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La casa holandesa

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A finales de la Segunda Guerra Mundial, a Cyril Conroy lo visita la suerte: hace una única pero muy inteligente inversión que le permite poner en marcha lo que se convertirá en un gigantesco imperio inmobiliario. El negocio catapulta a su familia desde la pobreza a una ingente riqueza, y su primera decisión es comprar la Casa Holandesa, una rica mansión a las afueras de FIladelfia. La casa quiere ser un regalo para su esposa, pero terminará desencadenando la ruina de todos sus seres queridos. El narrador de la historia es Danny, el hijo de Cyril. Él y su hermana mayor, Maeve, tan brillante y áspera como segura de sí, se exilian de la casa en la que crecieron junto a su madrastra. Los ricos hermanos regresan de nuevo a la pobreza de la que habían escapado sus padres y caen en la cuenta de que lo único que tienen es el uno a la otra. Este vínculo indestructible entre ambos les salva la vida y, a un tiempo, truncará su futuro. " La casa holandesa " es la historia de un paraíso perdido, un " tour de force " que ahonda en cuestiones como la herencia, el amor y el perdón, y se pregunta cómo queremos vernos a nosotros mismos y quiénes somos realmente. Sembrada de suspense, quizá el lector quiera terminarla pronto para descubrir el desenlace; de cualquier modo, Danny y Maeve se quedarán con él durante largo tiempo.

392 pages, Paperback

First published September 24, 2019

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About the author

Ann Patchett

87 books16.6k followers
Patchett was born in Los Angeles, California. Her mother is the novelist Jeanne Ray.

She moved to Nashville, Tennessee when she was six, where she continues to live. Patchett said she loves her home in Nashville with her doctor husband and dog. If asked if she could go any place, that place would always be home. "Home is ...the stable window that opens out into the imagination."

Patchett attended high school at St. Bernard Academy, a private, non-parochial Catholic school for girls run by the Sisters of Mercy. Following graduation, she attended Sarah Lawrence College and took fiction writing classes with Allan Gurganus, Russell Banks, and Grace Paley. She later attended the Iowa Writers' Workshop at the University of Iowa and the Fine Arts Work Center in Provincetown, Massachusetts, where she met longtime friend Elizabeth McCracken. It was also there that she wrote her first novel, The Patron Saint of Liars.

In 2010, when she found that her hometown of Nashville no longer had a good book store, she co-founded Parnassus Books with Karen Hayes; the store opened in November 2011. In 2012, Patchett was on the Time 100 list of most influential people in the world by TIME magazine.

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5 stars
139,822 (35%)
4 stars
171,659 (43%)
3 stars
65,628 (16%)
2 stars
11,835 (3%)
1 star
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Displaying 1 - 30 of 38,166 reviews
Profile Image for Nilufer Ozmekik.
2,194 reviews40.5k followers
May 29, 2022
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 more!)

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!

Profile Image for Yun.
513 reviews19.8k followers
May 8, 2022
The Dutch House starts out strong, but then ultimately doesn't go anywhere.

We are introduced to siblings Danny and Maeve, the center of this family saga. Their father strikes it rich and buys a lavish mansion known as The Dutch House as a surprise for their mother. That event reverberates with repercussions for everyone in the family and kicks off a five decade long story.

This is my first Ann Patchett, and I've heard amazing things about her, so I tore into this book with gusto. And I was hooked from the first page. I found the characters and the writing to be riveting and was thoroughly enthralled with where this story was going.

But then about a third of the way into it, a big turning point happened. And after that, well, I didn't really see the point of the story anymore. The writing remained interesting, but the characters and their actions stopped making sense to me. The story kind of fizzled out and then limped along without a clear narrative for the rest of the book.

Usually, even if I don't connect with a story, I can still guess what the author is trying to say. But in this case, I'm stumped. Perhaps it's the message that forgiveness is key no matter how egregious the wrong? But that doesn't make sense to me, so I honestly don't know.

