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The Paper Palace: A Novel Hardcover – July 6, 2021

4.2 out of 5 stars 61,138 ratings

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From the Publisher

Editorial Reviews

Review

Praise for The Paper Palace:

"Beguiling."Vogue, "The Best Books to Read This Summer"

"Nail-biting." Town & Country

“This one’s filled with secrets, love, lies and a summer beach house. What more could you ask?Parade, “Best Beach Reads”

“The gorgeous scenery of Back Woods (a stand-in for Wellfleet, Mass.) provides an atmospheric backdrop to Elle’s ruminations and revelatory flashbacks.”
Los Angeles Times, “10 best books for your summer beach reading”

"Ensconced in her family’s rustic compound on Cape Cod for an annual summer trip, Elle Bishop is at a crossroads, forced to choose between the two great loves of her life. Should she run off with the longtime bestie she’s secretly been in love with since they endured a ghastly childhood trauma together? Or stay with her cherished husband, a dashing Brit who’s the father of her kids?"
People

“Doubly blessed when it comes to descriptive powers, Heller is as good on nature as she is on interiors.”
The New York Times

"An assured debut. A sultry tale of Waspish New England that captures the spirit of Updike and Cheever."
The Times (London)

"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 bestselling author of The Interestings and The Female Persuasion

“The Paper Palace turned out to be the very page-turner I needed. If you want to learn something about love over a long time—how it can hurt, how it can soar— read this book.”Mary Beth Keane, New York Times bestselling author of Ask Again, Yes

“Miranda Cowley Heller has written a magnificent page-turner, a love story that shimmers with desire, intelligence, and humor. Lush and gorgeously written,
The Paper Palace is as intoxicating as a summer night by the sea. I didn’t want it to end.” —Cynthia D’Aprix Sweeney, New York Times bestselling author of Good Company

"It's been ages since I was so absorbed in a contemporary novel. I loved it." Nick Hornby,New York Timesbestselling author of Just Like You

“Set in the physical and psychic landscape of Cape Cod,
The Paper Palace is a fever dream of a novel, luminous with love and shot through with humor and heartbreak. It is a book that explores the indelibility of childhood, what it means to be shaped by place, and all that is unpredictable about the human heart. I couldn’t put it down." —Adrienne Brodeur, author of Wild Game

"A beautifully constructed, wonderfully intelligent and beguiling novel, rich with a multitude of pleasures."
—William Boyd, author of Any Human Heart

"It's glorious and gorgeous. I was absolutely immersed and gripped and I'm devastated to have finished it."
—Marian Keyes, author of Lucy Sullivan Is Getting Married

"In rich and sensuous prose, Cowley Heller, cracks open the human heart and exposes her character's choices: the paths not taken and the devastating consequences. I smelled the old cabins and the backwoods, felt the pond water lapping around my ankles, experienced the love and loss of family. A perceptive and powerful story which will stay with me for a long time."
—Claire Fuller, author of Unsettled Ground

"I can't think of a more brilliant debut than
The Paper Palace. Enticing, assured and multi-layered, it introduces a major new voice in American fiction . . . A marvel."—Cressida Connolly, auhor of The Happiest Days

"Absolutely phenomenal novel - dazzling writing and utterly addictive. Read it."
—Rosamund Lupton, New York Times bestselling author of Sister

"It felt as if I read
The Paper Palace in one go. It was completely immersive, and shocking, and utterly alive. I loved it." —Nina Stibbe, author of Love, Nina

"Beautifully written, richly compelling,
The Paper Palace is as dark and uncompromising as it is tender and lyrical. Here is a love triangle that keeps you turning the pages, a vivid evocation of place, and an exploration of the one of the most unsettling of secrets." —Rachel Joyce, author of The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry

"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

About the Author

Miranda Cowley Heller has worked as senior vice president and head of drama series at HBO, developing and overseeing such shows as The Sopranos, Six Feet Under, The Wire, Deadwood, and Big Love, among others. This is her first novel. She grew up spending summers on Cape Cod, and now lives in California.
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Product details

  • Publisher ‏ : ‎ Riverhead Books; First Edition, 6th printing (July 6, 2021)
  • Language ‏ : ‎ English
  • Hardcover ‏ : ‎ 400 pages
  • ISBN-10 ‏ : ‎ 0593329821
  • ISBN-13 ‏ : ‎ 978-0593329825
  • Item Weight ‏ : ‎ 1.32 pounds
  • Dimensions ‏ : ‎ 6.29 x 1.35 x 9.26 inches
  • Customer Reviews:
    4.2 out of 5 stars 61,138 ratings

