Genre: Historical Fiction
Publication Date: 9/24/2019
Goodreads Synopsis –
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.
My Opinion –
I simply could not decide whether to read this book or not. I thought the synopsis seemed interesting, but prior to this book I had only read one book by Ann Panchett and it was not a huge success. I had a lot of trouble connecting with the writing style of that book and had decided that although others really enjoy her books, she was not for me. To my surprise I actually really enjoyed this book, maybe I don’t need to swear off Ann Patchett after all!
Full disclosure – I chose to listen to the audio version of this book rather than reading it. I heard it was the way to go so I decided to follow suit. Tom Hanks is the narrator and no surprise here, he did a fantastic job with the narration!
This book is book club gold! The characters are fantastic, so much to explore there. Relationships between husbands, wives, and siblings to dive into and dissect. And then there is the ever-popular family dysfunction, abandonment, and forgiveness to name just a few topics that can be discussed.
Everyone in my book club enjoyed the story. It made for a great conversation! One of the more notable things we found interesting was how we all had different visions of the dutch house. Some saw a very large grand house, others envisioned a house that was architecturally beautiful, but on the smaller side. I have no doubt that this was Ann Patchett’s intention when she held back a bit on describing the house so that we can fill in with our own imagination.
Do you have a favorite Ann Patchett?
Let’s get social…