The writing is still compelling enough that it helped carry the story through to the end, so I was never bored. But the last two thirds shambled along without momentum or purpose, and was utterly forgettable. It feels like I read a short story that reached its conclusion and then continued on for 200 more meandering pages.
Profile Image for Roxane.
Author 121 books157k followers
February 22, 2020
This was an absorbing read even though the narrator was infuriating, self-absorbed, oblivious, selfish, and annoying. It follows two siblings, Danny and Maeve, and their childhood home, The Dutch House, across decades with a mother who disappeared, an emotionally distant father, his new wife and her daughters and, eventually, Danny’s wife and children. There is an epic feel to this novel but it is also an intimate portrait of siblings who have found home in each other when they are failed by the adults who were supposed to nurture them. Patchett is a formidable novelist. She takes such care with her storytelling. She creates an indelible sense of place and the narrative does some interesting things with chronology.
Profile Image for Angela M .
1,285 reviews2,205 followers
April 4, 2020
4.5 stars
Sometimes 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 more 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 more 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.
Profile Image for Julie G .
883 reviews2,742 followers
February 16, 2020
Reading Road Trip 2020

Current location: Pennsylvania

“Swear to God, you really were that boring.”

The night my book club discussed Ann Patchett's Bel Canto some ten years ago, I clutched my copy of that novel to my chest like a companion animal and huffed and puffed away, defensively, every time a woman in the group grumbled “so unbelievable” and “that ending!” Who were they, those wenches, to speak ill of a book I adored about love and opera?

Later, on various telephone calls, my sister (another devoted reader and reviewer) frequently gave the beast a poke, belaboring, yet again, my recommendation of Bel Canto to her. Why had I recommended this far flung tale of messy plot points and undeveloped characters to her?


Then came the night at book club when we discussed Patchett's State of Wonder. I was so stricken with jungle love, I was practically sitting there with my Pinot Noir, burning up with malaria. When one of the ladies mentioned the COMPLETELY IMPLAUSIBLE ending, I felt a small flutter of doubt in my heart. . . yes, it's true, the ending was bad, but, but, but. . . The jungle! Okay, there was the scene with that kid and that scene on the dock that made absolutely no sense, but, but. . . The jungle!

So, I started The Dutch House with a big smile on my face. I even purchased a new hardcover copy (almost unheard of for me), and jumped right in to Patchett's characteristically readable prose and her memorable one-liners.

Oooooh, a mansion! Well, that's as appealing as an opera house or a jungle that holds the promise of sex!

But the doubts came quickly with this one.

Why were the two protagonists, siblings Maeve and Danny, just sitting outside the house like two cardboard cutouts? Why weren't we ever getting inside their heads, instead of having the story narrated TO US? Was I ever going to know these two people? Was this, like, a play?

Wait, wait. . . why were they still sitting there, but two pages ago they were teens and now one is married and the other is graduated and working now. Wait, wait. . . he has kids? But I never even knew him to kiss a girl! Was this, like, a play about time travel?

And then. . . when the 53-year-old father, Cyril Conroy, dies and leaves his two motherless children without a will. . . well, folks, I CRIED FOUL. I looked right at my book and declared NO.

Not only was Cyril Conroy a REAL ESTATE MOGUL worth God knows how much money, one of his best friends was a LAWYER who not only had drawn up a very detailed educational trust for his kids. . . but Mr. Conroy, being the owner of so many buildings in Pennsylvania and New York, was, in fact, so legally minded, that he once “paid a man from the American consulate to meet [their mother's] ship in Bombay. He'd mailed the divorce papers and the man took my mother straight to the consulate and had her sign them in front of a notary.”

And, get this, the next line is: “ALL VERY LEGAL.” (page 288, in case you're interested in details)

Cyril Conroy was known for being a stickler, the type of man who crossed his “i's” and dotted his “t's.” This was not a man who would be remiss in having his lawyer draw up a very thorough will for his motherless children.

To quote Maeve from the book: “Did that really happen?”

To quote Danny from the book: “Are you making this up?”

