Danny Conroy grew up in The Dutch House (Harper, $27.99), the unusual, majestic mansion in the Philly suburbs that is the true main character of Ann Patchett’s elegant and moving novel. Part of the baby boom generation, Danny and his sister Maeve were abandoned by their mother when they were young and endured a difficult childhood with their father’s second wife who, interested only in the house, bore more than a passing resemblance to the storied evil stepmother. Richly evoking the different relationships—of the siblings, of their parents, of mothers and sons—and showing how they were both formed and warped by the house, Patchett’s deeply compelling narrative follows Danny as he matures, leaves the house and his father, but remains close to Maeve and their shared memories. Beautifully written with complex and fascinating characters, this novel is as intimate as it is panoramic.
The Dutch House by Ann Patchett