Rating: 4.5 / 5
THE DUTCH HOUSE by Ann Patchett was our first January book pick for the buddy read I help host over on bookstagram and it was a great way to kick off the year. This is a book that led to some great discussions and it was overall a lot of fun!
THE DUTCH HOUSE is a family drama narrated from the point of view of Danny. Before Danny can even remember, his mother left the family for India leaving Danny and his older sister Maeve alone with their father Cyril. Their father was not the warm and cuddly type, so apart from teaching Danny the family real estate business, Danny was mostly left to be raised by his older sister and the household staff.
Danny’s father remarries and soon Andrea steps into the family to fulfill the role of the wicked step-mother along with her two daughters, determined to take over the family and the Dutch House where they live. She neatly dismissing Maeve who is away at college and largely dismissing Danny altogether. The breakdown of the family is ongoing and catastrophic.
I read the majority of THE DUTCH HOUSE via audiobook which was narrated wonderfully by Tom Hanks. He really did a great job of giving voice to Danny as our point of view character. The narrative jumps back in time quite a bit from Danny’s earliest memories to his much later years five decades later and the tone stays very true to Danny’s limited perspective. Much of the early story is filtered through what he has heard from his sister and the staff at the house.
This was a great book for discussion as the narrative leaves you wondering throughout the book as to different characters’ motivations. Andrea is a woman you can love to hate, but is there more going on? What is the story behind Danny’s mother leaving the family? There is no shortage of family drama at play in this book and it kept me hooked throughout. In the end there are satisfying answers to the questions raised and I thought the book as a whole was beautifully done.
This was my first book by Ann Patchett, but certainly not my last. I was enjoying this one so much I actually picked up a copy of BEL CANTO before I had even finished this read!
#popsugarreadingchallenge – a book with at least a four-star rating on Goodreads