The Paper Palace


Before anyone else is awake, 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 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 24 hours and across 50 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.



A breathtaking, unputdownable literary debut about one woman’s impossible choice between her husband and her first love

Elle Bishop, a fifty-something happily married mother of three, wakes at dawn and heads down to the pond for her morning swim. She is staying at her mother’s summer camp, nicknamed “The Paper Palace”, on a fresh-water pond in Cape Cod. As Elle plunges naked into the bracing water, she thinks about what she has done the night before: how, in the middle of her mother’s dinner party, she and her oldest friend Jonas crept out the back door into the darkness and had frantic, breath-taking sex for the first time while their spouses chatted inside.

Over the next 24 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 Jonas, if only they hadn’t had to carry the shame of a tragic event in their childhood, a long-buried act that rises to the surface after fifty years, and threatens to tear everything apart…

Additional information

Weight 0.618 kg
Dimensions 24 × 15.6 × 3.9 cm










Hardback original


813.6 (edition:23)


General – Trade / Code: K


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