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Customer reviews

4.2 out of 5 stars
4.2 out of 5
61,138 global ratings

Top reviews from the United States

Reviewed in the United States 🇺🇸 on January 23, 2023
2 people found this helpful
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Reviewed in the United States 🇺🇸 on August 8, 2021
52 people found this helpful
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Reviewed in the United States 🇺🇸 on June 10, 2022
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5.0 out of 5 stars Loved this book!!
Reviewed in the United States 🇺🇸 on June 10, 2022
4.5 wth stars!!

I absolutely loved this book (other then the end). This was a book with so many lessons and so many hardships. While going through the past you get to enjoy watching characters blossom. With that there was a lot of pain in so many characters lives throughout. It was necessary. I can see why this book was chosen as a book of the month club book there is ALOT to discuss. Shoot I am discussing with myself nonstop.

I think my favorite part is jumping from past to present. I needed that. It was all perfectly placed as well. It gave you background on why you ended up here with these characters. I mean I was in the Paper Palace with all the girls and I grieved with them. It was not all about negative stuff there was a lot of growth and love. It felt like a true story. Like was this someone’s life because I’ll be damned if it didn’t feel like it. And so I give you my second favorite thing is the characters. Omg I love everyone of them and despise many others too. You cheer them on and you cry with them. You second guess everything and wonder what could have been as well. This book was deep for me.

Be aware there is a lot triggers and that comes with people writing all these negative reviews. What I say to that is know your boundaries and what you are comfortable with. There are warnings and people say I can’t handle child sexual trauma and that’s understandable. But it’s a part of a story. It builds this story. The pain, the strength, the hopelessness leads to the growth. I don’t think it was done poorly either this is real to some peoples life and I think it felt like it could have happened to anyone. Sadly it has.

Now my only critique and the reason I could not give this 5 stars is because the damn ending. She left me. She has me mind boggled. And in some case that’s good.
I guess it made me think non-stop about this book, so yea, that’s good. But I need more!! I told my hubby about it because even the next day I am frustrated. He says “is there a part two?” No dang it there is not!!!

Get ready to ride the rollercoaster of emotions with this book. I think it is a fabulous summer read.
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37 people found this helpful
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Reviewed in the United States 🇺🇸 on December 4, 2022
21 people found this helpful
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Reviewed in the United States 🇺🇸 on December 23, 2022
One person found this helpful
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Reviewed in the United States 🇺🇸 on January 25, 2023
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Top reviews from other countries

Fly Me to the Moon
2.0 out of 5 stars Disappointing
Reviewed in the United Kingdom 🇬🇧 on July 25, 2021
116 people found this helpful
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Hannah FB
5.0 out of 5 stars Wow. Just wow.
Reviewed in the United Kingdom 🇬🇧 on July 8, 2021
46 people found this helpful
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karteabooks
5.0 out of 5 stars This book doesn't mince it's words and is very descriptive
Reviewed in the United Kingdom 🇬🇧 on August 22, 2022
32 people found this helpful
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B. Bampton
2.0 out of 5 stars Seedy
Reviewed in the United Kingdom 🇬🇧 on June 8, 2022
36 people found this helpful
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Gemma
3.0 out of 5 stars Average
Reviewed in the United Kingdom 🇬🇧 on August 24, 2021
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Gemma
3.0 out of 5 stars Average
Reviewed in the United Kingdom 🇬🇧 on August 24, 2021
📖: Every summer Elle and her family stay at their cabin in the woods in Cape Cod. After developing a childhood friendship with a boy named Jonas, the strong feelings between the pair never develop romantically. Elle, now in her 50s, enters into a summer fling with her first love, jeopardising her family unit and making her question her marriage.

💭: Initially I thought this book would solely focus on Elle's inner turmoil, the choice between her devoted husband and the man she has loved since she was a child; which didn't appeal to me. The very short snappy sentences irritated me and the constant switching of timelines and numerous characters confused me a little and I found it hard to get into. That was until I got passed the first section and into the secrets of Elle's past. This book is not lighthearted as I first thought. The topics are disturbing, the characters are unlikeable and the ending unclear.
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31 people found this helpful
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