The Paper Palace by Miranda Cowley Heller was recommended to me by a friend as a well-written love triangle that I would enjoy, so I read it on holiday by the pool in April, absolutely captivated by the setting and characters.
The setting is a family lake house in Cape Cod, named the Paper Palace due to it’s flimsy construction. It is where the protagonist Elle spends her summers, from childhood to the present, with her mother, husband and two children. This is where her present coincides with her past, as memories of her parents’ childhoods, and her own with her sister Anna, come to her as she swims, lays on the beach and prepares get togethers with old friends, all the while watching her own childrens‘ childhoods unfolding.
The centre of the book is the dilemma that Elle faces – should she stay with her loving husband Peter, whom she loves in return and who fits her life so well, or listen to her heart as she is drawn to her childhood sweetheart Jonas. Their deep connection and bond is rooted in a secret that only they share, one that has prevented them from ever being together.
As Elle’s deliberations build towards the end, I was left hiding the coming paragraphs with a bookmark so I couldn’t skip ahead or rush the ending. It was well worth the wait – the right decision and a highly satisfying one.