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. So close to be a masterpiece, a dysfunctional family story starts in this humongous, grandiose mansion, where ex inhabitants had died and left their belongings including their portraits hanging on the walls and it ends there as we move back and forth between the timelines to read the story narrated by Danny, second child of the family But please go and order an audiobook because TOM HANKS is fantastic, impeccable, meticulous narrator Yes, he is our Danny boy So as a result paperback version 4 stars Audiobook 5 stars Let s rounded 4.5 up to 5 celebration of master story telling stars I started to read the book and I was about to give four stars Please, don t get me wrong, I love the writing and those vivid characters, I was about to give million slaps to one of them Yes, EVIL STEPMOM ANDREA, I m talking about you But slow pace and too many jumping between time lines a little exhausted me But as soon as I learned Tom Hanks is on the board, I stopped reading and I started listening to the book with a huge smile on my face Danny and Maeve will always stay on my mind and heart as amazing siblings Their mother abandoned them Actually she was another version of Mother Theresa and she rejected to live in a mansion when too many poor people suffer out there so she left the place She still loved her husband and she didn t intend to leave her children Her belief as social responsibilities always come first even it means to neglect her own family is irritated me so much I m not quite fan of this character But thanks God, we have evil stepmother to hate And their father passed away when he was only 53 They both lost their parents at young age but what they didn t know they would be also homeless with great scheme her stepmother dearest had planned details with her lawyer She got the control of the business of their father and she got the Dutch House to live with her two daughters So she kicked her step kids out She even tried to prevent Danny take money from trust fund for his education because Danny chose an expensive school and her own daughters couldn t get the highest education they need, if all the money would spend for Danny s needs At least her attempts were stopped by their father s lawyer this time I think Andrea deserved a special place in hell but in my opinion, hell would be like a spa treatment for her So all the losses they suffered, keep united this brother and sister against the entire world They became each other s priorities and supported each other for every big life decisions Maeve helped him to connect with his future wife even they didn t get along for a long time and resented each other They grew up, but they resumed going to the Dutch House and stopped their cars in front of the place, waited to see any activity around or inside and they left THAT BECAME THEIR ROUTINE FOR YEARS like visiting an old relative they check randomly to make sure she still alive Years passed, they got old They resumed going back there Till one day their mother returned back and requested them to drive her to the house and finally she bangs on the door to meet with Andrea That is the beginning of some endings The house was like a living and functioning organism marked the milestones of the sibling s lives and changed them forever Past and future combined with sadness, regrets, resentments, sister and brother s devotion, marriage, nostalgia, childhood memories, unfinished businesses, yearning for real and functional family, life decisions As the life moved on , two siblings a special piece of their hearts always stayed with that house, buried there, even they thought they moved on but they couldn t Because house gave them hope that one day their mother could return House made them grow up earlier House made them connect with their maids, nanny also mistress of their father and many childhood happy memories Even they ve kicked out, they have never left the place and the house never left them, too It left a vulnerable scar on their mind and soul It always stayed with them till the end of their lives.Amazing story telling, remarkable characterization and best narration 4.5 starsSometimes in a novel, a place is such a strong and integral part of the story that it deserves as much attention as if it were a character The house in this novel exerts so much influence over the lives of the characters, sometimes so than the other people in their lives The house, with its big windows and ornate design is a symbol of success for Cyril Conroy, the self made real estate developer To his wife Elna, it is everything that is wrong with the world, when so many others have nothing To their children, Maeve and Danny, it is where they live As adults, it s much complex it represents everything they lost To Conroy s second wife Andrea, it s a possession she has to have Narrated by Danny, the story moves back and forth from their childhood over decades, a family saga of sorts, but the Conroy family for most of the novel is just the two of them, Danny and Maeve This is in so many ways about the past, the past they can t let go of, the past that shapes who they become as adults Do you think it s possible to ever see the past as it actually was Danny asks his sister Maeve I see the past as it actually was, Maeve said Danny responds But we overlay the present onto the past We look back through the lens of what we know, so we re not seeing it as the people we were, we re seeing it as the people we are, and