The Dutch House

The Dutch House

by Ann Patchett

Overview: 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 unshakeable 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..

Faith Bowers (10/12/19): I truly enjoy her books and I love that she gets better with each novel she writes. This is one about relationships in a family. A brother and sister get thrown out of their family house but there is so much more. There is a learning about how to manage properties from their father,, how their mother is missing and how Danny the brother finds his wife and makes a family. There are the women who took care of them and then there is the step family which was a life changing event. The house is an antagonist for some, and a love for others. You are dropped into this story in the seeming middle and I love how you are hooked in one page. Much of the story takes place in the suburbs of Philadelphia and NYC where I live and love to visit.
Rating: ****

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