The Paper Palace by Miranda Cowley Heller | #bookreview

The Paper Palace is a book I chose for my book group to read recently. For once, we all enjoyed it although there was some debate about how likeable the main character was!

About the book

On a perfect August morning, Elle Bishop heads out for a swim in the pond below ‘The Paper Palace’ – her family’s holiday home in Cape Cod. As she dives beneath the water she relives the passionate encounter she had the night before, against the side of the house that knows all her darkest secrets, while her husband and mother chatted to their guests inside…

So begins a story that unfolds over twenty-four hours and fifty years, as Elle’s shocking betrayal leads her to a life-changing decision.

My Thoughts

I absolutely loved The Paper Palace and was gripped by the story from the start. I did find the first part a little confusing with the many different members of the family who seemed to break up and get new partners almost every second page. However, once I got my head around that, I couldn’t put the book down.

I liked the structure of the book with the present day storyline taking place over twenty four hours giving it a fast-paced feeling. By contrast, the story following Elle through the course of her life was more leisurely and at times rather shocking. What a dysfunctional family!

I felt that nature was beautifully portrayed in the book, particularly around the Paper Palace itself. The hot sultry weather around the house reflected the brooding atmosphere of the story. It felt like nature was almost a danger, always lurking ready to pose a threat, much like some of the characters in the book.

The Paper Palace is a captivating story, so beautifully written and a really impressive debut novel.

The Paper Palace is published by Penguin and available now in all formats.

About the Author

Miranda Cowley Heller was raised in New York. After graduating from Harvard she became a books editor, before working for a decade as Head of Drama Series at HBO. She divides her time between Los Angeles, London and Cape Cod. The Paper Palace is her first novel, and was a number 1 New York Times bestseller in the US, a Sunday Times bestseller in the UK and was longlisted for the Women’s Prize.


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