BKMT READING GUIDES



 
Difficult,
Adventurous,
Interesting

2 reviews

The Paper Palace: A Novel
by Miranda Heller Cowley

Published: 2021-07-06T00:0
Hardcover : 400 pages
31 members reading this now
103 clubs reading this now
7 members have read this book
Recommended to book clubs by 1 of 2 members
REESE'S BOOK CLUB PICK

INSTANT #1 NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER

THE PAPER PALACE IS:

“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 ...

No other editions available.
Add to Club Selections
Add to Possible Club Selections
Add to My Personal Queue
Jump to

Introduction

REESE'S BOOK CLUB PICK

INSTANT #1 NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER

THE PAPER PALACE IS:

“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.

Editorial Review

No Editorial Review Currently Available

Excerpt

No Excerpt Currently Available

Discussion Questions

1. In The Paper Palace, desire and duty are put to the test when Elle Bishop has to choose between the life she always believed she was meant to have with her oldest friend Jonas, and the life she has with her loving husband Peter. Compare and contrast Elle’s relationship with both. What does she get from each?

2. The novel is set in Cape Cod, a setting the author describes with vivid intimacy. In what ways has this place grounded and shaped the lives of the Bishops?

3. The Paper Palace unfolds over twenty-four hours, and fifty years: one day in Elle’s life, and the moments that lead to this day. What do we gain through multiple timelines that we otherwise would not?

4. In the multigenerational story, we see the reverberations of the choices made by grandparents and parents, and the scars they have left on Elle herself. In what way do those scars reveal themselves, and is it possible to break the cycle?

5. The individuals who find themselves at The Paper Palace are as susceptible to the elements as the house is. Consider adult Elle and Jonas’s intimate beach scene, their dangerous sailing trip, etc. What role do nature and the weather play in the story? How is the outside, natural world used to echo Elle’s interior journey?

6. Secrets are at the heart of the novel: the acts that create them, the decisions to keep them hidden. What is the outcome of keeping secrets and how do we see that play out within the novel? Why do you think Elle keeps the secrets that she does from her family? From Peter? Think of a time when you kept a secret. Was it harmful or helpful?

7. The novel is called The Paper Palace. Why? What parallels exist between the camp and the people who inhabit it?

8. How did you interpret the ending? For you, was the major plot of the novel about Elle choosing between two men, or choosing different versions of herself? Explain.

Notes From the Author to the Bookclub

No notes at this time.

Book Club Recommendations

Member Reviews

Overall rating:
 
 
by Nicole T. (see profile) 12/06/22

 
by Emma H. (see profile) 12/06/22

 
by bridget c. (see profile) 11/18/22

 
by Valerie P. (see profile) 11/03/22

 
by Carol E. (see profile) 09/13/22

 
by Brandi U. (see profile) 08/27/22

We liked it, but how did it end?

 
by Lesley M. (see profile) 08/11/22

 
by Lisa S. (see profile) 07/30/22

 
by Angela B. (see profile) 07/19/22

 
by Lisa C. (see profile) 07/08/22

Rate this book
MEMBER LOGIN
Remember me
BECOME A MEMBER it's free

Now serving over 80,000 book clubs & ready to welcome yours. Join us and get the Top Book Club Picks of 2022 (so far).

SEARCH OUR READING GUIDES Search
Search




FEATURED EVENTS
PAST AUTHOR CHATS
JOIN OUR MAILING LIST

Get free weekly updates on top club picks, book giveaways, author events and more
Please wait...