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The Paper Palace
The Paper Palace: A Novel | Miranda Cowley Heller
114 posts | 132 read | 6 reading | 74 to read
"This house, this place, knows all my secrets." 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. 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.
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review
Karons1
The Paper Palace: A Novel | Miranda Cowley Heller
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Pickpick

Finished this book 📖 with a final toe dip in the beautifuld 🤩 Aegean Sea 🌊 omg 😳 paper palace bloody loved it ! Will be in my top 5 books 📚 of the year , her writing style does remind me of Ann patchett , it‘s compared to where the crawdads sing but far far better in my opinion I hope 🤞 it‘s made into a 🎥 film…. Who wouldn‘t be in love with Jonas

22 likes1 stack add
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Oryx
The Paper Palace: A Novel | Miranda Cowley Heller
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Pickpick

Great read. Hard to put down. I do love family secrets unravelled slowly. And the location of this one felt so real #readingretreat

@squirrelbrain @trishb @RaeLovesToRead @jenniferw88 @CGainor3 @scripturient @julesG @Mitch @Susanita @rockpools @Leniverse

scripturient I still need to get myself a copy of this one. Thanks for the recommendation. 😊 3d
squirrelbrain I loved this one!❤️ 3d
TheLudicReader My fave book of 2021. 2d
Caroline2 I have this on my kindle, good to know you liked it. 👍 2d
69 likes1 stack add4 comments
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Karons1
The Paper Palace: A Novel | Miranda Cowley Heller
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Our alast day in Greece 🇬🇷 I‘m really enjoying this ! But il be very sad 😢 to leave such a beautiful island 🏝 people and place and the heat & head back to a cold 🥶 wet uk 🇬🇧 with a delusional prime minister who in a week manages to crash 💥the pound kill everyone with a mortgage 💸and have no empathy for people less fortunate than her 😕no wonder 💭 we want to stay in Greece 🇬🇷 it‘ll be a winter of discontent!

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TorieStorieS
Paper Palace | Miranda Cowley Heller
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Pickpick

My book club is gathering later today to discuss this one and I am really looking forward to talking about it! Though the book takes place in 24 hours, it also covers Elle‘s whole life- and a little before that even as it relays her family‘s story of over 50 years. Elle, married with three children, starts the book with an act that had been building for what feels like her whole life- and the flashbacks show this building as she makes her choices.

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Bookglow
The Paper Palace: A Novel | Miranda Cowley Heller
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How can you get a degree in Communications? It's like getting a degree in Walking....or Breathing

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Julsmarshall
The Paper Palace: A Novel | Miranda Cowley Heller
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Great questions @TheSpineView ! read a lot of great books in August, but (1) The Paper Palace was my favorite (2) because I loved the writing and the complex emotional lives of the characters. #Two4Tuesday

TheSpineView Thanks for playing! 1mo
32 likes1 comment
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Evita
The Paper Palace: A Novel | Miranda Cowley Heller
Pickpick

3 out of 5. This book is not for everyone! It had heavy themes but I enjoyed reading it. What was that ending though???!!!

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Kgaudiuso
The Paper Palace: A Novel | Miranda Cowley Heller
Mehso-so

This book made me supremely uncomfortable, but I got through it, and enjoyed the story except for her relationship with her step-brother. Too close to home with a family member.

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Jgacreations
The Paper Palace: A Novel | Miranda Cowley Heller
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Pickpick

This was a good read (audio). It does time jump around a bit so i did have to pay attention to where the narrator was taking me.

25 likes1 stack add
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TheLudicReader
The Paper Palace: A Novel | Miranda Cowley Heller
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Catching up on the #alphabet game.
I talked about The Paper Palace on CBC radio earlier this summer. Listen here: https://www.cbc.ca/listen/live-radio/1-28-information-morning-saint-john/clip/15...
Quiver is a well-written and creepy thriller with links to Elizabeth Bathory.
The Roanoke Girls delivers all the things I love in a book.
#LetterP #LetterQ #LetterR
@Alwaysbeenaloverofbooks

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Lisalucy
The Paper Palace: A Novel | Miranda Cowley Heller
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Pickpick

Not for the faint hearted. This book has turned me to remember life trauma but also to realize it is not our fault . The story of a woman who must choose between her husband or the man she loved since she was a child. One of the best books I‘ve ever read.
#20 read a book with a building on the cover

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mcctrish
The Paper Palace: A Novel | Miranda Cowley Heller
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Pickpick

What a punch this book packs!!! I loved it!!

