Cover Image: The Paper Palace

The Paper Palace

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Member Reviews

The Paper Palace was a mesmerisingly beautiful read that i took my time over - and I'm glad i did. The novel revolves around the life of happily married, mother of three Elle Bishop. In the current day the story unfolds over 24 hours with flashbacks to the previous 50 years of the rather bourgeois  family history. Elle grew up in an unusual family, her mother (as hers did before her) put her needs first and Elle and her sister Anna had an unconventional upbringing but one which revolved each summer around the family summer home set on a pond on the East Coast. We learn of Elle's childhood relationship with her summer friend Jonas and the tragic event they both witnessed that shaped the rest of their lives. A brittle mother, a loving, witty British husband and three adorable children jostle for her heart alongside Jonas - the friend she has loved forever.  Elle has a decision to make - but what will it be? This is a beautiful, tragic, tender book and one which will stay with me for a long time.
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Thanks to Netgalley, Miranda Cowley Heller and their publisher for an advanced copy of this book.

I am usually an avid reader of murder/thriller books and for me this was out of my comfort zone..  Saying that though, I did enjoy this genre of books.

The story is centred around Elle and the drama unfolds over a 24 hour period.  The story captivated me at times and I wanted to know what was going to happen.  I enjoyed the characters and found that I related to Elle in more ways than one..

For me personally, the story was a bit stop and start but I am glad I perceived and read the full novel.

I would give this book 3 and a half stars but as that is not possible I will give it 4 stars.
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This was a really interesting read. This middle aged women decided between love and life and looking at herself. It was a bit slow at some parts, but the author does a good job at keeping you interested and also curious to where the story might go. Thank you Netgalley for the ARC!
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I’m absolutely torn on this book. This is somewhere between a three and four star for me. On the one hand, Crowley Heller did a beautiful job of bringing her reader into the lives of the characters she developed over a 50-year span. She wrote beautifully about the main character, Elle, and her complicated family. I love when the reader gets to take a look through the past and see what makes a character who they are.

On the other hand, I felt like she struggled to make the present day story come together. I felt incredibly let down by the ending. I wanted so much more from Elle. There were definitely some loose ends that will frustrate me for a while.

Overall, Crowley Heller’s ability to paint a picture of the characters’ pasts was incredible but I wanted more for their present. I have a feeling though that this is one of those books that will grow on me over time.

This review is based on NetGalley ARC provided in exchange for an honest, unbiased opinion.
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Miranda Cowley Heller’s The Paper Palace takes place over the twenty-four hours in which fifty-year-old Elle is faced with the messy aftermath of a drunken dinner party at her family’s Cape Cod camp. She and her childhood best friend Jonas had sex in the garden, her beloved husband still sitting at the dinner table, and now Elle is both heady with love and racked with guilt. Throughout the day she remembers the life that has led her to the impossible choice she must make between these two men, each of whom she loves dearly. 

Elle tells her story through a series of flashbacks which lengthen as she unfolds the events that have led to this crisis. Heller anchors Elle in the place which was the lynchpin of a childhood beset with instability until she reveals the devastating secret that Elle and Jonas have kept since they were teenagers. I’d expected a light summer read – parties on the beach with maybe a little infidelity, gossipy and entertaining - but Heller's story becomes something very much darker than that, and all the better for it. A gripping, thoroughly engrossing novel with a disconcerting ending, it’s the perfect intelligent summer read, not to mention an impressive debut.
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A beautiful story spanning a lifetime. Fans of Where The Crawdad’s Sing should read this book. 

The story centres around Elle, who is happily married to Peter whilst also in love with her childhood friend Jonas. It shows everything that has built her into the person she is and the decisions she has made. It really is beautifully written.
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This delicious book, a must for fans of Bridges of Madison County, is a great read. It tells the story of a middle aged woman torn between the love of her life and her loving beloved husband. It explores the nature of love, passionate, uxorial, familial and maternal through a series of flashbacks. It will play into all of your ‘what if’ moments and challenge if we live for then or now, for duty or passion. The only slight down note was the annoying ending....in trying to leave us guessing, she leaves us confused. A great summer book.
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Thank you Netgalley and Penguin for providing me with an ARC in exchange for an honest review.