that means the past has been radically altered It s also about sibling love and sacrifice as the brilliant Maeve gives up so much of her life to care for Danny, to make sure he is okay I was so emotionally connected to them and I loved their relationship It was at times heartbreaking to see how deep seated these wounds of the past are for both of them.The plot, which captured me from the beginning is one the reader should discover for themselves, so no spoilers here The bottom line is that I loved pretty much everything about the book the writing, the characters, the story I found it nearly perfect and it is 4.5 stars because of something in the end that I found hard to reconcile I keep a list of favorite writers and Ann Patchett has been on that list for quite a while now I ve read every novel she s published Her characters always feel fully developed and making an emotional connection is easy because she allows us to know them Definitely recommended I read this with Diane and Esil as one of our ongoing buddy reads and as always appreciate their thoughts Quotes are from the advanced copy.I received an advanced copy of this book from HarperCollins through Edelweiss. Patchett is way up there on my, can t wait for next novel, list Her characterizations, her insight into flawed families and her wry observations of human nature, are always top notched In this, her soon to be published novel, she follows a family for five decades, a family that is broken apart, for reasons that I cannot at this time share Brother and sister, Maeve and Danny, are extremely close, not unexpected since they are the only ones that are there for each other through thick and thin Danny is our narrator, and from a young age, we are let into his thoughts and the actions of the other characters.Dutch House, a house that their father bought to surprise their mother, is as much a character in this story, as are the actual characters It is the cause of much of what happens here, a house with huge window that allows one to see all through the house We follow not only the house itself, but the brother and sister as they grow, through their triumphs and losses Sibling strength and family loyalty.It is a novel of obsession but also of acceptance and forgiveness The end, in a way comes full circle, but not without much heartache and loss There were a few things that sparked the doubting Thomas in me, but all in all this is a wonderful read.Another read with Angela and Esil, and though our ratings do differ a bit, we all enjoyed this novel.ARC by Edelweiss. Attached The Dutch House is a story of siblings, Danny and Maeve Conroy, their obsessive connection with the iconic family house they lived in as young children and how their lives unfolded over the years The story is narrated by Danny over multiple non linear time periods The various time jumps and reflections back to important events felt like a jigsaw puzzle being built, where there is the uncertainty of the next piece but once it is placed, the complete picture becomes clearer and clearer This is a wonderful skill Ann Patchett possesses and you never feel lost or confused as she manages the time transitions so deftly The other major hallmark of Ann Patchett is her development of amazing characters and relationships Maeve is Danny s older sister of 7 years, she is very intelligent, a diabetic, caring to the extreme for her brother, and a character that captivates Danny is much emotionally reserved and his development into adulthood is interesting to watch While he takes advantage of top class education in medicine he can t shake his love for his father s business in real estate Their mother is a memory, having left them when they were young and the story starts with their father bringing Andrea home to visit Andrea eventually becomes his wife, their new mother and the force that shapes the future relationships and living conditions Mothers were the measure of safety, which meant that I was safer than Maeve After our mother left, Maeve took up the job on my behalf but no one did the same for her It s not too long before Andrea s own two daughters become her sole focus and ambition, and the existing family and staff are unwelcome reminders of a past she wasn t part of Andrea is an intriguing character, dispassionate, harsh, and greedy, and heir to the Dutch House mansion Early in the marriage It also seemed pretty clear he had married the wrong woman If we all kept to our own corners it was easier for everyone After only a few years of marriage, their father dies and leaves the house and business to Andrea who repays his memory by putting both Maeve and Danny out, to never set foot in their home again This starts an obsessive periodic pilgrimage for Danny and Maeve where they return to the street to sit in a car parked across from the Dutch House and gaze at it recalling memories and wondering how life would have panned out if only The emotional baggage they carry together drives them forward but also restricts their successes and paths taken The psychological burden of seeking happiness and fulfilment, while tied to past commitments and motivations is cleverly layered throughout the story.I didn t feel any great pace in the novel and at times wished it would move along in a compelling rate The house, while a connecting point, didn t really have any character and increasingly the story is told away from it It may be suggested that the house is the central aspect of the story but I would disagree