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The Dutch House by Ann Patchett

Published : 30th April 2020

Publisher : Bloomsbury Publishing

Format : Kindle, Audio, Hardback, Paperback

Genre : Historical Fiction



Like swallows, like salmon, we were the helpless captives of our migratory patterns. We pretended that what we had lost was the house, not our mother, not our father. We pretended that what we had lost had been taken from us by the person who still lived inside.

Thank you so much Tandem Collective and Bloomsbury publishing for this brilliant copy and question cards. This was my first Tandem read along and absolutely loved being a part of the group discussions with fellow bloggers.

This book was awarded Woman's Prize 2020

My Review

This was a lovely slow burner story. It was not what I was expecting, but that is mainly my fault for assuming it was an older historical novel then it actually turned out to be, but regardless it was still an amazing story.

The entire book revolves around two siblings and their life and memories of living at The Dutch House. The story is mainly narrated by Danny over multiple periods throughout their life. Jumping back and forth through time you get to build up a picture slowly of there life and how everything they do growing up somehow always is linked back to the house in which neither seem to want to let go.

The house was brought by their father Cyril when he came into some money for their mother. The people that lived there before were dutch, hence the name and every single one of their possessions was sold alongside the house, even down to a hairbrush. Their mother found this to much and coming from having very little money to living in a grand house that also has staff was to much to handle and shew leaves her husband and children, Danny and Mauve are then brought up by the house staff who love them dearly but Mauve does end up taking that mothers role in Dannys life.

“Mothers were the measure of safety, which meant that I was safer than Maeve. After our mother left, Maeve took up the job on my behalf but no one did the same for her.”

The father eventually remarries to a woman called Andrea but neither Danny or Mauve really get on with their stepmother. She is mostly fair and not necessarily unkind but always makes it clear that this is her house now for her children.

After a few years of marriage Cyril dies and Andrea puts both Maeve and Danny out, both are told to never set foot in their home again. This starts an obsessive recurring mission for them both where they return to the street and regularly sit in a car parked across from the house and gaze at it recalling memories and wondering how life would have been if only their mother had not left.

The story is very clever how it weaves you through an entire lifetime of these two siblings whilst also allowing you to view there life via there memories, and how no matter how easy it is to move on from somewhere, some things are just to engrained in us to not have a lasting impact.

Why I Loved It

I found the way in which this story was written really engaged you with both characters and I wanted the outcome for them to be one that was happy as they clearly had a troubled childhood. I did feel that the story was a little slow at some points and could have aimed to a more specific point in the book, but saying that it was still an enjoyable easy read.




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Meet the author

Ann Patchett is an American author.

She received the 2002 PEN/Faulkner Award and the Orange Prize for Fiction in the same year, for her novel Bel Canto.

Patchett's other novels include The Patron Saint of Liars, Taft, The Magician's Assistant, Run, State of Wonder, Commonwealth, and The Dutch House.

Connect with Anne




Books by this author

This Is The Story Of a Happy Marriage

The Magicians Assistant


Claire's Similar reads

Girl, Woman, Other by Bernadine Everisto

Where The Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens

The Woman Behind The Waterfall

I hope you enjoyed reading my thoughts on this review.

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