As far as I am concerned, the entire premise of this story is tragically flawed, right from the start.

The novel, in my opinion, also makes the mistake of being approximately 100 pages too long, and suffers from almost no real character development. As readers, we are TOLD everything, like a Greek tragedy, narrated aloud. We SEE almost nothing here, but two mannequins sitting in a car, exchanging some clever dialogue.

I will tell you this: I will not be the reader with stars in her eyes, when my book club discusses this one.
This entire review has been hidden because of spoilers.
Profile Image for Paromjit.
2,599 reviews24.7k followers
October 1, 2020
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.
Profile Image for emma.
1,822 reviews48.1k followers
April 10, 2023
Hang on, I swear I’m about to write this review, but first I need to call up every real estate agent in the greater Philadelphia area and inquire about purchasing the Dutch House.

Okay, so yes, the Dutch House is fictional.

Plan B: I will make millions and millions of dollars and then become best friends with Ann Patchett and she and I will team up as co-architects to construct a real life version, and both of us will ignore the fact that we have no architecture experience and that I haven’t taken an actual math class in about 6 years (long story) and also that the Dutch House as a literary symbol brings only suffering and obsession.

I’m sure I’ll figure it out. I’m an English major, so according to my calculations, making millions of dollars will take me...476 years.

We’ve got time.

Until then, I will think about this book. To keep me motivated and inspired.

I will think about how it is beautifully written, and so real and emotive and human, and how I FELT everything that happened in this book. How it all felt real and painful and true.

I will think about how I love Maeve, and I love Danny, and I love May and Kevin and Celeste, and I love Sandy and Jocelyn, and how I even love Norma and Bright.

Mostly, I will think about the Dutch House, and the borderline grotesque beauty of the dining room, and the big portraits in the living room, and the windowseat in the best bedroom, and the seating area at the top of the stairs, and the warm kitchen, and the cold high-up beds.

And those 476 years will just fly by.

Bottom line: Immediately after finishing this book, I resolved to read everything by Ann Patchett.


actually i grew up in the Dutch House and the characters from this book are my family and this is the story of my life.

review to come / 4.5 stars

tbr review

i promise eventually i'll move on from gazing lovingly at this cover and actually open this book
Profile Image for fatma.
899 reviews560 followers
October 5, 2019
3 stars if im feeling generous, which im not, so 2.5 stars it is


this was so blah. no word encapsulates this book for me more perfectly than "blah." i recognize that this book had some nice, touching moments, but on the whole it felt so heartless. after about the first quarter of this book, this started becoming very apparent. the dutch house reminded me of all the things i disliked about mary beth keane's ask again, yes and jhumpa lahiri's the namesake: the reliance on having a character tell us the plot as opposed to us seeing it unfold; the huge time jumps that leave characters in the most boring, cookie-cutter lives, in stark contrast to their initially compelling childhoods. like i dont know how many times i have to read about time jumps where interesting characters end up married to some wishy-washy character whose only function is to be of the opposite sex so that the main character can get married to them and have the compulsory 2 kids and white picket fence. can we not think of literally anything that's more interesting ? like anything ? ill even take 3 kids instead of the usual 2. WRITERS, PLEASE, TRY HARDER

it goes without saying that where the first quarter of this book was compelling for me, the other two-thirds completely lost me. what i was invested in were the family dynamics, the brother-sister relationship. what i was not invested in was seeing danny take college courses and hang out with his (painfully boring) girlfriend and do random real-estate things that i could not care less about. (and by the way, celeste's whole character just reeked of the "im not like other girls" trope. i know she's peripheral to the story, but she's never her own character, not even a little bit. she exists exclusively in relation to and for danny.)

i also didnt really think that the characters' motivations made all that much sense. andrea was barely anything much more than an Evil, Gold Digging Step Mom. and all the animosity between celeste and maeve felt extremely unfounded, not to mention very annoying.

reading this book was just one long downward trajectory. the more i read it the more it irritated me till finally at the end i was like okay i definitely dont like this book.
Profile Image for Elyse Walters.
4,001 reviews35.9k followers
October 2, 2019
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 more 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!
March 6, 2020
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 as I never feel lost or confused as she managed 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 fascinates and frustrates at times. Danny is much more 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 within the family.
“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 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.

