#TuesdayBookBlog ‘The Dutch House’ by Ann Patchett @ParnassusBooks1 #BookReview #Audiobook by @TomHanks

The Dutch House: A Novel by [Patchett, Ann]

I am ashamed to say that this is the first novel I’ve read by Anne Patchett, and I’m so glad I read it. I was so impressed that I read her most famous novel Commonwealth, straight after, and I enjoyed it even more, but more about that another week.

The Dutch House (from the blurb).

Set over the course of five decades, The Dutch House is a dark fairy tale about two smart people who cannot overcome their past. The story is told by 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.

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Ann Patchett

ANN PATCHETT is the author of seven novels and has been the recipient of numerous awards and fellowships, including England’s Orange Prize, the PEN/Faulkner Award, the American Bookseller’s Association’s Most Engaging Author Award, and the Women’s National Book Association’s Award. Her books have been both New York Times Notable Books and New York Times bestsellers. Her work has been translated into more than thirty languages.

In November, 2011, she opened Parnassus Books in Nashville, Tennessee, with her business partner Karen Hayes.  She has since become a spokesperson for independent booksellers, championing books and bookstores. In 2012 she was named by Time magazine as one of the 100 Most Influential People in the World.

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My Review

The Dutch House is such an emotional novel that I had to wipe away some tears as I listened to the last lines.

It’s hard to describe the beauty of the story and the smoothness of the prose, in a novel where nothing exceptional happens and yet so many extraordinary things take place over three generations.

Danny, the narrator, is an honest and endearing character. We first meet him as a child trying to understand the world and the contradictory adults in his family. As he grows up, he becomes a generous and reliable narrator who tells every character’s story with insight and empathy.

Danny chronicles a tragedy about dysfunctional families, including deficient parenting and the destructive power of jealousy leading to cruelty bordering on abuse, and yet it’s also an uplifting tale of love, forgiveness, and goodness.

Nothing is repaired, because the past can’t be changed, and yet everything works out, because life’s like that; it’s a cycle, so, in a way, we are always going back and revisiting the past, occasionally, as in this case, with some improvement.

A warning, the beginning is slow, but it’s well worth persevering, and if you can, listen to Tom Hanks magnificent reading. Unforgettable.

A must read for anyone who enjoys family sagas set in 20th century USA, and for those who believe in the healing power of forgiveness.

*****

More reviews by Luccia here!

#AtoZChallenge 2019 #Audiobooks ‘F’ is for Ken Follett @KMFollett @Audible ‘The Century Trilogy’

#AtoZChallenge 2019 Tenth Anniversary blogging from A to Z challenge letter

I’m thrilled to continue my AtoZ Blogging challenge with one of my favourite authors, the masterful writer of thrillers and historical fiction, Ken Follett, who has been writing engaging, literary fiction for over forty years.   

Ken Follett

If I had to save a trilogy from the last library in the world which was on fire, I’d save The Century Trilogy, and if I had to save just one book, it would be The Winter of the World.

 

The Century Trilogy (3 Book Series) by  Ken Follett

Fall of Giants, Winter of the World and Edge of Eternity, make up the Century Trilogy. This Trilogy, is a tour de force, which narrates the main events of the 20th century, following the lives of five families in – America, Germany, Russia, England and Wales, who will gradually become interrelated, as the original characters and their descendents experience the First World War, the Russian Revolution, the struggle for Women’s Suffrage, the Second World War, The Cold War, The Civil Rights Movement, The Race to Space, and finally the reunification of Germany.

I loved every word of The Fall of Giants. Every single sentence, paragraph and page is engaging. The characterisation is extraordinary. Every character, and there are plenty of them, has a unique appearance and personality. The plot is thrilling with plenty of drama and historical detail that make it an unforgettable read.

Winter of the World, my favourite, is a brutal and honest fictional account of WWII. It should be compulsory reading at High Schools, because the historical events portrayed affect the reader, much more than a set of facts in a history book or lesson. Let’s not forget what happened in order to be alert and compassionate and never let it happen again. Ken Follett illustrates the horrors of war as well as the goodness and self-sacrifice that we are capable of.

Although the writing is brilliant, I’m really glad I listened to the trilogy as an audiobook, because John Lee is the best audiobook narrator I’ve heard.

Lee does all the voices so perfectly that you know at once who is speaking, and there are five nationalities, with their own accents and different social classes, as well as male, female and children’s voices. The novels are lively and authentic due to the great deal of dialogue included, yet it’s no easy feat for the narrator. Chapeau!

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The Century Trilogy, is especially for readers who enjoy historical novels and dramatic family sagas, which explore political, social and personal issues through various generations.

Ken Follett’s Audible Author Page 

By the way, Ken Follet has a fabulous Author Webpage, which has ‘Writing Advice’. I’ve found it very inspiring and thought-provoking.

What? You’ve never read an Audiobook? Here are my 34 reasons why you should be reading audiobooks! 

I’ll be reviewing an audiobook a day throughout April, so come back on Monday! There will be a round-up tomorrow!

Would you like to read about the other authors and audiobooks I’ve posted about during the challenge, which started on 1st April? Here they are!

Find out more about this blogging challenge here!