Jas16 Lovely photo! 2mo
5feet.of.fury 🌅 great pic! 2mo
See All 6 Comments
KarenUK Lovely pic! And totally agree on the book! 2mo
mcctrish @KarenUK I thought a cottage pic was appropriate ( not sure this kind of drama has ever happened at my husband‘s family cottage ) 2mo
Alwaysbeenaloverofbooks Beautiful 😍 2mo
64 likes6 comments
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mcctrish
The Paper Palace: A Novel | Miranda Cowley Heller
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I just finished Book 2 and if I said WTF multiple times leading up to the end of this section, they barely count with the HOLY SHIT I just said out loud in my backyard 😱😱😱

Julsmarshall There are a lot of “what just happened” moments in this book! 2mo
mcctrish @Julsmarshall for real !!!! 2mo
Cathythoughts I‘m looking forward to this one 👍🏻♥️ 2mo
Tamra 😜 well that‘s a sign of an engaging read! 2mo
mcctrish @Tamra no one can say I don‘t get immersed in what I read 🤣🤣🤣 2mo
60 likes2 stack adds5 comments
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Julsmarshall
The Paper Palace: A Novel | Miranda Cowley Heller
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Pickpick

This book was immersive, thoughtful, and bittersweet. A woman‘s journey recovering from a generationally dysfunctional upbringing and finding her way to a forever love. Sad and honest, the writing was lovely and the sense of place exceptional. I will definitely read more from Heller. Great on #audio #bookspinbingo #TBR @TheAromaofBooks

mcctrish I‘m just about to start this 2mo
julieclair Great review. 👍 2mo
TheAromaofBooks Woohoo!! 2mo
59 likes1 stack add3 comments
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perfectlywinged
The Paper Palace: A Novel | Miranda Cowley Heller
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Already in love with the Cape Cod setting and many pond swims that are happening. It‘s lovely and nostalgic.

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Mitch
The Paper Palace: A Novel | Miranda Cowley Heller
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Mehso-so

This wasn't what I was expecting - the cover would suggest a lighter, summery type read - of vacations, families and messy choices. And it is about that - but its darker and deeper and I wasn't ready for that. What I loved was her detailed creation of time and spaces. It was a really visual book - where both the natural watery world of ponds, lakes and oceans could be smelt and felt - as well as the interiors perfectly pitched in time and place.

Cathythoughts Great review. I have this one and am looking forward to getting to it 👍🏻♥️ 2mo
rachaich Yes, I felt the story wasn't great and didn't like the characters much. 2mo
66 likes1 stack add2 comments
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Mitch
The Paper Palace: A Novel | Miranda Cowley Heller
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It‘s been too hot to read this week and I‘m way behind on Bookclub book ( meeting on Monday !)- but @Chrissyreadit superwoman comes to the rescue with a wearable fan WITH lights! How brilliant is that! ❤️

RaeLovesToRead Oh wow!! That is awesome! 2mo
squirrelbrain Amazing! ❤️ 2mo
Soubhiville You may have begun a new fashion- needing wearable fans in TX right now! 2mo
See All 14 Comments
Avanders 🤯🤯 2mo
AmyG Hahaha! Perfect. 🙌🏻❤️❄️ 2mo
DLQBOOKNERD That's awesome 2mo
Cupcake12 Love this x 2mo
LiteraryinLawrence Genius!! 2mo
Chrissyreadit 😘from 🥵to🥶 hopefully 😁 2mo
Chrissyreadit @Soubhiville my friend in California loves his neck fan and highly recommended it. I think he uses it at work too. 2mo
SamAnne That is wonderful. 2mo
Gissy Love it! 😍👌Great photo too! 🤗 2mo
Tera66 Looking cool 😎 2mo
CoverToCoverGirl Loooove it! 2mo
97 likes14 comments
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Mitch
The Paper Palace: A Novel | Miranda Cowley Heller
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We‘re both taking sanctuary in the north facing Snug as the temperatures outside soar. I bucked up the courage to join the village IRL Bookclub - so need to actually read the book and have some thoughts!

