The Dutch House
By Ann Patchett
Harper, 2019. 352 pages. Fiction
At the end of the Second World War, Cyril Conroy began an empire in real estate with the purchase of the Dutch House, a lavish estate in the suburbs of Philadelphia intended for his family to reside. But what he hopes will be a joy to his family instead only brings heartbreak. Cyril's son Danny and his older sister, Maeve, are exiled from the house by their stepmother after their father's death. 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. Danny and Maeve are only truly comfortable when they're together, and throughout their lives, they continue to revisit what they've lost with both humor and anger. When at last they're forced to confront the people who left them behind, the relationship between this brother and sister is finally tested.
This is a sweeping tale that spans generations and will give readers a lot to think about and discuss. Themes of family, loss, forgiveness, and nostalgia are heavy in this book, but for all the grief that one family may experience over a lifetime, there is hope as well. This audiobook is narrated by Tom Hanks who brings his own charm and a sense of lightheartedness, despite the sometimes melancholic subject matter, to the story.