The Paper Palace by Miranda Cowley Heller (400 pages)

Filled with secrets, lies and a summer beach house. What more could you ask?
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The Paper Palace by Miranda Cowley Heller (400 pages)

The Paper Palace is a Tender Yet Devastating Look at Family Secrets and Lifelong Friendships

For years, Elle Bishop’s family has had a summer home on Cape Cod called The Paper Palace, a place that she’s visited every summer for as long as she can remember. Only now, she’s created a new memory that is tearing her apart – she’s slept with her childhood best friend while their respective spouses were inside chatting away.  

What happens now that the line has been crossed with the one person who truly knows and secretly loves her? Elle must decide if she will allow this to disrupt her marriage to take a leap with her childhood sweetheart.  Told over 24 hours and over several decades as a child visiting the home, the story intersperses between two storylines, allowing the reader to see different points of view.  

The Paper Palace is about choices we make as well as the choices made for us.  


A Novel that Cracks Open the Human Heart and Exposes the Consequences of the Characters Choices.

This novel grabs you right from the start with its complex relationships and forbidden love. The Paper Palace is a character-driven story about love, family, and the nature of illicit love.  

The bulk of the story explores the complex family and friends dynamic. I was immersed in the characters’ intimate story, often thinking about it when not listening to it.  There are several heavy subjects incorporated into the story that are critical to the plot.  

A cluster of secluded cottages near a pond and forest hold deeply buried secrets about Elle Bishop and her family.   

The Bottom Line: 5/5 stars

The Paper Palace is a stunning debut novel. Miranda Cowley Heller has written a beautifully vivid story about love, secrets and sacrifices spanning 50 years of Elle’s family, from NYC to their Paper Palace on Cape Cod. 

Elle’s present story is interwoven with the past, and we get a glimpse of what she has experienced over a 24-hour period. Who does she truly love – a husband of twenty years or her childhood friend? I’m torn on the ending whether I believe Elle truly made a decision; rather, did she pick both Jonas and Peter’s love whether out in the open or secretly? She also never told her husband the truth about her past. 

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Shannon K. Loar is a small town girl with a passion for reading.  Books have played a significant role in her life since her youth where she’d spend hours in the local library where her grandma served as the librarian. In her free time, you can find Shannon reading or listening to a book, practicing yoga or binging a streaming show.  Her most precious time is spent with her children ages 20, 18 and 15.  Her new favorite fashion trend, athletic leisure.

Favourite book: The Great Gatsby
Favourite Rock Band: Bon Jovi
Favourite Candy: Jolly Ranchers

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