The Dutch House

The Dutch House

A Novel

eBook - 2019
Average Rating:
Rate this:
New York Times Bestseller | A Read with Jenna Today Show Book Club Pick | A New York Times Book Review Notable Book | TIME Magazine's 100 Must-Read Books of 2019 Named one of the Best Books of the Year by NPR, The Washington Post; O: The Oprah Magazine, Real Simple, Good Housekeeping, Vogue, Refinery29 , and Buzzfeed Ann Patchett, the #1 New York Times bestselling author of Commonwealth, delivers her most powerful novel to date: a richly moving story that explores the indelible bond between two siblings, the house of their childhood, and a past that will not let them go. The Dutch House is the story of a paradise lost, a tour de force that digs deeply into questions of inheritance, love and forgiveness, of how we want to see ourselves and of who we really are. 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.
Publisher: 2019
ISBN: 9780062963697
Characteristics: 1 online resource

Related Resources


From the critics

Community Activity


Add a Comment
Nov 16, 2020

My review of this book: Meh. Siblings Danny and Maeve grew up in an old mansion their father bought as a surprise for their mother. Their mother hated the house with a quiet, resigned hate. Perhaps hate is too passionate a word; more like she never belonged there. In fact, it felt like she never belonged in either the marriage or the family. Eventually, she left without notice and was not heard from again for decades. The household help, one of which “came with the house,” served as mother figures. The father was absent to his children, even when he was home. To solve the problem of bringing up children without a mother, he married Andrea, who had two daughters of her own. She loved her two daughters and tolerated, barely, Danny and Maeve. When the father died, he left everything to Andrea except funds for as much education as Danny and Maeve wanted to enroll in. For Danny, that included medical school although he didn’t want to be a doctor — and never did practice medicine. Instead, he bought and sold property — like his father had done — and was very successful at it. They do end up reconnecting with their mother; she found them thanks to the help who had brought them up. It turns out she had felt called to help the poor, and that’s what she had been doing while her children grew up motherless. Writing this synopsis, I see that I’m recounting the main story line, but I can’t draw any insight or depth from the book. Meh.

Nov 12, 2020

Disappointed by the story

Oct 21, 2020

Very, very well written. Easy to get drawn into this family saga that is not sweeping as so many are but small and personal. The narrator is not fully self-aware which adds another layer of interest. Recommended.

Oct 10, 2020

Brilliantly written. Story of a brother and sister who define their life by major events in their childhood- the remarriage of their father, his death and then their disinheritance by their stepmother. The story is told around the house they grew up in - The Dutch House. So often we are shaped by major events in our childhood. They can strengthen us or destroy us. That is what this book is about. Entertaining, thought-provoking and haunting.

Oct 02, 2020

I enjoyed this book. Found the characters to be fully developed however it felt like Maeve emotional maturity level was stuck at the time her mother left. Only failing I felt about the book was of the mother character. Her story felt lame and as if she did not give an acceptable explanation of why she did what she did.

Sep 27, 2020

I loved this book! Five stars aren't enough. It's now on my "favorites" list. I can't stop thinking about it. The characters were so real I had to keep reminding myself it was fiction. So many others have summarized the plot, described the characters, and talked about the family relationships, that I don't want to repeat those facts. What makes this novel so memorable are not only these aspects, but the writing style and the believability of the plot and people. I laughed, I cried, I kept turning the pages as I became immersed in the lives of Danny and Maeve.....and The Dutch House.

Sep 24, 2020

For me this book was primarily about abandonment. Also loyalty, pain and forgiveness within a family. It is not predictable especially after Mom shows up near the end. It is written dispassionately. but I understood the narrators feelings having lived through a step mother and invading family in our house myself.
I had to read right to the end, as though the narrator might reveals insights into the mysteries of familial relationships.

Sep 21, 2020

I had a little trouble getting into the book (I listened to this one in the car.) But once I did, I was hooked. Tom Hanks narrates the book very well. It is written from the perspective of the son of a family that buys this fancy house in Pennsylvania. They are not people of means but it was a great deal. Unfortunately, the house is sort of the end of the family as the wife can't be in the house and leaves her family to go and do service work. It is a tragic story in a lot of ways but not overly so.

Sep 03, 2020

axis 360

Sep 01, 2020

This is my favourite Ann Patchett book yet. Loved the characters, the history, and the storyline. I could just "feel" those grand portraits staring at me from the walls. Great read!

View All Comments


Add a Quote
Oct 14, 2020

"Do you think it's possible to ever see the past as it actually was?" ...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"

Feb 27, 2020

"...the things we could do nothing about were best put out of our minds." p.70

Jan 21, 2020

“Habit is a funny thing. You might think you understand it, but you can never exactly see what it looks like when you’re doing it.” - p.255

Jan 21, 2020

"Disappointment comes from expectation, and in those days I had no expectation that Andrea would get anything less than what she wanted.” - pp. 58-59

Jan 21, 2020

“Do you think it’s possible to ever see the past as it actually was?” I asked my sister…

“I see the past as it actually was, “ Maeve said….

“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.” - p. 45

ArapahoeAnnaL Nov 03, 2019

'Home is so sad...It stays as it was left, shaped to the comfort of the last to go as if to win them back. Instead, bereft of anyone to please, it withers so, having no heart to put aside the theft. And turn again to what it started as, a joyous shot at how things ought to be, long fallen wide. You can see how it was: look at the pictures and the cutlery. The music in the piano stool. That vase.' Larkin

ArapahoeAnnaL Nov 03, 2019

'You think he was sleeping with Fluffy?' I asked her... The news of this affair came to me as most information did: many years after the fact, in a car parked outside the Dutch house with my sister.

Age Suitability

Add Age Suitability

There are no age suitabilities for this title yet.


Add a Summary

There are no summaries for this title yet.


Add Notices

There are no notices for this title yet.

Explore Further

Subject Headings


Find it at NPL

To Top