Leftcoastzen 🔥🐶stay hydrated 3mo
SamAnne Thinking of all of you in the U.K. 3mo
Maria514626 Hang in there. 🥵 3mo
See All 9 Comments
CBee I‘ve been thinking about you - seeing the heat wave news 🙁 Please take care of yourself ♥️ love to you! 3mo
UwannaPublishme Aww! Great photo! Keep cool! 🐶❤️ 3mo
squirrelbrain Henry says hi! He likes frozen carrots when it‘s like this. I enjoyed the book, and it‘s a good one for a book club discussion. 3mo
Mitch @squirrelbrain Woodford isn‘t so keen! He does love some doggie ice cream though! 3mo
iread2much Your room looks lovely and your reading partner is adorable 3mo
Magpiegem Hope you are staying cool! It‘s pretty toasty here in Brighton but I think we got off pretty easy compared to London today! Xx 3mo
86 likes9 comments
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melissajayne
The Paper Palace: A Novel | Miranda Cowley Heller
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Pickpick

4.5⭐️ It took me about half of the book to really get into the book, but once I got past that halfway point, I really got into it. I liked how the author built up to what happened and the fallout from what happened. I also liked the time jumping in the book and how efficient it was used. Content warnings for rape, sexual assault, pedophilia #2022 #bookreview #bookstagram #fiction #contemporaryfiction #reesesbookclub

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melissajayne
The Paper Palace: A Novel | Miranda Cowley Heller
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Things come from nowhere. #firstlinefridays

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KarenUK
The Paper Palace: A Novel | Miranda Cowley Heller
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Pickpick

#unpopularopinion time(at least here on Litsy!) I loved this. The writing is gorgeous and evocative, capturing the summer in the backwoods, creating an atmosphere of sultry heat and the rotting camp perfectly. As family secrets and past trauma are slowly revealed, the urgency of intense emotions play out in the present day over 24hrs. Questionable decisions are made, complex emotions and flawed behavior are abundant. And I couldn‘t stop reading.

KarenUK CW for rape, incest and infidelity. 3mo
TheLudicReader I also loved it. My favourite book last year. 3mo
KarenUK @TheLudicReader Yay! I was questioning how much I loved it! 😌 3mo
47 likes3 comments
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Abailliekaras
The Paper Palace: A Novel | Miranda Cowley Heller
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Pickpick

I enjoyed this compulsive novel. It‘s full of rich white people behaving badly & the narrator is unlikeable but it‘s well written and a great book club book. There are characters you can love to hate and readers will have strong opinions about the choices Elle makes and her 2 ‘loves‘. The writing feels like a film or tv with a strong sense of place & scene and shows the author‘s screenwriting experience. A privileged, snarky tone but a fun read.

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melissajayne
The Paper Palace: A Novel | Miranda Cowley Heller
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TheAromaofBooks Woohoo!!! 4mo
15 likes1 comment
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rachaich
The Paper Palace: A Novel | Miranda Cowley Heller
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Pickpick

Gosh, whilst I liked the writing much of the time, the characters had little to like about them, so self absorbed and egocentric. I guess that was the intention.
I found the switching of time frustrating at first but settled into it when I read larger chunks.
Still uncertain what to make of the ending...

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aliasNayNay
The Paper Palace: A Novel | Miranda Cowley Heller
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Panpan

Every character is very dislikable, they are all selfish, all made very stupid choices, they are mean to the point of being hurtful. The storyline is one that has been written many times, so there was nothing special there, it was so overwritten to the point of boredom. It was full of abuse, rape, child molestation, infidelity, and more. The way these adults treated their children was sick.

Cinfhen I bailed pretty early on!! Every adult was so despicable, I couldn‘t stomach another minute 😖 5mo
5 likes1 comment
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rachaich
The Paper Palace: A Novel | Miranda Cowley Heller
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I'm trying to get started on this book. I think I need to sit for a longer period to really appreciate it as the sections are short and I'm forgetting events and characters.

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BookNAround
The Paper Palace: A Novel | Miranda Cowley Heller
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Furiously trying to finish this one so I can send it home with my daughter when she leaves tomorrow!

