The Paper Palace: A Novel

The Paper Palace: A Novel

by Author Miranda Cowley Heller (Author)

Reese's Book Club Pick“A magnificent page-turner...as intoxicating as a summer night by the sea.” (Cynthia D’Aprix Sweeney, New York Times best-selling author of Good Company)It's been ages since I was so absorbed in a contemporary novel. I loved it. (Nick Hornby, New York Times best-selling author of Just Like You)A soulful debut that plumbs the depths of a midlife Sophie’s Choice. (People)A story of summer, secrets, love, and lies: in the course of a singular day on Cape Cod, one woman must make a life-changing decision that has been brewing for decades.“This house, this place, knows all my secrets.”It is a perfect July morning, and Elle, a 50-year-old happily married mother of three, awakens at “The Paper Palace” - the family summer place which she has visited every summer of her life. But this morning is different: Last night Elle and her oldest friend, Jonas, crept out the back door into the darkness and had sex with each other for the first time, all while their spouses chatted away inside. Now, over the next 24 hours, Elle will have to decide between the life she has made with her genuinely beloved husband, Peter, and the life she always imagined she would have had with her childhood love, Jonas, if a tragic event hadn’t forever changed the course of their lives. As Heller colors in the experiences that have led Elle to this day, we arrive at her ultimate decision with all its complexity. Tender yet devastating, The Paper Palace considers the tensions between desire and dignity, the legacies of abuse, and the crimes and misdemeanors of families.    

The Paper Palace: A Novel by Miranda Cowley Heller is a captivating tale that explores the complexities of family, love, and desire. The story revolves around Elle, a woman torn between her husband, Peter, and her childhood friend, Jonas. As Elle reflects on her past and present, she must confront the secrets that have shaped her life and make a decision that will determine her future.

The novel begins with Elle and her family vacationing at the titular Paper Palace, a summer home that holds significant memories for her. As Elle reminisces about her childhood summers spent at the Paper Palace, she reflects on her complicated relationship with Jonas, a boy who was both her best friend and her first love.

Elle's life takes an unexpected turn when she reunites with Jonas years later. The two rekindle their connection and embark on a passionate affair. However, Elle's newfound happiness is short-lived as she struggles to reconcile her feelings for Jonas with her love for her husband and children.

As Elle grapples with her conflicting desires, she begins to question the choices she has made and the life she has built for herself. She finds herself torn between the security and stability of her marriage and the intense passion she feels for Jonas. The novel delves into the complexities of human relationships, exploring the ways in which love, desire, and loyalty can conflict with one another.

With its rich characters and evocative prose, The Paper Palace is a thought-provoking novel that examines the choices we make and the consequences that follow. Heller skillfully weaves together the past and present, creating a compelling narrative that keeps readers engaged until the very end.


July 06, 2021