What I had difficultly with was that I didn’t feel any great pace in the novel and at times wished it would move along in a more 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 more 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. Their real mother returns to the story very late in the book and I just found her motivations, and supposed wisdom, very difficult to accept and jarred so much that it left a frustration with the novel.

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.
Profile Image for JanB .
1,143 reviews2,494 followers
October 16, 2019
2.5 stars:
Danny and Maeve are siblings who can’t overcome their past. Abandoned by their mother at an early age, Maeve, the oldest, assumes the mother role. Everything changes further when their emotionally distant father marries the evil stepmother and the children are cut out of their inheritance. The pain, bitterness, and anger shapes their personalities and their future. How do they move past such a childhood?

My questions: What does forgiveness look like? Does forgiveness mean you allow toxic people back into your life? Is that healthy? What is required of the person(s) who did you wrong? I have my own thoughts about these issues but you’ll have to read the book and decide for yourself.

Commonwealth is one of my favorite books and this was one of my most anticipated books of the year. The first 75% was riveting reading. But the story took a turn that I found unrealistic and ridiculous. I can’t say more without spoilers but I’m glad I could vent to my reading buddy Marialyce. I’ve tried to discern the author’s purpose in writing this book and it either escapes me or it’s one I can’t buy into.

* I received a copy of the book via Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review
* for our duo review of this and other books please visit https://yayareadslotsofbooks.wordpres...
Profile Image for Diane S ☔.
4,733 reviews14.1k followers
July 2, 2019
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.
October 13, 2019
This was a book I had to think about after finishing. I truly wanted to fall into a deep and abiding love for the story and yet I found it so unrealistic that I had to question what if any was the motive behind the story. There seemed to be no overwhelming meaning to the characters. Everyone and everything seemed disjointed and to me a wash of grey characters, not believable and certainly not ones to be emulated.

From the dereliction of being a mother, a father who is in all intents absentee, to the relationship of brother and sister and a step family, I could not get a firm grasp on what the author was trying to say. It was a big disappointment for I am one to accept stories with messages not however messages that are murky if not obscure. It was like going on a roller coaster waiting for the biggest and tallest hill and then there was none. Left to a stilted somewhat boring ride, you emerge with no sense of wonder but a sense of what the heck was that and where was my thrill?

So here I will sit with a not so favorable outlook on this story. I have liked three of this author's books, particularly the book, Commonwealth, but unfortunately for me this book left be feeling as vacant and bereft as her characters seemed to be. 2.5 stars for me as well.

What represents you as a person? Is it the people you know, the clothes you wear, or even the house you live in? Could it be in one's zeal to be acknowledged that the aforementioned things are really what makes the persona a person wishes to put forward. What happens to character, to strength, and to the willingness to help others, particularly family, as the components of what makes a person? In this book, Ann Patchett presents us with a family whose lives are tragic shells of what could have been. But is that enough to know, for in every tragedy there always emerges victors and perhaps in this book there are no victors whatsoever just losers in the game of life.
To see our duo reviews, you can go to http://yayareadslotsofbooks.wordpress...
Profile Image for Beata.
729 reviews1,113 followers
December 9, 2019
I admit I was drawn to this novel by its gorgeous cover and narration by Tom Hanks as I have read only one book by Ms Patchett. I am not sure I will follow her, but this novel is absolutely fantastic. What an intriguing idea to tell a story of a family, especially of a strong bond between siblings, and connect it with a story of a house that seems to be in the background but which in fact plays the major role in the characters' lives!
I live in a flat in a tenement house which was built over 90 years ago, love everything about it, appreciate the amount of work that went into decorting it and the attention to its quality, therefore the Dutch House at first seemed to me one of the most beautiful houses one can imagine. At the beginning I was confused: how can you hate such an architectural pearl? As the story progresses, we learn more about its former owners, how the Conroys came to own it, how Danny and Maeve were forced to leave it, and most importantly, how it influenced their mother and in consequence, the siblings. Then, I understood Ms Patchett's idea behind her story. And I loved it.
For me, this was one of those novels that you start and you think you know what to expect, and then you are given a most unannounced treat.

