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...Read More
"This house, this place, knows all my secrets."
It is a perfect July morning, and Elle, a fifty-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 twenty-four 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.
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.
"Beguiling." - Vogue
"Nail-biting." - Town & Country "This one's filled with secrets, love, lies and a summer beach house. What more could you ask? - Parade"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
"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)
"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
"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