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 unshakable 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.
My Mini Thoughts
I enjoyed reading about the relationship between brother and sister/ Maeve and Danny. I feel like most books I read are about relationships between sisters, so this was refreshing. Their bond was strong, and they relied on each other through their dysfunctional childhood. They were each others best friends throughout their whole life.
However, it was strange to me how obsessed they were with the Dutch House. The Dutch House could have been a character in itself, like a lost sibling. The house was the reason their mom left. She was never comfortable going from being dirt poor to living in a grande house where they had servants. So she left. I never understood her reasoning for abandoning her children. Yes, she didn’t feel like she deserved to live there, but your children are there!!
Then their dad married Andrea who was obsessed with the house, and everything changes. I wanted more information on Andrea and her two daughters, and I didn’t get it. Who was she before she married Cyril?
I was in a buddy read for this book and one of the ladies said something that made perfect sense. Maybe we didn’t get the details we wanted because the story was told through Danny’s perspective. Males don’t get all wrapped up in details like us females. Not only did that make me laugh, but it’s so true.
I think I would have enjoyed this one more if I would have listened to the audio version. I heard Tom Hanks did the audio, and who doesn’t love him?!
Book Rating: 3/5
For the grand finale this would pair nicely with a Shannon Reserve Chardonnay 2016.