• The Paper Palace

  • The No.1 New York Times Bestseller and Reese Witherspoon Bookclub Pick
  • By: Miranda Cowley Heller
  • Narrated by: Laurel Lefkow
  • Length: 11 hrs and 36 mins
  • 4.3 out of 5 stars (110 ratings)

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The Paper Palace  By  cover art

The Paper Palace

By: Miranda Cowley Heller
Narrated by: Laurel Lefkow
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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

Average Customer Ratings
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    1 out of 5 stars
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Disappointed

Left me feeling quite deflated. All up in the air, no end. Wanted to know what she chose

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    5 out of 5 stars
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Enjoyed the story.

Enjoyable story and performance, in spite of the abuse, which unfortunately is so often swept under the carpet in so many cases.

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    3 out of 5 stars

Bit depressing

I bought this title because it was a Reese Witherspoon bookclub recommendation, and after how much I loved her recommended: Where the Crawdad Sings, I blindly followed. But this one wasn't my cup of tea, the storyline jumps back and forth through a number of different time periods, which at times was a bit confusing. And I felt some parts where explained in painstaking detail and then others completely swept over. I kept hoping the tone of the book would get a bit happier or lighter as the lead character built a beautiful life for herself, but it didn't. I actually found it all a bit depressing with an unsatisfying end.

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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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    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

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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Profile Image for S. Maguire
  • S. Maguire
  • 08-10-21

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.

50 people found this helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
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  • Anonymous User
  • 02-23-22

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.

38 people found this helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • Tids
  • 07-30-21

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.

10 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Anonymous User
  • 05-21-22

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.

6 people found this helpful

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 09-24-21

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.

5 people found this helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • kathryn1973
  • 09-16-21

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.

5 people found this helpful

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  • Mrs. K. C. Peace
  • 07-11-22

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.

2 people found this helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
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  • Linda Hall
  • 11-23-22

Hmm

I was so looking forward to this as it seemed very popular! I am however a bit disappointed, perhaps I missed the storyline but there seemed no purpose and the ending just sort of fizzled out.

1 person found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Baroness Orczy
  • 07-30-22

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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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Chris
  • 07-26-22

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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  • Kindle Customer
  • 08-07-21

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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    2 out of 5 stars
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  • Anonymous User
  • 03-29-22

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.

4 people found this helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
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  • Christine Campbell
  • 02-03-22

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.

4 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Kirsty
  • 08-05-21

Spellbinding

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

4 people found this helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • R. Caldwell
  • 10-21-21

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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    2 out of 5 stars
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    1 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars
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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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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Anonymous User
  • 04-03-22

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

2 people found this helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
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  • Mary Punzalan
  • 10-18-22

Could be better

Wasn't overall engaging but not terrible either but I could of used my credit for a better story.

1 person found this helpful

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    2 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars
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  • Jane
  • 10-08-22

So shockingly sad

I couldn’t help but think that the author was trying for shock factor with event after harrowing event unfolding from start to end in this novel. It is hard to say I enjoyed it. It had promise but was so tragic it left me feeling melancholy.

1 person found this helpful

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    1 out of 5 stars
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    1 out of 5 stars
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    1 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for GT Melb
  • GT Melb
  • 09-12-22

Exhausting

This was recommended by a close friend who never steers me wrong. WRONG! Drawn out, so many feelings, selfish, indulged people. I found the truth stretched and players unlikeable, all of them. I couldn’t wait until the end, unsatisfactory.

1 person found this helpful