ABOUT THE BOOK
‘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, bestselling author of The Wife and The Female Persuasion
Before anyone else is awake, on a perfect August morning, Elle Bishop heads out for a swim in the glorious freshwater 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 the dinner the previous evening; empty wine glasses, candle wax on the tablecloth, 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 behind the house, as her husband and mother chatted to the guests inside.
So begins a story that unfolds over twenty-four hours and across fifty 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 twenty-four hours, Elle will have to decide between the world 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.
Tender yet devastating, The Paper Palace is a masterful novel that brilliantly illuminates the tensions between desire and safety; the legacy of tragedy, and the crimes and misdemeanours of families.
For years Elle has spent her summers at The Paper Palace, a series of cabins to holiday in, in the backwoods of Cape Cod. The cabins sit on the river bank, where the family have always swum. This year is no exception as she, her husband Peter, three children and her mother have returned. It feels like a second home, with life-long friends still in the area. Jonas is very special to Elle, in so many ways. She is older than him but, from childhood, they were drawn together, always there for each other. Now Jonas has married himself, with a family, but the intense relationship he has with Elle has never waned.
Elle loves Peter and Jonas. Over the next twenty-four hours, she has to decide who she wants to be with. Peter has no idea that the life he knows could come crashing down as time ticks away. There are some rather intimate scenes in the story, with the excitement between Elle and Jonas heightened with the risks that they take within sight of their partners.
The story drops back to their childhoods, the break-up of Elle’s parents’ marriage and the subsequent partners they go on to. It changes her life in so many horrendous ways. There are some hard to read scenes that contain child abuse and rape, so please be aware. Things will happen that make an unbreakable bond between Elle and Jonas, whose own childhood was not the easiest.
I thoroughly enjoyed this book. I like a book that can make me feel so passionate about the characters. There are beautiful descriptions that brought The Paper Palace and people to life. Brilliantly told, not easy to forget.