Profile Image for Michelle.
602 reviews453 followers
September 27, 2019
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 sadness...If 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: 09/27/19
Publication Date: 09/24/19
Profile Image for Liz.
2,018 reviews2,517 followers
December 5, 2019
5 HUGE STARS! One of my best of 2019 (definitely the best audio book).

I am a huge Ann Patchett fan and this book does not disappoint. It’s a fabulous book, but it was made so much better because of Tom Hank’s narration. The book is described as a dark fairy tale and there is definitely that theme, with an evil stepmother separating two siblings from their father, their house and everything they hold dear.

The book just drew me in and I wanted to spend all my hours listening to it. Told from Danny’s viewpoint, we learn of how Andrea appears in their lives and usurps their inheritance. While I appreciated what Maeve and Danny had lost, I also kept waiting to see when they would move on with their lives. As time goes on, and it moves through five decades, the book becomes more about forgiveness and acceptance. While Maeve is often bitter, Danny at times just seems befuddled, a somewhat removed player in his own life. My thoughts about Celeste went back and forth. Maeve and Danny were so used to being each other’s emotional support, I could understood Celeste feeling left out. But her jealousy at times felt childish.

Patchett’s strength comes from how she forms her characters. I never felt Danny and Maeve were anything but real flesh and blood people. In both cases, you see exactly how their childhood has made them the people they are. The same events, when seen through the difference of a few years, shapes them in unique ways.

And that ending! I loved how this played out and what became of each of the main characters, how they reconciled themselves to their histories.

What surprised me was how much humor was in this book. Not laugh out loud, but a subtle, dry humor that more closely mirrors real life. Again, Hanks totally captures the humor here. I hope he takes on more audio book assignments as he is so well suited to the work.
Profile Image for jessica.
2,533 reviews32.3k followers
March 14, 2022
as far as family sagas go, this is pretty average. not amazing, but not horrible either.

i mean, the story is interesting enough. i like the idea of how a house plays such a central role through everyones lives, the common denominator. i wish it had played a larger role in some parts, but overall, i like the connection it created. i also think the bond between maeve and danny is really quite lovely.

i think, at its heart, this story has a lot to give. i just wish i had connected to it more. again, it kept my interest, but there wasnt really anything that made me love this. so fine overall, just not as emotionally compelling as i would have wanted from a family-oriented story.

i would probably recommend ‘the hearts invisible furies’ instead.

3 stars
Profile Image for Phrynne.
3,219 reviews2,052 followers
October 16, 2021
Sometimes when you listen to an audiobook the narrator spoils it and sometimes makes it. This one is read by Tom Hanks and he makes it absolutely perfect. He has the kind of voice you can listen to for hours and it is ideal for Danny, the character whose point of view is followed throughout the book.

The story is about the breakdown of a family and the support its individual members give to each other. Danny and his sister Maeve are the most important characters, and they have an amazing bond. I thought it was very interesting to observe the different ways they reacted to their lost mother. Maeve, who had known her for some of her childhood, longed for her return. Danny, who never really knew her, ended up being very like his father and repeated many of his faults.

I have read several of this author's books now and have enjoyed all of them. She has a magic touch with characterisation and her books often read like top quality memoirs because the people in them are so real. The Dutch House is not plot driven or exciting. It moves slowly and beautifully and ends up almost where it began. I enjoyed it very much.
Profile Image for Debbie.
441 reviews2,782 followers
August 16, 2019
A grand house with grand siblings inside

A 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 more. The book follows them through five decades. As the kids became adults, I got more and more attached to them; I was invested in the choices they made and cringed more 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.
Profile Image for Holly.
1,430 reviews982 followers
October 16, 2019
TOM HANKS NARRATES THIS AUDIOBOOK! I repeat, Tom Hanks narrates this audiobook! I could listen to that man narrate a grocery list but lucky for us, this book was much more interesting than that.

