On My Bedside {12 Books In 12 Months: The Dutch House}

It’s time for the April installment of my 12 Books in 12 Months project, where the list of 12 reads came straight from YOUR top books you’ve ever read recommendations. Over spring break I literally devoured The Dutch House by Ann Patchett! This was a powerful novel and moving tale about the bond between two siblings and the past that ties them together. It is so beautifully written, that I could see Danny and Maeve and Fluffy and every single one of them in my mind’s eye. I cannot tell you how many times I paused reading to flip to the cover and stare at the portrait of Maeve. When I shared I was reading this on social media, many of you chimed in that the audio book narrated by Tom Hanks is one of the best things you ever listened to. I plan to do that next!

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.

12 Books in 12 Months

See the list here:

On the docket for May is Wish You Were Here.

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3 thoughts on “On My Bedside {12 Books In 12 Months: The Dutch House}

  1. The Dutch House was my favorite book in 2020. I recently learned that it was a finalist for the 2020 Pulitzer prize for Fiction.
    I just read Hello Beautiful by Ann Naplitano, and it is very reminiscent of the The Dutch House. It is so good! It’s a family saga that follows a group of sisters growing up in the 1980’s, and is loosely based on Little Women. I highly recommend!

  2. Amanda, I listened to it on Libby. The ENTIRE time I kept thinking, “Why does his voice sound familiar?” At the very END it says, “narrated by Tom Hanks”. Well, that’s why his voice sounded familiar!!! But I will say that The Dutch House and Daisy Jones & the Six are both books better listened to on audio (in my opinion).

  3. The audio version of The Dutch House was the first audio book I listened to. Now, two out of three books I “read” are audio. I believe the lovely voice of Tom Hanks (The Dutch House) is one of the reasons i now continue to enjoy audio books. COMMENT: The narrator can sometimes make or break an audio book. I now listen to the “sample audio” of the book before purchasing.

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