A woman learns to expand the boundaries of her small world and let love inside it in this sparkling and unforgettable novel by Audrey Burges.
From her attic in the Arizona mountains, thirty-four-year-old Myra Malone blogs about a dollhouse mansion that captivates thousands of readers worldwide. Myra’s stories have created legions of fans who breathlessly await every blog post, trade photographs of Mansion-modeled rooms, and swap theories about the enigmatic and reclusive author. Myra herself is tethered to the Mansion by mysteries she can’t understand—rooms that appear and disappear overnight, music that plays in its corridors.
Across the country, Alex Rakes, the scion of a custom furniture business, encounters two Mansion fans trying to recreate a room. The pair show him the Minuscule Mansion, and Alex is shocked to recognize a reflection of his own life mirrored back to him in minute scale. The room is his own bedroom, and the Mansion is his family’s home, handed down from the grandmother who disappeared mysteriously when Alex was a child. Searching for answers, Alex begins corresponding with Myra. Together, the two unwind the lonely paths of their twin worlds—big and small—and trace the stories that entwine them, setting the stage for a meeting rooted in loss, but defined by love.
What’s it about (in a nutshell):
The Minuscule Mansion of Myra Malone by Audrey Burges is an enchantingly unique and irresistible story that rises above conventional genre confines and tells a story of love and loss, friendship, resilience, and the enduring power of memories.
Myra Malone lives the life of a recluse, tending to her miniature mansion daily. It’s her world and allows her to avoid all of the bad that exists in the outside world. Her only links to the world outside are her friend Gwen and her wildly popular blog about her miniature house. But this isn’t just any miniature house; it’s a magical house that connects people and memories in some of the most authentic and fantastical ways imaginable.
Actual Reading Experience:
Myra Malone’s story differs from my typical read, but it drew me in before I even opened it to the first page. I could feel that magic of the story as sure as I could feel the coolness of the cover and the texture of the pages. Myra engaged me with the opening line, “Once upon a time, there was a house,” and led me into her story with the promise of the fairy tale. But would it be one with a happy ending, and what would that happy ending look like?
The story has a few different romances, covering three generations of people whose lives included the miniature mansion. My favorite may have been Lou and Trixie, who experienced an instant love that lasted the rest of their lives. There was something so pure and genuine about their feelings, the kind of relationship a young Myra would want to aspire to whether she realized it or not.
Myra and Alex have a long-developing relationship that begins via email after a couple comes to Alex for help recreating a room from Myra’s miniature mansion. The tiny room is precisely like Alex’s actual bedroom and to say that he was gobsmacked is an understatement. Alex’s acceptance of Myra’s disfigurement and fantastical notions is heartwarming and life-affirming. I couldn’t help but wonder if the hand of fate and Willa hadn’t worked to see this come to fruition.
Friendship is a significant theme throughout the story and is seen most prominently in Gwen and Myra. Friends since childhood, Gwen would do anything for Myra and does. She’s the one that makes Myra’s blog a reality, and she’s the one that comes up with a way for Myra to save her childhood home. Gwen provides Myra with a link to the outside world, making everything that happens to Myra possible. She does it simply because she loves Myra as a friend and perhaps as a sister. They are forever linked, and nothing is more vital than that.
The characters are unique and authentic, and I loved each one. I also loved the humor in their exchanges with each other and their genuine regard. They are all very different, but most are also lovable and noteworthy.
Myra Malone is the main character. After a disfiguring accident when she was very young, her mother kept her home for fear of something more happening to her. This reclusive life became the norm for Myra, and when the reader meets her at 34, she is still happily restricted to that house. She does not live in fear, though. I found her reluctantly brave and, in her way, full of life and possibility. She has potential and never loses it.
Narration & Pacing:
The narration is in the third person, and the POV was mostly through Myra, though the earlier timeline is through Willa. This narration gives the story a medium pace that stays consistent throughout.
There are a few different settings that run over three different timelines. Myra’s recent experiences are the main timeline. Still, she takes the reader back through Willa’s life and significant parts of her childhood. The switches between time and place could confuse one in any other book, but not in this one. I had no trouble following along at every juncture. I found Willa’s story particularly interesting due to the magic surrounding her. I’m a sucker for a story with magic, and it always grabs my attention.
Read if you like:
- Magical realism
- Engaging writing that stays with you
- Stories about friendship and love
|‘Couldn’t Put It Down’-ness||10|
|Use of Setting||8|
Thank you to the publisher and NetGalley for a free copy of the book to review.