Welcome to another Bookish Friday, in which we share excerpts from books…and connect with other bloggers who do the same.
To join in, just grab a book and share the opening lines…along with any thoughts you wish to give us; then turn to page 56 and excerpt anything on the page.
Then give us the title of the book, so others can add it to their lists! What a great way to spend a Friday.
Today’s feature is a book I bought in September 2019. The Dutch House, by Ann Patchett. I thought I would have read it by now…but here we are.
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.
Bright laughed but then Norma ran out of the room in tears, suddenly understanding what taking Maeve’s room might mean to Maeve. Maeve watched her go and I could see on her face she wasn’t sure whom she should be comforting: Norma? Sandy? Me?
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.
What do you think?