feeling it appropriate to consider the deep, caring, loving and supportive relationship between a brother and sister growing up with only each other to depend on and if that connection in itself had a restricting effect on how their lives developed.I would recommend this book and I d like to thank Bloomsbury Publishing and NetGalley for providing me with an early ARC copy in return for an honest review. Ann Patchett s latest novel proves to be a absolute delight to read with its echoes of the darkest of fairytales with the requisite wicked stepmother in the form of Andrea We are provided with Patchett s acute understanding and keen observational insights of what it is to be human, the complex nature of family and the dysfunctional dynamics that proliferate Shortly after WW2, Cyril Conroy s life catapults from poverty into wealth which propels him to buy the architectural jewel that is the Dutch House with its many windows in the Pennsylvania suburbs for his wife, Elna, a house that is to splinter his family apart As the narrative moves back and forth in time through five decades, the house turns out to be an integral part and trigger for the dramas that ensue, the highs and the lows Danny grew up with little memory of his mother who left so early in his life, and his father is a distant figure, contributing to the strong bond with his older sister, the bright and determined Maeve, a woman of substance who takes on the mantle of caring and protecting him Cyril brings Andrea into the lives of Maeve and Danny, and goes on to marry her Andrea, with her children, is driven by ambition that inform her behaviour and decisions, catalysts for how events pan out in the house and family interactions until Cyril s dies, leaving Andrea with everything Andrea reacts by throwing Maeve and Danny out The siblings are pushed out of their privileged and comfortable lives, finding themselves facing a life of poverty and challenges with only each other to rely on Maeve dedicates her life to Danny at the expense of her own life and ambitions, with both positive and negative outcomes, although their future lives are to be shaped by their constant obsession with the house and their inability to let go of the past.Patchett writes a compulsive novel of family, sibling relationships, secrets, memories that can so often turn out to be unreliable, coming to terms with what life can throw at you, grief, loss, love and forgiveness It is beautifully written, with rich, atmospheric vibrant descriptions and with Patchett s stellar and skilful characterisation and development, she has an uncanny capacity to give us pictures of emotional and meaningful depth of her characters interior lives This is a brilliant, thought provoking, multilayered, complicated and well crafted book infused with a wryness and humour that made it such a memorable read Many thanks to Bloomsbury for an ARC. E book own and Audiobook own , narrated by Tom Hanks Having read and loved other books by Patchett, Commwealth , Bel Canto , State of Wonder , This Is The Story of A Happy Marriage , and Run , plus all the raving early reviews I was looking forward to reading this And now I ve joined the choir with other readers and friends singing This is a wonderful novel I pre ordered the ebook months ago soon to learn that my High School boyfriend haha Tommy Hanks was reading the Audiobook.so I purchased the Audiobook as well TOM HANKS was FLAWLESS in reading this novel Man, he made this book come alive Tom was so darn good it was easy to be fooled that he was reading his own memoir Mixing a gifted author with the enormously talented actor, is like finding a FRUIT LOOP in a bowl of CHEERIOS. Danny did eat Cheerios for breakfast in this story.Tom Hanks, as narrator, cast as Danny Conroy , delivers Ann Patchett s novel s as if he is Danny Hank disappears and what we are left with is this bright, funny, kid guy Danny Danny s devotion to his sister, Maeve, 7 years older than him , is deeply moving Their relationship is major and memorable Danny was innocent uniformed unenlightened incognizant in ways yet when it came to his sister, Maeve, he knew about her than anyone He was always looking at her observing her loving her immensely loyal to her The story of my sister, was the only story I was meant to tell.says Danny The Dutch House is a brother sister psychodrama about wealth, loss of family, sibling loyalty, anger, desire, resentment, love, forgiveness, etc Danny and Maeve grew up in a luxurious mansion outside of Philadelphia, known as the Dutch House. named for previous owners cigarette moguls of Dutch heritage The details of the house the descriptions of the rooms the cook housekeeper the family complexities of mother father stepmother siblings wives sickness college marriage divorce emotional attachments abandonment sadness hope past future is exquisitely impactful As the story moves along, the house feels like another character I came to see the house as synonymous with family heartbreaks and heartwarming Patchett s storytelling is bighearted and smart It s one of those books that seems to be alive with a beating heartbeat Ann Patchett is an expert at exploring psychological depths beneath the surface of her characters Every character was easy to imagine Ann Patchett shared what sparked her narrative for The Dutch House She said The Book really started with me thinking about a person who didn t want to be rich There s so much celebration around money, and I thought, what if somebody