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melissajayne
The Paper Palace: A Novel | Miranda Cowley Heller
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My #bookspinbingo list for May

TheAromaofBooks Woohoo!!! 5mo
17 likes1 comment
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peacegypsy
The Paper Palace: A Novel | Miranda Cowley Heller
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Mehso-so

I almost DNF this book numerous times, but at 50%, I forged ahead. Reese‘s picks haven‘t been as reliable for me lately. There are some significant triggers in here, and the ending is unresolved. It might just be me, so I always hesitate to not recommend a book, but I do hesitate a little on this one. I struggle with criticizing books, because I wholeheartedly believe every book has something to offer that you didn‘t have before. It is here, too.

TheLudicReader This book seems to really divide people. It was my favourite read last year. Go figure. 😀 5mo
41 likes1 comment
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peacegypsy
The Paper Palace: A Novel | Miranda Cowley Heller
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Back to a Reese recommendation. 😊

27 likes2 stack adds
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jlhammar
The Paper Palace: A Novel | Miranda Cowley Heller
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Panpan

Yuck. Sadly, that is the first word that comes to mind when I think of this book. I found the many graphic sex scenes and infidelity storyline stomach turning. Not my cup of tea. Also, numerous instances of characters peeing/needing to pee. Seemed like a strange choice I could have done without. The ending is intentionally ambiguous—who does Elle pick? I couldn‘t care less.

My seventh read from the #womensprize longlist.

paperwitchs OOF. Thanks for the warning, that‘s totally a TW for me and I wouldn‘t picked it up for the title and over alone 🥲 6mo
LitStephanie Yes, thanks for the warning! 6mo
DivineDiana Thank you for your review. I no longer have any desire to read this one. 5mo
jlhammar @DivineDiana I probably should have known within the first few pages, when a dragonfly (or some other insect) lands on a character's nipple or when she is wondering if the turtles can smell sex on her when she is swimming, that it wouldn't be for me. If it hadn't been on the Women's Prize longlist I probably would have called it quits early on. Pretty cover though. 5mo
Abailliekaras Yes far too much needing to pee!! 😂 4mo
58 likes5 comments
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Cinfhen
Paper Palace | Miranda Cowley Heller
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Despite the gorgeous cover, I can‘t go on with this book. When 4/5 every adults are cruel monsters & I find there‘s nothing “enjoyable” on the pages, I feel good calling it quits. Nope, NOT FOR ME 👎🏼 #DNF #BAIL #NoRegrets need to find a new audio ….

Megabooks Good choice! I should‘ve bailed too. This was definitely a disappointment. 6mo
Cinfhen I was reading because it‘s on the #WomensPrizeLongList @Megabooks but it‘s not worth torturing myself 6mo
Clwojick 😂😂 I didn‘t realize the reviews for this one were so bad! The only reason I‘m reading it is since it on the Reese Book Club list, and I decided to read the backlist. 6mo
Cinfhen It‘s a real hit or miss on Litsy @Clwojick 😬I‘m obviously in the MISS category/ lmk if you pick it up!! 6mo
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Cinfhen
Paper Palace | Miranda Cowley Heller
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My library hold came in today so I‘m going with #MixedReviewsOnLitsy to link my last read with this one #ThingsInCommon @Clwojick 😊

Clwojick Ooooh! Good call! I have that one on hold right now. 6mo
Megabooks Loved Booth hated PP and have definitely heard of others feeling opposite! 👍🏻👍🏻 6mo
Cinfhen I‘ve only started listening to PP @Megabooks but both the mom & daughter are very unlikeable. I have a feeling my thoughts on this book might jive with yours!! I‘ll be curious to hear what you think @Clwojick when u get to PP 6mo
66 likes3 comments
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KatieB
The Paper Palace: A Novel | Miranda Cowley Heller
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Pickpick

I think this book has been getting mixed reviews and the Reese‘s Book Club endorsement is usually a bad sign for me but I really enjoyed this. I loved the setting, felt invested in the characters, and looked forward to picking up the book when I wasn‘t reading it. ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ #bookspin #womensprize

Cathythoughts Nice review! I‘m looking forward to reading this one 👍❤️ 6mo
17 likes1 stack add1 comment
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Sharpeipup
Paper Palace | Miranda Cowley Heller
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My plan is to sit here and drink this entire pot as I really need the caffeine. #mondaymorning

