Book Reviews The Paper Palace, Last Summer at the Golden Hotel & If the Shoe Fits

The Paper Palace by Miranda Cowley Heller

Goodreads blurb: It is a perfect July morning, and Elle, a fifty-year-old happily married mother of three, awakens at “The Paper Palace”–the family summer place which she has visited every summer of her life. But this morning is different: last night Elle and her oldest friend Jonas crept out the back door into the darkness and had sex with each other for the first time, all while their spouses chatted away inside. Now, over the next twenty-four 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 her childhood love, Jonas, if a tragic event hadn’t forever changed the course of their lives. As Heller colors in the experiences that have led Elle to this day, we arrive at her ultimate decision with all its complexity. Tender yet devastating, The Paper Palace considers the tensions between desire and dignity, the legacies of abuse, and the crimes and misdemeanors of families.

My take: 3.75 out of 5. This was a hard one to figure out. On the one hand it is a great story, very much in the timeline like Malibu rising, where it happens during the course of one day and 40years looking back. I really enjoy this as it is more interesting than just a linear narrative, you get much more of the initial interactions. I really enjoyed the characters and the story. IT is however a hard book to read for multiple reasons. There is a lot of sexual violence and abuse that is very terrible handled by all involved. Its actually a bit disturbing to read. Also there are a lot of moral dilemmas that are not clear cut and make for interesting but heavy reading. What got me is the ending. I really don’t know if I got the ending. I had to go to chat rooms to discuss this (anyone read it and want to discuss, feel free to message me). It is so ambiguous that although it is literary very clever, after investing so many hours of my life I think i needed a bit more straightforward closure. So its a mix bag, excellent in some things, problematic in others. I do recommend it, jsut be aware that there are a lot of triggers.

Last summer at the Golden Hotel by Elyssa Friedland

Goodreads blurb: A family reunion for the ages when two clans convene for the summer at their beloved getaway in the Catskills–perfect for fans of Dirty Dancing and The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel–from the acclaimed author of The Floating Feldmans. In its heyday, The Golden Hotel was the crown jewel of the hotter-than-hot Catskills vacation scene. For more than sixty years, the Goldman and Weingold families – best friends and business partners – have presided over this glamorous resort which served as a second home for well-heeled guests and celebrities. But the Catskills are not what they used to be – and neither is the relationship between the Goldmans and the Weingolds. As the facilities and management begin to fall apart, a tempting offer to sell forces the two families together again to make a heart-wrenching decision. Can they save their beloved Golden or is it too late? Long-buried secrets emerge, new dramas and financial scandal erupt, and everyone from the traditional grandparents to the millennial grandchildren wants a say in the hotel’s future. Business and pleasure clash in this fast-paced, hilarious, nostalgia-filled story, where the hotel owners rediscover the magic of a bygone era of nonstop fun even as they grapple with what may be their last resort.

My take: 3.75 out of 5. I really enjoyed this book. A predictable everything goes wrong when you get family together situation, but i enjoyed the characters and became quite invested in the store of the Golden Hotel. Also as a Dirty Dancing mega fan, I really enjoyed the Catskills and the hotel being another main character of the story. There are many characters and probably as many narrator changes, but i feel like you do get to know them and its easy to track. A great summer read, and quite relatable. If you read the book and want to discuss further let me know, we are organizing something with the author.

If the Shoe fits by Julie Murphy

Goodreads blurb: After having just graduated with a degree in shoe design, and trying to get her feet on the ground, Cindy is working for her stepmother, who happens to be the executive producer of America’s favorite reality show, Before Midnight. When a spot on the show needs filling ASAP, Cindy volunteers, hoping it might help jump-start her fashion career, or at least give her something to do while her peers land jobs in the world of high fashion.
Turns out being the only plus size woman on a reality dating competition makes a splash, and soon Cindy becomes a body positivity icon for women everywhere. What she doesn’t expect? That she may just find inspiration-and love-in the process. Ultimately, Cindy learns that if the shoe doesn’t fit, maybe it’s time to design your own
( This in an ARC book review, thanks to a gift from the publisher.)

My take: 4 out of 5. This was an adorable novel. I mean you had me at a mixture of modern cinderella, plus size heroin and Bachelor style show. But the actual telling of it is good, and I got quite invested in the characters. Cinderella being plus size was amazing, but it wasn’t preachy, it was just a natural occurrence which I really enjoyed. Also i dug the fact that the stepmother and the stepsiblings were cool, it was a fresh take that made it more relatable. A cute, very fast read (i read it on a quick flight), that i could easily see adapted as a made for TV movie.

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