The Dutch House

The Dutch House Summary

Finalist for the Pulitzer Prize

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.

Book Reviews


Eh2 star

I got about 2/3 through it and gave up. Super slow.25


Miraculous storytelling5 star

Every word is breathtaking. I couldn’t put it down.55


Lovely5 star

A delightful gentle read from beginning to end. Rich in enough detail to please this interior designers soul.55


Dutch House4 star

Interesting family intrigue.45


A journey4 star

The choices we make. Seems convoluted early on but keeps getting better. Comes together beautifully.45

ups ship

Family drama in a beautiful home4 star

Loved the characters....story made me sad, but also made me count my family blessings!45


New Favorite5 star

This is my new favorite book and author. I absolutely loved it!55

Never enough rain!

Wonderful story, beautifully written.5 star

I loved the characters in this story. What an intriguing read.55


Slow Burn4 star

It took me several chapters to decide if I was “in” but once I was, I had to see it through to the end, which is the mark of a good story.45


Children caught in the middle5 star

Adult decisions and delusions impact children. How they adapt and blossom is remarkable.55

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