The Paper Palace (Reese’s Book Club): A Novel – Audiobook

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“Filled with secrets, love, lies and a summer beach house. What more could you ask?”—Parade

“A deeply emotional love story…the unraveling of secrets, lies and a very complex love triangle.” —Reese Witherspoon (Reese’s Book Club July ’21 Pick)

“Nail-biting.” —Town & Country

“A magnificent page-turner.” —Cynthia D’Aprix Sweeney, New York Times bestselling author

“[An] irresistible placement of a complicated family in a bewitching place.” —The New York Times

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 all my secrets.”

It is a perfect August 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.

Publisher ‏ : ‎ Riverhead Books; Reprint edition (April 19, 2022)
Language ‏ : ‎ English
Paperback ‏ : ‎ 400 pages
ISBN-10 ‏ : ‎ 059332983X
ISBN-13 ‏ : ‎ 978-0593329832
Item Weight ‏ : ‎ 10.4 ounces
Dimensions ‏ : ‎ 5.1 x 1.04 x 7.98 inches

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The Paper Palace (Reese’s Book Club): A Novel Review

The Paper Palace (Reese’s Book Club): A Novel

About the Book

The Paper Palace is a highly acclaimed novel chosen by Reese Witherspoon for her book club. Written by Miranda Cowley Heller, this gripping and beautifully written story explores themes of love, memory, and the complexities of human relationships.


The Paper Palace takes place over the course of 24 hours at a summer retreat in Cape Cod, Massachusetts. The story follows the main character, Elle Bishop, as she reflects on the pivotal summer of her youth and the choices she made that continue to shape her life.

Elle has always had a special connection with her childhood friend Jonas, who happens to be married to her best friend Rachel. However, during this particular summer, Elle’s relationship with Jonas takes an unexpected turn, leading her to question her marriage to her husband Peter and the life she has built.

As the narrative unfolds, the reader is taken back and forth between the present day and Elle’s memories of that fateful summer. Heller expertly weaves together past and present, slowly revealing the underlying secrets and desires that have molded Elle’s relationships and her very sense of self.


The Paper Palace delves into various themes that resonate with readers and spark contemplation. One of the central themes is the complexity of love and desire. Heller masterfully portrays the intricate emotions that can exist within relationships, showing how deep connections can be both beautiful and destructive.

Memory is another significant theme explored in the book. Elle’s recollections unveil the power and fragility of memory, highlighting how it can shape one’s perception of reality. The exploration of memory also serves as a reminder that our past choices continue to influence our present lives.

The novel also addresses the concept of female empowerment. Elle’s journey throughout the story challenges societal expectations and conventions placed on women, allowing her to reclaim her agency and make choices that align with her own desires rather than conforming to societal norms.


1. Why did Reese Witherspoon choose The Paper Palace for her book club?

Reese Witherspoon, known for her passion for championing women’s stories, selected The Paper Palace for her book club due to its compelling exploration of female experiences and relationships. The novel’s themes and beautifully crafted narrative resonated with Witherspoon, making it an ideal choice for her club.

2. What makes The Paper Palace unique?

The Paper Palace stands out for its lyrical prose, rich character development, and intricate storytelling. Heller’s ability to seamlessly traverse between past and present while keeping the reader engaged is a testament to her writing prowess. The novel also delves into complex and nuanced emotions, painting a realistic portrait of human relationships.

3. How does The Paper Palace explore the complexities of human relationships?

The Paper Palace delves into the intricacies of human relationships by unraveling the hidden dimensions of love, desire, and friendship. The characters’ flawed and tangled connections highlight the complexities and vulnerabilities that exist within relationships. Through Elle’s journey, the novel emphasizes the impact of choices made and the lasting consequences they can have on individuals and their relationships.

4. What are some notable aspects of the novel’s writing style?

Miranda Cowley Heller’s writing style captivates readers with its evocative descriptions and introspective narrative. The author effortlessly paints vivid imagery of the Cape Cod setting, making it come alive in the reader’s mind. Heller’s use of rich metaphors and lyrical language adds depth and beauty to the storytelling, enhancing the overall reading experience.

5. How does The Paper Palace resonate with readers?

The Paper Palace strikes a chord with readers due to its exploration of universal themes such as love, memory, and self-discovery. Many can relate to the complexities and struggles faced by the characters, which evoke empathy and introspection. The novel’s ability to delve into the depths of human emotions and relationships fosters a connection between the reader and the story, leaving a lasting impact.

You will receive a redemption code that you can apply to your Audible account. With each book priced at only $5, you can save a significant amount of money. Click 'Buy it now' to make your purchase.

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