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  • Published: 19 July 2022
  • ISBN: 9780241990452
  • Imprint: Penguin General UK
  • Format: Paperback
  • Pages: 372
  • RRP: $22.99

The Paper Palace

The No.1 New York Times Bestseller and Reese Witherspoon Bookclub Pick

A magnificent literary debut about the myriad loves that make up a life

Before anyone else is awake, on a perfect August morning, Elle Bishop heads out for a swim in the glorious fresh water pond below 'The Paper Palace' - the gently decaying summer camp in the back woods of Cape Cod where her family has spent every summer for generations. As she passes the house, Elle glances through the screen porch at the uncleared table from a dinner party the previous evening; empty wine glasses, candle wax on the table cloth, echoes of laughter of family and friends. Then she dives beneath the surface of the freezing water to the shocking memory of the sudden passionate encounter she had the night before, up against the wall outside the house, as her husband and mother chatted to the dinner guests inside.

So begins a story that unfolds over 24 hours and across 50 years, as decades of family legacies, love, lies, secrets, and one unspeakable incident in her childhood lead Elle to the precipice of a life-changing decision. Over the next 24 hours, Elle will have to decide between the life she has made with her much-loved husband, Peter, and the life she imagined would be hers with her childhood love, Jonas, if a tragic event hadn't forever changed the course of their lives.

  • Published: 19 July 2022
  • ISBN: 9780241990452
  • Imprint: Penguin General UK
  • Format: Paperback
  • Pages: 372
  • RRP: $22.99

About the author

Miranda Cowley Heller

Miranda Cowley Heller was raised in New York. After graduating from Harvard she became a books editor, before working for a decade as Head of Drama Series at HBO. She divides her time between Los Angeles, London and Cape Cod. The Paper Palace is her first novel.

Praise for The Paper Palace

It's glorious and gorgeous. I was absolutely immersed and gripped and I'm devastated to have finished it

Marian Keyes

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

Absolutely phenomenal novel - dazzling writing and utterly addictive. Read it

Rosamund Lupton

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 Wife 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 The Nest

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

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 Miss Benson's Beetle

A beautifully constructed, wonderfully intelligent and beguiling novel, rich with a multitude of pleasures

William Boyd

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

It's been ages since I was so absorbed in a contemporary novel. I loved it

Nick Hornby

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

Mesmerising . . . A promising debut from a talent to watch

Good Housekeeping

This accomplished family saga is gripping and poetic, capturing the complexity of the human heart

Daily Mirror

A family drama, a forbidden love story, a childhood tragedy, this is a stunning literary debut that will leave you reeling


A deliciously lyrical novel . . . weaving between the dangerous yet excitable now and the years of ungodly traumas passed, this masterful tale of childhood love will wash over you like the refreshing, cold waters of The Paper Palace's nearby lake

BUZZ magazine

[Cowley Heller] brings to fiction an understanding of how to layer storylines, as well as an assured feel for dialogue and visual description . . . a skilful portrait

The Oldie, Book of the Month

The writing is full of rich detail, evoking the New England landscape . . . this is an absorbing family saga packed with intrigue and complicated characters that transports you to Cape Cod. I can't wait for the adaptation

Evening Standard

A family drama, a forbidden love story, a childhood tragedy, The Paper Palace is a stunning literary debut that will eat you up and leave you reeling - you won't want it to end


The Paper Palace paints a vivid picture of family secrets and tensions, against the backdrop of a sun-soaked summer

Take A Break

Miranda Cowley Heller's debut The Paper Palace . . . finds Elle on the point of leaving her near-perfect family life for the visceral thrill of Jonas, green-eyed soul mate of her youthful vacations. With its atmospheric setting and rich backstory, the denouement is set to be an August talking point and a mini-series is already slated.'

Country and Townhouse

A stirring and sensual story

Woman's Weekly

This accomplished family saga is gripping and poetic, capturing the complexity of the human heart

Daily Mirror

A richly detailed family saga that nods to tales by Johns Cheever and Updike . . . this immersive novel makes for a lushly satisfying read

The Times

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The Paper Palace book club notes

A magnificent literary pick for book club.

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