Happy Monday, Savvy Readers! It’s overcast, there’s a chill in the air, and pumpkin spice everything is making its rounds. You know what that means… It’s officially Fall! If you, like us, spend your Fall curled up with a cozy blanket, a warm tea, and a great book, then you do not want to miss this week’s 50 Book Pledge Featured Read, because it is the perfect Fall read!
“‘Do you think it’s possible to ever see the past as it actually was?’ I asked my sister. We were sitting in her car, parked in front of the Dutch House in the broad daylight of early summer.”
Bestselling author Ann Patchett, perhaps best known for her critically acclaimed novels Commonwealth and State of Wonder, is back with what we believe to be her best novel yet. High praise, yes, but, should you pick up a copy, you’ll instantly see why!
The Dutch House is 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. At the end of WWII, Cyril Conroy, through equal parts luck and canny investments, builds an enormous real estate empire that propels his family from the depths of poverty to the heights of enormous wealth. With his newfound wealth, Cyril purchases the Dutch House, a lavish estate just outside the Philadelphia city limits, as a surprise for his wife. Unfortunately for Cyril, though, life has other plans… Not only will this house not be the surprise he was envisioning, it will also set in motion the undoing of everyone he loves.
Told from the perspective of Cyril’s son, The Dutch House transforms into the story of these wealthy siblings – Danny, the younger brother, and Maeve, the older, acerbic and self-assured sister – as they are exiled from their childhood home by their stepmother. As the two children are thrown back into the very same poverty that their parents had escaped from once upon a time, they quickly discover that the only thing they have to count on in this new world is one another. Unfortunately for them, however, the world of The Dutch House doesn’t work that easily. You see, it is this this unshakeable bond between the two siblings that both saves their lives and hurls their futures into jeopardy.
If you haven’t already guessed from our description, The Dutch House is a dark, twisted take on a fairy tale – and, at its heart, a family drama, written by the master of family dramas – that’s set over the course of five decades, as two very intelligent people are unable to overcome the past that has come to define their lives. Despite every outward appearance of success, the two siblings at the heart of this book are only ever truly comfortable when they’re together. As the come together to reckon with their shared past, their bond grows stronger and they start to heal together. When this healing process forces them to reckon with the very same people who left them behind all those years ago, however, this bond may just become the key to their undoing.
You might have noticed already, but we love family dramas here at the Savvy Reader, and there’s no one better at writing them than Ann Patchett. The Dutch House is no exception. A tour-de-force that dives deep into questions of inheritance, love, and forgiveness, The Dutch House is a truly spectacular novel with an emotional gravitas that we can’t quite put into words. Beautifully written, expertly crafted, and perfectly plotted, The Dutch House needs to be the book to take you into Fall 2019. Where our words are failing to describe just how good this book is, the back cover tagline puts it best: “You may read it quickly to find out what happens, but what happens to Danny and Maeve will stay with you for a very long time.”
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