Paper Palace by Miranda Cowley Heller

Reviewed by Karen Lane, Need a Read
The Paper Palace takes place over the course of one day but it flashes back in chronological order to explain exactly how decisions made on the 1st of August would not have happened if it weren’t for the lifetime leading up to it...

Elle Bishop has spent every summer of her 50 years at her family’s beach retreat in the Back Woods of Cape Cod. Ramshackle and in a constant losing battle with the elements, the Paper Palace, as it is lovingly and ironically named, is a reassuring constant in Elle’s life, which has otherwise been marked by her parents’ divorce, a series of increasingly inappropriate parental mates, horrid stepsiblings, and interactions with a number of unpleasant men and boys.

Jonas, a childhood summer friend of Elle’s, served as another constant during her challenging upbringing. The cause of Elle’s day of reckoning was a sudden, unexpected and passionate encounter with Jonas the night before, just outside the house where her whole family and both spouses were having dinner. Elle’s marriage to a man she truly loves (and the comfortable family life they've made together) is balanced against the secret-filled history and slow-burn relationship she and Jonas share which is why, on the 1st of August, Elle finds herself at a terrifying crossroad. Over the course of twenty-four drawn-out hours, Elle contemplates her life, the decisions she made and her long-held secrets. How will she go forward? Which life will she choose? Moody, steamy and compelling, I couldn’t put it down!

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