Ann Patchett is highly respected for her character-driven fiction that explores the complicated dynamics of families. The Dutch House tells the story of siblings Danny and Maeve entirely from adult Danny’s point of view. While not entirely linear, we follow the brother and sister from childhood into middle age as they serve as each other’s one constant through the ups and downs of their lives. Patchett’s exploration of this brother-sister relationship feels particularly fresh because it never slips into overly saccharine or overly troubled territory. The Dutch house of the title also takes on a personality of its own and is an engaging center for the progression of Danny and Maeve’s lives. And while the pace is not fast, there’s something about Danny and the slightly-enigmatic Maeve that helps to pull readers in and keep them invested throughout the journey.
Raela Schoenherr is an editor at a Minnesota publishing company. She loves to talk books and writing on Twitter at @raelaschoenherr.