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Publisher's Summary

Brought to you by Penguin.

Longlisted for the Women’s Prize 2022

A thrilling summertime listen for fans of Where the Crawdads Sing and Little Fires Everywhere

On a perfect August morning, Elle Bishop heads out for a swim in the pond below 'The Paper Palace'—her family's holiday home in Cape Cod. As she dives beneath the water she relives the passionate encounter she had the night before, against the side of the house that knows all her darkest secrets, while her husband and mother chatted to their guests inside....

So begins a story that unfolds over 24 hours and 50 years, as Elle's shocking betrayal leads her to a life-changing decision—and an ending you won't be able to stop thinking about. 

©2021 Miranda Cowley Heller (P)2021 Penguin Audio

What listeners say about The Paper Palace

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  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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  • Anonymous User
  • 07-08-22

quick summer page turner

am not sure if the characters properly developed. but I enjoyed the production and somewhat troubling content.

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  • Christine Nilsson
  • 12-05-22

Easy listening, entertaining

Did not appreciate the narrator who sounded like a robot.
The story was good - I enjoyed the story but considered returning the book due to the narrator...
Great for summer holiday listen.

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  • S. Maguire
  • 10-08-21

Don’t waste your life

I rarely leave bad reviews but I feel compelled to comment here. Jesus, what a bunch of loathsome individuals. I can’t believe I wasted hours of my life on this shite.

16 people found this helpful

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  • Tids
  • 30-07-21

Great book seriously bad narrator

I have "read" this booked based on Reese Wetherspoon book club. I was not disappointed although the narrator was very robotic and mono toned, which made it a little difficult to follow. I would recommend the book itself not the Audible version.

7 people found this helpful

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  • Anonymous User
  • 23-02-22

Trigger Warning

I found the narration stilted and ended up purchasing the written copy as I really didn’t get on with the manner this audiobook was produced. Unfortunately I didn’t enjoy the story there either! But it was certainly easier to finish than the audiobook.


I also felt it important to add that there are multiple references to (and descriptions of) sexual assault and child abuse which I found very jarring. These should be mentioned in the description as they could prove very upsetting for some people.

6 people found this helpful

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  • Anonymous User
  • 21-05-22

A must listen

I couldn’t get enough of this book, I listen to a book a week and finished this in a couple of days. It was a extremely well written book. The descriptions in the book added to the atmosphere, I could feel, smell and see all the experiences the author was portraying. I loved that it started in the 60s and we traveled through the lifetime of the main character. I will say there are descriptions of abuse and if this is a triggering subject you need to be aware before listening, as it’s very upsetting.
The book as a whole is amazing, real and authentic. I will listen to it again for sure and I rarely do that with books. I would love to find something like it on the future. I cried in parts and related to some of the experiences the main character goes through. You won’t regret this book.

4 people found this helpful

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  • kathryn1973
  • 16-09-21

Read rather than listen

This is a good book that I’m glad I “read” but the narration is terrible. All the speech is delivered in a sing song voice as if that’s how people actually speak to each other. It was so grating.

4 people found this helpful

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 24-09-21

Beautifully written and narrated

A book I didn’t want to get to the end of. Beautiful, measured, atmospheric prose; credible, flawed characters and a story line that draws the reader in and keeps them engrossed as the years unfold. A book about relationships that will stay with you long after the final chapter. Thoroughly recommended.

3 people found this helpful

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  • Baroness Orczy
  • 30-07-22

Brilliant

I loved this book. I was totally engaged. Great characters and really well written. 100% recommend.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Chris
  • 26-07-22

A tough read, but worth it

Perhaps few readers might find this book true to their own family life, but for this reader, it told a story of casual family violence and the web of lies that such violence instigates, which rings all too true. The way Elle refuses to tell and her mother cannot or will not notice what is happening before her, retells what happened in my family. The 70s and 80s are really well captured, with recognisable carelessness in the grown ups and awful carefulness in the children. The plotting is stunningly good, the events unfold as they should, the realisations are always too late. If Elle had told, then …

1 person found this helpful

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  • Marilyn
  • 21-07-22

Loved it!