SRWCF Solid plan! 🤜🤛 6mo
tpixie Lady of the Manor! Love the mug ☕️ 💖 6mo
Gissy Love that mug😍 6mo
37 likes1 stack add3 comments
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ClairesReads
The Paper Palace: A Novel | Miranda Cowley Heller
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Pickpick

The Paper Palace is a great mix of some fairly conventional intergenerational domestic drama, an exploration of the impact of trauma on relationships in our lives, and the significance of place to human experience. It should be noted that there are a handful of fairly confronting scenes depicting abuse and trauma which were a bit unexpected for me. It‘s not a literary masterpiece but it‘s a compelling weekend read which I really enjoyed.

CoverToCoverGirl Lovely photo 😻 6mo
44 likes2 comments
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Cathythoughts
The Paper Palace: A Novel | Miranda Cowley Heller
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Thanks so much Trish. Love the books ! Perfect 👌👌🥰😘
@TrishB

squirrelbrain These will be perfect for you Cathy! ❤️ 6mo
Cathythoughts @Squirrelbrain I think they both look great 👍 (edited) 6mo
erzascarletbookgasm The books synopsis sound good! 😍 6mo
TrishB Have a fab day Cathy 😘🥂🥂 6mo
LeahBergen That Sherwood King looks like my kind of read! I must investigate. 😊 6mo
50 likes5 comments
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ajmayorquin
The Paper Palace: A Novel | Miranda Cowley Heller
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8 likes1 stack add
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rmaclean4
The Paper Palace: A Novel | Miranda Cowley Heller
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Mehso-so

3 🌟. A very readable book. Straightforward story of a highly dysfunctional family. Content warning for sexual abuse. I did not like how the abuse was written about. Mixed feelings on this book. Feels like it will be a Netflix series in the future.

AvidReader25 I‘m glad you included this warning. I was reading it and had to stop because of the abuse. 6mo
rmaclean4 @AvidReader25 i did not think it was handled well. 6mo
28 likes2 comments
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jlhammar
The Paper Palace: A Novel | Miranda Cowley Heller
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I felt like I deserved a reward for making my dreaded and much delayed Target trip. Was very happy to find that they had two titles from the Women‘s Prize longlist.

squirrelbrain Both great books..enjoy! 7mo
ChaoticMissAdventures I orded both of these from Target too! So easy to grab along with toilet paper 😂 7mo
jlhammar @ChaoticMissAdventures That is too funny! I wasn't planning to get these two yet, but it just seemed meant to be. 7mo
jlhammar @squirrelbrain Thanks, so glad to hear that! 7mo
53 likes1 stack add4 comments
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JulieAly
The Paper Palace: A Novel | Miranda Cowley Heller
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Panpan

I did not enjoy this.

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JennyM
The Paper Palace: A Novel | Miranda Cowley Heller
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After a busy morning of U10s cricket 🏏 I‘m gettin comfy on the sofa to start my latest - and much anticipated, longest library hold ever!!! - read.

squirrelbrain I really liked this one, but I know it has mixed reviews…. 8mo
Cathythoughts This sounds good. I stacked this one recently 👍 8mo
JennyM @squirrelbrain @Cathythoughts I‘m really enjoying it 👍 8mo
Cinfhen Hi Jenny!!! I just started this book and saw your post/ did you end up liking the book?? Hope all is well ♥️ 6mo
53 likes1 stack add4 comments
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nichollinlove
The Paper Palace: A Novel | Miranda Cowley Heller
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Pickpick

As a childhood SA survivor, I think this book highlights how traumatic childhood events can effect generations. Elle comes from a line of women unknowingly continuing a cycle. I can appreciate that the story also reveals that we all have awful shit that we have to endure and rise above. Some traumas take more healing than others. TWs abound but an honest and sobering look into one version of reality for many SA survivors.

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Bren912 As a fellow survivor—did it trigger anything For you? 8mo
nichollinlove I knew the scenes existed before I read the book and I think it helped me be ready for it. I also don't think they were anymore graphic than the nature of the explanation of what's happened. I can appreciate that from the author, just the facts, not a lot of dwelling or detail over the actions themselves. One sets the trajectory for much of the story and the other is a necessary example for the show of generational trauma. There are only 2 events. 8mo
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