Verdict: PAPER CASTLES is an engrossing, intricate character study replete with captivating surprises right up until the very last act—an emotional, satisfying journey that should not be missed.
While early 1960s Georgia is rocked by the stirrings of change and tragedy, a socialite’s high profile life collapses when her husband is found murdered in this gripping contemporary romance.
Savannah Palmerton has cultivated an existence that looks as picturesque as one of her paintings. With an attractive lawyer for a husband, two beautiful children, and a sprawling house, she is the epitome of the perfect southern wife and mother. But she is left wanting in other ways—for a love that does not leave her drowning in vice, for the strength to find herself again after years of wear. When her husband is shot to death late one night, Savannah and her family find themselves at the center of publicized scandal. Once long-buried secrets are dragged into the spotlight, Savannah must embark on a journey of self-reflection to save the life she has left.
Author Terri Lee weaves a perfectly paced and tightly plotted story in PAPER CASTLES. The narrative moves along at an attentive stride, yet lingers on the right moments to allow characters their own meaningful discoveries. More than a simple contemporary romance, Lee manages to balance intrigue, historical events, and courtroom drama that feels cinematic.
The prose sparkles with turns of phrase that carry as much personality as the southern characters that inhabit the novel. Lee’s personification of emotions is incredible, and she makes use of this device where it counts: “The word rang out as if it too had been shot from a revolver into the room. It ricocheted off the family portrait hanging over the fireplace and landed with a thud at Savannah’s feet in a pair of pink slippers.”
While there are enough twists to keep the plot going into unexpected and often dark places, PAPER CASTLES is a fascinating character study beneath it all. Savannah is a complicated lead, but exactly the right kind of woman for this novel. She is a pillar of strength who’s not afraid to show vulnerability or admit to her mistakes. Surrounding her is a diverse, complex family, including the charismatic Neenie, who has helped raise Savannah since she was born. The characters feel real, as though they could have existed in such a time and place, their experiences varied and colored by the historical events happening around them.
PAPER CASTLES is an engrossing, intricate character study replete with captivating surprises right up until the very last act—an emotional, satisfying journey that should not be missed.