TUESDAY EXCERPTS: “THE DUTCH HOUSE”

Welcome to another Tuesday celebrating bookish events: First Chapter/Intros, originally hosted by Bibliophile by the Sea and now hosted by I’d Rather Be at the Beach; and Teaser Tuesdays hosted by The Purple Booker.

Today’s featured book is The Dutch House, by Ann Patchett.

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Intro:  The first time our father brought Andrea to the Dutch House, Sandy, our housekeeper, came to my sister’s room and told us to come downstairs.  “Your father has a friend he wants you to meet,” she said.

“Is it a work friend?” Maeve asked.  She was older and so had a more complex understanding of friendship.

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Teaser:  As we stood there shoulder to shoulder, the dishes done and the most frustrating mystery of my life resolved, I remembered that this was the woman who had hit me once when I was a child.  She had slept with my father and wanted to marry him.  I thought of what a better life it would have been had Fluffy gotten her way. (65%).

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Synopsis:  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 unshakeable 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.

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What do you think?  Would you keep reading?

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