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The Dutch House

Ann Patchett

I loved this book from American writer, Ann Patchett.  It is a compelling family story stretching over decades and centering around siblings Danny and Maeve and the extravagant Dutch House.  Their  father, a self-made property magnate bought the ostentatious mansion as a surprise for his wife.  A deeply charitable woman, she is appalled and ultimately walks out on her family to help the poor in India.  While Danny was too young to be traumatised by the events, his older sister Maeve harbours deep hurt, accentuated when their father’s new wife disinherits them.  As the two siblings progress through life, the Dutch House becomes the symbol of all they have lost.  Original and engrossing, the complexity of becoming your own person while being anchored by family relationships resonates brilliantly.