This is the first of what I plan to be many romance novel (and love story) reviews on this blog, because in addition to writing, I love-love-love to read.
Some books don't let you go. The Paper Palace is one of those books. I read most of it in a single day, a similar timeline to the current-day events in the story. Seventy-two (plus-plus) hours after finishing it, I'm still thinking about it. In a good way. It's not a romance; as the internet will tell you,
Spoiler alert 🤐 (click down arrow to read)
there is no unambiguous HEA (happily ever after).
I would call it a love story. Which is fitting, IMO – I fell hard.
From the first lines through the author's acknowledgements, this story had me completely immersed in Elle’s world and life. Not that every scene was easy to read – many weren't, for different reasons – but immersed I was. The kettle ponds of the Cape, the creaking cabin steps, the mossy bank by the spring. The violence and disappointment, the heartbreak and shame, the soul-binding chemistry, the beauty.
And let's not neglect to mention the sexy (if illicit), pitch-perfect scene at the beach tent.
I suspected partway through that The Paper Palace might end with ambiguity, but I do think Elle's decision at the very end of the story was clear. I say "very end" because I believe she made a decision...
while at the barbeque and, afterward, cleaning up the raccoons' mess
...and then at daybreak made a different choice.
I read the ebook version of the book and, although I tend not to read a book twice or listen to audiobooks (I’m too easily distracted), I will listen to this one. I want to hear the words spoken aloud. The writing is sublime—lyrical and evocative.
The Paper Palace reminded me why, and just how much, I love to read. Overall, in a word, stunning. Thank you, Miranda Cowley Heller.
Review note: I purchased this title. All opinions my own.
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