Updated: Mar 30, 2020
I listened to the audio version of The Dutch House by Ann Patchett. I am slightly ashamed to say this was my first Ann Patchett book...ever. I was not sure what to expect from this book, but I was drawn to the insanely gorgeous cover and the fact that the audiobook is narrated by Tom Hanks. Side note: Is there anything more soothing than Tom Hanks voice? I will wait... The Dutch House is a beautifully written family saga that revolves around two siblings, Danny and Maeve, and the house they grew up in. I felt all the emotions under the sun and was completely invested in the character's lives. Patchett is eloquent with her writing and her characters come alive on the page. The story is told from Danny's perspective and follows years of his life and his experiences with his family and the house they grew so fond of.
Danny is a complex character. As a young boy, he idolized his father, Cyril. Cyril owned many properties and Danny tagged along when he collected rent from his tenants. Danny and Maeve's mother left when he was very young, so his memories of her are basically nonexistent. All Danny remembers is growing up with his sister in Elkins Park, PA, in the infamous Dutch house. Cyril eventually remarries a woman, Andrea, who ends up being a pinnacle figure in Danny and Maeve's lives. Each character is rich and well developed and the plot line moves along slowly, focusing on the characters and their connection to this odd house.
I absolutely loved the audio of this book. I highly recommend if you pick up this book that you try the audio as well. You will not be disappointed. I became so invested in Danny and Maeve's lives and Tom Hanks narration brought them to life. Patchett is an incredible writer and has the ability to say so much, with so little. The Dutch house signified Danny and Maeve's childhood and their obscure relationships with their mother and father. The story comes full circle in the end and I shed a few happy (and sad) tears. I loved the imagery that Patchett was able to evoke with her writing.
I gave The Dutch House ★★★★.5 and recommend it if you are a fan of character driven novels. The plot moves slowly and, truth be told, there is not a huge plot to begin with. The sense of place is strong and Patchett is able to vividly bring the reader to the Dutch house, right along with Danny and Maeve. I am embarrassed to say this was my first Patchett novel, but also proud to say it will not be my last. This one was deep, thoughtful, and lovely (just like the cover!)