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Publisher's Summary

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.    

©2021 Miranda Cowley Heller (P)2021 Penguin Audio

Critic Reviews

"Captivating debut...full of lush atmospheric details. This will keep the reader guessing all the way to the end.” (Publishers Weekly)

“The moody and atmospheric setting of the shadowy paths and ponds of the Back Woods is described in lush detail that makes a sharp contrast to the colder, sharper elements of Elle’s story.... From the first pages of her debut novel, Heller pulls no punches. Some of them just sneak up on you later on.” (Kirkus)

"Tightly woven and immediate, The Paper Palace takes us deep into a vivid summer landscape, a family, and a private, longstanding love story, and holds us there from start to finish." (Meg Wolitzer, New York Times best-selling author of The Interestings and The Female Persuasion)

What listeners say about The Paper Palace

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Dnf

Dnf’d this title due to some unexpected gross content regarding sexual abuse of children. I wish I could figure out how to return it.

16 people found this helpful

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The story has too much child abuse discription

Listed as a best seller; too much child abuse and discription for my taste - sorry I started it.

15 people found this helpful

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Not what I thought

I can not get through the first chapter. The language is not what I expected. I would like a refund.

15 people found this helpful

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Predictable and Boring

I was extremely disappointed by the predictability of this story. It’s the same old tired story of soulmates allowing childhood tragedy to keep them apart, and then regretting that decision when they are older. The main character is so immature, naive and childish that I can’t picture her in my head because she’s supposed to be 50 years old. All I can see is a dumb, arrogant, entitled teenager. She’s selfish, self absorbed and completely un-likable. The story is so full of stereotypical and superficial female tropes that I have a hard time believing the author is really a woman since she doesn’t seem to be able to write about them in any meaningful way. The only good thing I can say about this audio book is that the narrator preforms it beautifully.

13 people found this helpful

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An Astonishingly Novel

A brilliant and beautifully written book of a complicated family, and the traumas and triumphs of one woman. Stunning.

12 people found this helpful

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Gorgeous prose!

But it's like Audre Lorde wrote a poem about cockroaches.

I found myself inside the hearts, minds and souls of superannuated 14-year olds. From generation to generation, this family, with all its extensions, had only one principle: I won't grow up!

Elle, at the brink of menopause, in all her discontent with her privilege, her loving family and secure homes, decides to embark on a new life with her best friend of all time after they screwed once in the yard while everyone else was occupied.

Why? Well, he's the one that knows all of her crimes and misdemeanors because he was present for the worst of them, and because she refuses to confide in anyone else. Because her gem of a husband happened to flash onto what was happening and was a bit impolite to her afterward, so she figured it was over. Because her kids , don't really count.

The writing is like nothing I've read in a long time, but I need more. I need to feel for the characters, and in this novel I just couldn't.

10 people found this helpful

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Crude

I wish I had returned this book. I would not recommend it. The characters are crude & the story is crude. I do not enjoy listening to peoples bathroom habits.

7 people found this helpful

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  • DT
  • 07-13-21

I couldn’t turn it off!

I felt like I was part of this big, dysfunctional family. I absolutely loved it. Nam did a lovely job. Peter was my favorite!

7 people found this helpful

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Nannyd1944@aol.com

filthy did not listen to aii.Aren’t there any decent books to read anymore, had I known this I would not have purchased this book.

6 people found this helpful

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Loved it

Loved it !!! I could not put it down .So happy to have found a new author !!

6 people found this helpful