just wanted to walk away from it all I began thinking about the repercussions of one person s decision how one person s decision really changes the path of so many lives When Danny and Maeve lost the house, she couldn t get over it And I think that s true for a lot of us Something has happened in our lives, and even if our lives go on to be quite wonderful, we hang on to the hurt 5 fabulous stars What a freaking masterpiece this is Let s begin with prior to reading this book, I was impartial on books by Ann Patchett I previously had only read Commonwealth and liked it, but it wasn t something I would climb to the top of a mountain and yell about This book is.I m not going to get into the summary because I went in as blind as I could I requested an ARC on NG and EW purely on the fact that it was Ann Patchett and I LOVED the cover and I think that benefited me I had no expectations whatsoever Within the first few pages I was hooked Ms Patchett s beautiful writing had my jaw on the floor I am in awe of her talent and it played out so well in my mind that I was in that house with them I was sitting next to them in the car I was the fly on the wall I was there.If you like books that make you feel a spectrum of emotions with a side of laughter for a few quirky characters than this book is absolutely a MUST READ I experienced being vehemently angry, to laughing out loud to such utter sadnessIf this isn t made into a series on TV or a movie, I don t know what is wrong with people The characters in this story my favorite is Maeve hands down are so complex and relatable and REAL You hate them, you forgive them, you desperately love them I cannot say enough good things about it I love books that make me feel something and this one did, a million times over Thank you to Edelweiss, Harpercollins and Ann Patchett for the opportunity to read and provide an honest review of this book.Review Date 09 27 19Publication Date 09 24 19 But we overlay the present onto the past We look back through the lens of what we know now, so we re not seeing it as the people we were, we re seeing it as the people we are, and that means the past has been radically altered Siblings Danny and Maeve Conroy grew up in The Dutch House, a lavish home in the Philadelphia suburbs Once the home of a Dutch family that owned most of the area, their artwork and interior decorating still remain throughout the infamous estate While their real estate investor father loves the house and sees it as a jewel in his empire, their mother was repulsed by all the infamous home represented, and she left when Danny was very young.Left with a father generally incapable of doing than providing the material comforts for his children, Maeve helped raise Danny, with the help of the family s two housekeepers The two siblings, despite their age difference, formed an unshakable bond, one which became even crucial when their father married again, this time a younger woman with two young daughters of her own Their stepmother s dislike of them was apparent to them from the very start, although their father seemed oblivious and or disinterested in her treatment of them, as he was interested in keeping the peace in his household than anything else.When their stepmother gets the opportunity, she exiles Danny and Maeve from the house and cuts off their access to any of the money that should be theirs Left with nothing, they are forced to fend for themselves and have only each other to survive And while they cannot seem to get The Dutch House out of their minds, given that it was such an enormous part of their lives, they want than anything to understand the actions of their parents, which led them to where they are now While this isn t a suspenseful book, there are a few surprises that are better to unfold as you read it rather than have them revealed This is a book that was paced a lot slower than I like, but there is a lot of richness to behold, including emotion, nostalgia, family dynamics, and even a little humor What fascinated me even is what a major character the house itself played, much like in Howards End or Rebecca.I ve been a big fan of Ann Patchett s since reading Bel Canto a number of years ago I love the way she tells a story Her nonfiction is excellent, too check out Truth and Beauty or This is the Story of a Happy Marriage I have enjoyed some of her other books than this one, but it s still worth a read, and I believe both Patchett fans and those who ve never read her work will enjoy this, especially those who like stories of family relationships gone awry.See all of my reviews at itseithersadnessoreuphoria.blogspot.com.Check out my list of the best books I read in 2018 at You can follow me on Instagram at Awfully close to 5 stars The Dutch House is full of the stuff I love in fiction It s really well written, has great characters, is original and feels like a big meaty story I could get lost in Danny is the narrator He grew up in the grandiose Dutch House with his sister, Maeve, and his father What happens to his mother is a mystery that unravels over time But the fallout from her disappearance is a very strong bond between Danny and Maeve, and a cascade of emotional and other consequences for everyone At the centre of the novel is the house loved and reviled depending on the character In the end, there is a symmetry to the story that is emotionally wrought and complex This is not an easy story with straightforward characters But it s very readable I read this one as a