Welcome to my review of The Dutch House by Ann Patchett!
At the end of the Second World War, Cyril Conroy combines luck and a single canny investment to begin an enormous real estate empire, propelling his family from poverty to enormous wealth. His first order of business is to buy the Dutch House, a lavish estate in the suburbs outside of Philadelphia. Meant as a surprise for his wife, the house sets in motion the undoing of everyone he loves.
The story is told by Cyril’s son Danny, as he and his older sister, the brilliantly acerbic and self-assured Maeve, are exiled from the house where they grew up by their stepmother. The two wealthy siblings are thrown back into the poverty their parents had escaped from and find that all they have to count on is one another. It is this unshakable bond between them that both saves their lives and thwarts their futures.
Set over the course of five decades, The Dutch House is a dark fairy tale about two smart people who cannot overcome their past. Despite every outward sign of success, Danny and Maeve are only truly comfortable when they’re together. Throughout their lives, they return to the well-worn story of what they’ve lost with humor and rage. But when at last they’re forced to confront the people who left them behind, the relationship between an indulged brother and his ever-protective sister is finally tested. (Summary is from Goodreads).
If you’re looking for a quick recommendation, yes, I would definitely recommend this book!
I listened to this book with Tom Hanks as the narrator, and it was great! I highly recommend this one as an audiobook. For some reason, I started out listening to it thinking it would be a lot like The Girl with the Pearl Earring by Tracy Chevalier, but it’s not. The story spans several decades, starting in the 1940s when Cyril purchases the Dutch House as a surprise for his wife. Turns out, she doesn’t enjoy their lifestyle and leaves her family behind, including their two children.
When Cyril passes away, his second wife turns his children out onto the street. It’s much like a Cinderella story, but the two children are never rescued by a rich benefactor. For the rest of their lives, they try to make up for their step-mother’s horrible actions by working hard. And Danny’s sister never seems to have the good fortune of her brother. I really enjoyed this book because it felt real. The characters were so relatable, even though their circumstances were so different from mine. But much like Danny and his sister, everyone goes through hard times, making them easier to understand.
Overall, I would highly recommend this book to a busy mom. Especially on audiobook. It’s great to listen to while cleaning or running errands. I can definitely see why it’s such a popular book!
Five out of five stars
If you enjoyed my review of The Dutch House by Ann Patchett, you might also like Snow Falling on Cedars by David Guterson. Check out my review!
If you’re interested in purchasing The Dutch House, here are some quick links to buy the book on Amazon and Barnes & Noble. And, if you’re interested to see what others think, here’s the link to the book on Goodreads.