Let me first warn you that this is absolutely a character study plot type novel. And by that I mean, don't go into this book expecting this to happen: beginning->story climax where something major happens->ending. Instead, the readers gets to wade through the lives of Danny and his older sister, Maeve. It's like literary voyeurism. This is something I personally enjoy (I even have a shelf
for it!), but if that does not sound like the kind of story you want to read, you might want to skip this.

Getting into the book itself - I *loved* the first 2/3 of the book, maybe even 3/4. So, as you can probably figure out, the ending is where I dropped my planned 5 star review down to a 4. I don't want to spoil any of the book, because when a book really isn't about anything in particular everything is a spoiler. But I can say that the ending left me wondering if the author was trying to tell the reader something about forgiveness and if so, I am way too much of a cynical grudge bearing asshole to jump on that forgiveness ship, both in books and in real life. So, there's that.

But don't let my personal issues with the book ending dissuade you from LISTENING to this book. Because Tom Hanks. *dreamy sigh while I go watch You've Got Mail for the millionth time*
Profile Image for Larry H.
2,484 reviews29.4k followers
October 11, 2019
"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 more 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 more 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 more 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 more 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 more 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 more 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 https://itseithersadnessoreuphoria.blogspot.com/2019/01/the-best-books-i-read-in-2018.html.

You can follow me on Instagram at https://www.instagram.com/the.bookishworld.of.yrralh/.
Profile Image for Esil.
1,118 reviews1,336 followers
July 3, 2019
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.
Profile Image for Cheri.
1,739 reviews2,268 followers
October 7, 2019
4.5 Stars

This is the third book of Patchett’s that I’ve read, the first being State of Wonder, the second, Commonwealth, and this is one adds to the proof that she was born to write these complex family dramas where each character equally shares the wounds of all involved.

A little like a fairy tale flipped upside-down, this story includes an imposing, castle-like house, which seems to affect each character differently, as though abiding inside these walls seems to create an entirely different relationship between the house and each character. It begins as World War II is ending, and this then poor young family who have been living in base housing, living a happy, if simple life find their world upended when the father, Cyril, buys a house – unbeknownst to his young wife and young daughter, Maeve. The wife, Elna, is… well, impressed by the house, but the impression isn’t a good one, and she can’t imagine how this house could be theirs when they are poor. Something must be wrong beyond her feeling that this is far too ostentatious for her to ever feel comfortable living in.

As the story moves along, the house becomes more and more like another character, creating tension as time passes, and representing the failures of the past as well as the shattered hopes and dreams for the members of this family, as well. As time passes, it continues to pull both Danny and his sister Maeve back time and again to confront their feelings of anger and their regrets over the past.

Narrated by the son, Danny, it seemed as though these were stories shared by and about real people, and imparted with the grace and dignity offered to cherished loved ones.

Pub Date: 24 Sep 2019

Many thanks to HarperCollins Publishers, Harper
Profile Image for Diane Barnes.
1,253 reviews451 followers
October 13, 2019
Didn't even have to think about this one. Five stars because everything in this novel is perfect. From the masterful beginning until the perfect ending, and everything in between; the characters who feel like family, the Dutch house itself, the story which loops around and circles in upon itself, surprises, unexpected opportunities and also the letting go of hatred and revenge when there's no point in them anymore. I'm still not sure how I feel about the Mother, but I'll be dwelling on her for quite some time.

I don't know exactly how Ann Patchett keeps on getting better and better, but she has taken grand storytelling to a new level.
Profile Image for Beverly.
805 reviews290 followers
February 7, 2020
Ann Patchett is one of my favorite authors. I haven't read all of her books, but I have read many of them that I love with my whole heart; Bel Canto, Run, Truth and Beauty are my favorites by her.

