The Dutch House

The Dutch House

A Novel

Large Print - 2019
Average Rating:
Rate this:

A Read with Jenna Today Show Book Club Pick!

From the New York Times bestselling author of Commonwealth and State of Wonder, comes Ann Patchett's 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: New York, New York :, HarperLuxe, an imprint of HarperCollins Publishers,, ©2019.
Edition: First HarperLuxe edition.
ISBN: 9780062966469
Branch Call Number: LPE FICTION PAT
Characteristics: 446 pages (large print) ; 23 cm


From the critics

Community Activity


Add a Comment

I loved this book. It grabbed me from the start. My book club did it and there was a lot to discuss. Ann Patchett is one of my favorite authors. My favorite by her was "Bel Canto", but this one may rival it. The characters were interesting and very well described by Patchett so the reader could get a good picture and feel for them. Mauve and Danny were fun characters to imagine. I almost wish I listened to this on audio, as it is read by Tom Hanks. However, this was one that you just enjoy reading and look forward to getting back to.

Feb 10, 2020

The Dutch House plays a big part in this novel. It is almost a character, not a location. The story carries you through decades with the house as the central obsession for the son and daughter who grow up there but lose it due to family changes and dysfunction. Maeve, the older sister is a great character; she becomes a mother substitute to her much younger brother. When you discover how and why the portrait on the cover is Maeve, you'll be wrapped up in this good story. Their stepmother might remind readers of a fairy tale: Cinderella with a brother, or Hansel and Gretel. This is a slow saga of a dysfunctional family, but with a unique plot, some good twists, and good dialogue, it's a page-turner in a quieter way.

Feb 03, 2020

I enjoyed this book very much, and for me it was a page turner of a different kind. I wanted to hear the narrator's voice and keep up with his life. The only negative comment I would make is that it seemed to hurry toward the ending, resolving the various characters lives too quickly. I am an Ann Patchett fan, with Bel Canto being a favorite. I do recommend this book (and Bel Canto) heartily.

Feb 02, 2020

I am a Patchett fan, but this one didn’t meet expectations. Well written and carefully constructed, it left me wanting. I did not care for the narrator, the main character and I think that was the root of my disappointment.

STPL_Kerry Jan 31, 2020

I enjoyed this book. It was a beautifully written, character-driven novel about family, heartache and anger (and what a cancer it can be). It is a story about how we live with hurt and disappointment, how we hold on, and how we let go. If you are looking for a gripping page-turner then keep on going.....that being said, this was a very pleasant read.

Jan 29, 2020

Modern Mrs Darcy

Jan 24, 2020

Disappointing. Somehow none of the characters were fleshed out enough to enable the reader to form a connection/liking to them. I would have enjoyed getting to know Maeve better and perhaps exploring her relationship with Mr. Ottermann. Many of the actions of the other characters made no sense, and I was unable to understand them, much less develop empathy.

Jan 21, 2020

THE DUTCH HOUSE will appeal to fans like me of slow, character-driven family sagas. I was initially intrigued by the gorgeous cover art, but once begun, I quickly found myself engrossed in the lives of siblings Danny and Maeve, who, along with the grandiose House, are at the heart of this drama. Much of this book’s appeal for me is due to author Ann Patchett’s nuanced writing and her ability to create complicated characters and a complex storyline while still producing a very readable story. With themes such as abandonment, family, loyalty, love, loss, and forgiveness, THE DUTCH HOUSE is ultimately about acceptance and letting go of the past. Although one may disagree with the characters’ choices and the ending, this book will stay with the reader long after it’s finished.

Jan 14, 2020

A sprawling novel that covers the lives of 2 siblings over several decades, The Dutch House is essentially about family, loss, and the trauma that is associated with loss. An excellent read, recommended if you enjoyed the author's previous novels, such as The Commonwealth.

Jan 12, 2020

Our book club read it. Various responses. One hated it--"Most boring book every." Some really liked it. I found the unfolding of the story through the characters artful. She told a good story and can turn a good phrase--the two things I look for in a book. I recommend it.

View All Comments


Add a Quote
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

Browse by Call Number


Subject Headings


Find it at CPL

To Top