teacher when she graduated with honors from the conservatory, and she’d never forgive herself if she damaged it. “No man is worth your ruination, you hear?” she crooned as she loosened the screw. “Not John, not Will, not any man.”

She played old folk tunes of the kind that wailed about broken promises and impossible loves, until the professional in her took over and she settled down to playing scales. She had been at it for over an hour, almost satisfied with the blur of her fingers as they slid, stopped and vibrated across the fingerboard, when the doorbell rang. She wondered who it could be. She did not encourage unannounced callers when practicing.
Back to The Will and the Way