The Dutch House is a five star read too. I was completely in love with her characters, especially Maeve and her brother Danny, who are essentially made orphans and paupers by the death of their father, the desertion by their mother, and their wicked stepmother who kicks Danny out of her home when he is only 15. Maeve has to take care of Danny and herself and she does an outstanding job. This is a novel about siblings who love each other and take care of each other which is something that is very rare in books.

Another theme of the book, besides family devotion is the importance of working hard and studying hard. Maeve and Danny are hard workers and believe in education for its own sake. This is another reason why I love this book.

At the heart of the book is their home, the one their father bought as a gift for their mother, that she rejected. The children survive despite the loss of their home and even their wicked stepmother is toothless at the end.
Profile Image for Karen.
573 reviews1,114 followers
October 21, 2019
I really enjoyed this story which follows a pair of siblings through five decades, the loss of their parents and childhood home and how those losses affected their lives.
Such a strong bond between the siblings and a past that wouldn’t let them go.. the house itself played such a huge part in this story, like it was one of the characters.
Great characters! Good story!
Profile Image for Susanne.
1,159 reviews36.8k followers
October 20, 2020
“Home.” What does it mean to you? It is a place or is it a person?

For me, having had a bad childhood and a bad marriage, “Home” has always been a place. Now that I’m divorced, the first home that I created for myself after my divorce was the first place that I ever truly felt safe in my entire life. Now, having moved, I have strived to create that same feeling of “Home” elsewhere. For others, “Home” may be the people you surround yourselves with.

In “The Dutch House” by Ann Patchett, “the house” as such, plays a huge part of the story and everything revolves around it. For some of the characters in this novel, I believe that home is definitely a place.

Danny and Maeve Conroy are siblings who live in The Dutch House with their parents until tragedy strikes and then the unthinkable happens and Danny and Maeve’s life changes drastically.

Thereafter Danny and Maeve visit The Dutch House frequently albeit from the confines of Maeve’s car. Reflecting and reminiscing.

Though their lives go on and decades pass, Danny and Maeve’s lives always revolve around The Dutch House, what has transpired over the years and what goes on inside on a daily basis. Thought provoking, engaging and heartbreaking, “The Dutch House” includes a whole host of complex characters and emotions.

There are several themes in this book, including: acceptance; dysfunction; family; friendship; forgiveness; love; obsession; reconciliation and perseverance, to name a few.

This book will evoke emotion, whether you like it or not. Frustration, anger, disgust, joy and/or love. I was wholly engrossed in the storyline and in the characters and every time a “shoe dropped” my jaw just about dropped as well.

I grabbed the audiobook of this from my library and was delighted to find that TOM HANKS was the narrator! TOM freaking HANKS!!! He did a phenomenal job narrating and completely drew me into this story. What I can say is that I truly enjoyed this story and loved the characters of Danny and Maeve. I found certain aspects of the story to be a bit unbelievable given my personal background but I enjoyed the book nonetheless. While I preferred “Commonwealth,”
I did enjoy this and would recommend it to fans of literary fiction.

A huge thank you to my local library for loaning me a copy of this audiobook! Thank you to Tom Hanks for the stellar narration!

Published on Goodreads on 10.18.20.
Profile Image for Jennifer Masterson.
200 reviews1,126 followers
February 12, 2020
I preordered this book. For months this gem was just sitting there waiting to be downloaded on my Audible app. Boy was I missing out because this will go in my favorites bookshelf. I absolutely loved it! Phenomenal story with a wonderful message. I just finished and I have chills! The kind of chills I got after reading books like “The Goldfinch” and “A Little Life”.

The audio was so good! I mean Tom Hanks! My God!

I have a feeling these characters will stay with me for a very long time.
Profile Image for Morgan .
821 reviews132 followers
February 25, 2020
DNF – I arrived at page 156 and still had no idea what this book is about. If there is a plot I couldn’t figure it out. The people are all just dreadful and I couldn’t care less what happens to them.
Couldn’t waste any more time on this rubbish.
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