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InstaReview: The Dutch House by Ann Patchett

"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. "

Ann Patchett is adept at writing characters that emotionally connect you to a story and Dutch House is one of her best at accomplishing this. Cyril Conroy purchased the “Dutch House” for his young wife, Elna, but to his surprise she emphatically despised it. Her unhappiness, and Cyril’s ignorance, unravel their future together and alter the fate of their children, Danny and Maeve. Danny is our spirit guide through this generational saga, covering 5 decades of the Conroy family. Through his perspective the reader empathizes with the pain inflicted by their parents and witness the effects of generational trauma. Overall, we loved this story. There are fairy tale undertones - a wicked stepmother and a house with an anthropomorphic grip on the family that add drama and suspense to the story. While this novel wasn’t always fast paced, we were still drawn in by the effective storytelling that Ann Patchett is known for.


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