Beautifully written prose. This has become one of my favourite books. Wonderfully descriptive, I shared every emotion, sight, sound and touch, brought to life so skilfully. I shall return to the golden pond many times.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Mrs. K. C. Peace
  • 11-07-22

A wonderful summer read

I read this because I love books set in Cape Cod as I was fortunate to have holidayed there and immediately fell in love with it’s laid back charm. The writing is stunning, poetical and observant in every detail - the weaving of the story from past to present is pacy and is the building blocks for revealing characters who are flawed, interesting and believable.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Kindle Customer
  • 07-08-21

Loved the story but content warning

I loved the story and the character development. I thought it was great.

I want to flag that there is mention of sexual abuse if that's a trigger for you.

11 people found this helpful

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  • Kirsty
  • 05-08-21

Spellbinding

Loved this book. Kept me engaged from the beginning. Heartbreaking at times. Beautifully read.

4 people found this helpful

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  • Christine Campbell
  • 03-02-22

Dusappointing

After reading good articles I made myself continue though was ready to leave it half way through. I found the stilted speach of the narrator tiresome but mainly the story really didn't deliver. Kept expecting more from it but it didn't develop and the story stayed the same. it could have lead to something profound or had a surprise twist but sadly no.

3 people found this helpful

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  • R. Caldwell
  • 21-10-21

amazing story telling but....

Well written some beautiful characters, it sucked me in at the beginning but overall I found it really depressing.

3 people found this helpful

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  • Anonymous User
  • 04-04-22

A major let down

I had read so many great reviews about this book so was excited to get into it.. But I was really disappointed. The narrator didn’t do much to bring the characters or the story to life, but the story in itself lacked so much. I kept waiting & pushing through hoping for something that never came. Almost gave
up many times when it became repetitive & it was hard to distinguish between people speaking as there was no differentiation.. But continued on.. For what I’m not sure.

2 people found this helpful

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  • Anonymous User
  • 29-03-22

Trauma for misery's sake

After the amazing reviews I was looking forward to this book but I found the use of traumatic events as a way to push the plot along quite disturbing.

The main character faces so many traumas in childhood and adulthood, including graphic sexual assault and this is still secondary to the main love triangle. It felt as though those events were just there to justify the romance and not to actually explore these themes.

It was written well and there were things I liked about it, but I can't get past the blasè use of triggering events.

2 people found this helpful

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  • Anonymous User
  • 03-04-22

A great listen and great story

I really enjoyed this book, the narrator had a great voice to listen to
The story goes back and forth in time but was very easy to follow - and you want to keep listening to hear what the characters will do next …. Although sometimes frustrating when they didn’t quite get to the where you wanted them to go!
Definitely worth listening to

1 person found this helpful

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  • Heather Ogilvie
  • 25-03-22

A story you’ll never want to leave.

A beautifully told story that weaves itself seamlessly across several time zones and generations without missing a beat.

The author’s experience creating and commissioning drama for HBO is notable in the story’s strong visual depth. As a script writer and producer, the book unfolded for me as if I was watching it. The characters and settings are unique and distinctive. Laurel Lefkow keeps us perfectly inside Elle’s head, her joy, hurt, confusion and her deep sense of connection to place while opening up the world around her.

I want to binge watch the series based on The Paper Palace.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Anonymous User
  • 22-08-21

Great read

A bitter sweet story woven with intricate details. Amazing author. Loved this book, full of characters and a reminder that not all families are perfect but it doesn’t make us any less of a person

1 person found this helpful

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  • Anonymous User
  • 10-08-22

Didn’t enjoy

Sorry but I couldn’t stand the main character Also the story is just depressing and doesn’t go anywhere