buddy read with Angela and Diane, and it definitely works well as a buddy read because there s much to discuss especially the end Thanks to Edelweiss and the publisher for an opportunity to read an advance copy. A grand house with grand siblings insideA house Really I want people, not inanimate objects I thought the house would be bigger than the people in it, but thank god I was wrong I ended up loving the place Hell, I d go to an open house there any day Damn straight I d like to snoop around.The cover and the title scared me A painting of an uptight, upright woman on the cover, and Dutch House as the title sounds like we might have some snooty going on here Is reading this going to feel like being held prisoner in a museum Because I m here to tell you, museums are famous for keeping it dull, and I definitely smelled a museum It just hit me that I wouldn t have been putting on the brakes if the house were some funky, colorful place with a chartreuse washstand and a periwinkle china cabinet in other words, a house I d like to explore A rich person s house high ceilings, mature rugs, huge art Yawn city But let s face it, I would read anything Ann Patchett writes uptight, upright, museum y or not, I was all in So I sighed and dug in, already mad that I was going to be dropped into dens of description I needed an attitude adjustment, because of course this huge house, as I predicted, was being described in huge detail Chill I sat there all tense, poised and ready to jump ship if I had to But immediately the writing adjusted my attitude, as Patchett did her typical skillful thing and grabbed me into her story And we re talking two pages in I was hooked.This is the story of Danny and Mauve, a brother and sister who are joined at the hip Danny is the narrator, and he s just a kid when the story starts I liked him immediately Mauve takes care of Danny, and he adores her All they have, really, is each other When two siblings are alone against the world, they are imprinted on each other for life the bond is greater than any other Danny and Mauve fit the bill Watching their devotion to each other was so touching Their lives change suddenly and the house is big during this fateful moment and they need each other even The book follows them through five decades As the kids became adults, I got and attached to them I was invested in the choices they made and cringed than once at their behavior Patchett knows how to make you believe them, trust them, love them.The house is at first a grand place but all the sudden it isn t The house means different things to different people and it s a constant in the book, always there for people to react to Throughout the book, we have Danny and Mauve sitting in a car in front of the house, reminiscing Right there, Patchett has me in the palm of her hand Why on earth are they just sitting there Can t they go in Why do they sit there time and again Slowly the story gets revealed.I ve been a Patchett fan for a long time, and every time I finish one of her books, I feel so completely satisfied with the exception of Bel Canto Yet I always sort of frown and try to figure out Patchett s secret Well, of course, there s the fact that her writing is dynamite And she creates nuanced characters, has a lot of insight into the human condition, and keeps the story moving along, usually rather quietly there s never over the top melodrama never Her presentation is complicated but smooth We go back and forth in time, but she sets it up in a way that lets me happily accept the jumps.Patchett s tone is pretty formal, which always puts me off at first because I worry it will keep me from feeling close to the characters it will create a distance But here s the scoop Maybe I can t get super close because she s got a wall up, but she gets me to peek over the wall to see the fascinating party she s throwing, and it s as good as a front row seat With all of her books, the formality soon becomes invisible to me and I am all in, attached to the characters and wanting to find out, right that minute, how they are going to fare I desperately wanted to know how Danny s and Mauve s life would turn out The story didn t disappoint.In terms of scope, tone, setting, and depth, this book seems like a throwback to masterpieces written in the 1700s and 1800s there is a classic and epic feel to it Having a grand mansion as the setting helps As in classics, Patchett does give lots of details of things that by themselves aren t interesting, but she ends up painting a vivid picture that sets a perfect stage for the action going down, and you feel like you re right there.This editor twitches a couple of times There are a few tiny problems, which might be fixed by publication date Mauve s workplace is described twice Haven t I read this before Kids don t talk this way Way too mature sounding Happened enough times to annoy me Common error she said she could have cared less when she meant that she couldn t have cared less The reason I m giving this book 4 stars instead of 5 is that I had trouble believing the mom I just didn t think what she did was realistic plus I bigtime didn t approve of it Also, there is a theme of forgiveness at the end, which I also didn t buy or like Even though there isn t a religious theme going on, I think religion is a very tricky undercurrent.All in all, a good read, though Patchett is a master.Thanks to Edelweiss for the advance copy.
- 352 pages
- The Dutch House
- Ann Patchett
- 22 February 2017 Ann Patchett