I'm not sure how I feel about this book, except that I didn't like any of the characters or the life choices they made. I can accept when a story has one or two characters that make dumb decisions or are born to cause calamity, but this book had no good people, they all were dysfunctional in their own ways, vindictive and judgmental (everything that is wrong in our generation today), and WOULD JUST NOT COMMUNICATE with each other even at the ripe age of 50+. It felt as though the author feared fleshing out one full scene where her characters would just sort out their differences and, y'know, BE ADULTS, be it Elle and her mother, Elle and her sister Anna, Jonas and Elle, Peter and Elle, or Elle's mother and her numerous boyfriends. I cannot fathom how people jump from person to person and claim "to be in love" the way these characters did, it started to seem like a joke to me beyond a point. I felt for Elle and the horrifying childhood she had to endure, but after a while, she started to take on the role of a masochist and I was left with my feelings hanging.

A few sentences and word choices also felt odd to me like "weirdo-ness" (what's wrong with weirdness?), and, "Jonas is animal, Peter is mineral. And I need a rock" (??). Just felt a bit pretentious to me.

Anyway, this is my first by the author so I went in without any expectations. I look forward to her future works.
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One of the astounding books that I've read in recent times. The story started off slowly, with the focus being only on building the characters - their lives, their aspirations, their reactions to various situations. The plot twist was smack in the middle of the book and that changed everything. 

Written from the perspective of Elanor (Elle), the story followers her journey of life - her deepest secrets, her sufferings, the love of her life and the dilemma that she faces.
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Firstly, I want to thank Miranda and Netgalley for allowing me to read this ARC for an honest review. This had me hooked from the beginning, I was intrigued from the beginning and honestly couldn't put it down. I am adding this to my wish list so I can have a physical copy once it's been released and plan on reading it again. 

This follows the life of Elle who's in love with a friend from her. It takes you through events leading up to - and past - who this connection for Elle was formed and how she handles her emotions and feelings. 

I gave it 5 stars because I honestly was gripped from the beginning.
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Electricly captivating - perfect read for summer. This was written exquisitely and had me glued to my kindle!
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This is an exquisite novel! I have read it twice since the first time I read it and I plan on reading it many, many times more! The writing is just luxuriously divine, the plot intensely captivating, the characters are full of life and detail and are utterly relatable!. 

'The Paper Palace' is the pinnacle of excellent writing. I loved everything about it. It's so good, it may have just knocked 'Wuthering Heights; off the top spot of my "Books of the Millenium" charts. It is a truly heartfelt novel, pulling at your heartstrings and not letting go until you are emotionally spent.

FIve stars for this brilliant novel. I anticipate more from this author with bated breath. 

Thank you as always to the author, Miranda Cowley Heller, the publishers and Netgalley for this free copy in exchange for my honest review.
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A dramatic start to this novel had me gripped from the start as I wondered how events would unfold. It didn't disappoint. We followed Elle as she battled with her attraction to a friend from the past against her seemingly stable and happy marriage.  It brilliantly illustrates the tensions between partners, teenagers and parents balanced against incidents which happened long ago, but that still have a lasting impact on so many lives. Secrets kept with the best of intentions continue to haunt Elle as the family gather together at their regular summer spot. I am still not sure I understood her final choice. With thanks to Netgalley and the publisher for an advanced reader copy in exchange for an honest review.
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Enthralling novel. The characters along with the storyline develop nicely with lovely prose. Worth a read
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This is a story about love, fate, and the circumstances that govern them both.  I highly enjoyed the book and identified with all the characters.  I highly recommend this one.
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