The Minuscule Mansion of Myra Malone is unique and touching magical realism contemporary fiction with beautiful writing but it turned out okay for me.
The Minuscule Mansion of Myra Malone by Audrey Burges
Publication Date : January 24, 2023
Publisher : Berkley
Read Date : February 8, 2023
Genre : Fiction / Contemporary
Pages : 352
Tea for this book : Minty Iced Tea + Menthol Tea
Disclaimer – Many thanks to Publisher for eARC via NetGalley.
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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.
The Minuscule Mansion of Myra Malone is interesting and touching magical realism about Myra Malone’s Minuscule Mansion (dollhouse) and its connection with Alex Rakes’ actual full-sized Mansion that is exactly the same as Myra’s.
Myra is hermit who writes blog on the Minuscule Mansion she inherited from her step-grandmother sharing the stories of the mansion and memories she had with her grandparents from whom she learned woodworking, painting, sewing, and sculpting. She made the Mansion her life and her life revolved around it, never leaving her house and the attic where she kept the Mansion but when the house is in danger of being auctioned she and her best friend Gwen comes with the idea of a contest that can help to pay off the debpt.
Across the country, Alex Rakes working in his family’s furniture chain hears about The Minuscule Mansion’s blog through a customer. When he sees all the details of the dollhouse is exactly the same as the Mansion he lives in, he is curious to know more about Myra and find out how she has exact duplicate of his house and writes to Myra. Myra is also intrigued but contacting Alex means stepping out of her comfort zone.
Writing is captivating, detailed, and beautiful. I absolutely loved the concept of a story around the magical house that kept its owner safe and timeless for ages making itself and the owner refuge for people who needed it. It made the house more than a setting and it was interesting to read stories of everything it contained, both living and animated objects alike.
It was amazing to read about the Mansion through Myra’s blog but we get to know it more through its owner, the Lady or the Witch who lived many lives with different names and in this story she goes by two names Willa and Trixie. Yes, there was no surprise Willa and Trixie was the same person but what makes it curious is how and why she changed her name and comes to live with Myra’s grandfather, Lou, and that we read through many past timelines, from 1937 to 1983, from Willa’s perspective while Trixie’s story is mostly told by Myra.
I enjoyed reading Myra’s blog and the stories she created around the house, about miniature things she made, how she felt they fit in the house and also things she received from her fans and why she thinks they don’t belong in the house. It was great to read her Q&A on the blog and what Mansion means to her. Her relationship with Trixie was both lovely and poignant. It was really sad to read why she wouldn’t leave the house which was revealed in climax.
I’m a person who loves to stay at home and I can be fine with no other physical contact with the outside world but Myra was on a whole different level. I get her fear of leaving the house and after all this time it’s normal not knowing how to leave but what I didn’t get is how she couldn’t notice what her parents and especially her mother was going through. Myra is the least observant person I read so far. I mean how she couldn’t see her mother has depression, is feeling extremely lonely, and is filling the house with expensive things! Even a blind person can notice the house is filled with boxes! I also didn’t like how she was reacting to the situation. Very late for my liking but I liked her long-awaited conversation and accepted the situation regarding the house. Let’s just say I didn’t warm to her for a long time and in my opinion, her family let her cooped up in the house so long that it didn’t feel right or realistic.
Myra was fortunate for having Gwen in her life. She wasn’t just Myra’s link to the outside world but was an amazing friend and social media manager who helped her a lot with keeping up with her website, coming up with new business ideas that she might be comfortable with, maintaining interaction on her blog, and slowly trying to get her out of the house.
While I liked Myra’s story a little, I loved Willa’s story and all past timelines related to her. It was heart-shattering to read what Willa has gone through in her life, how she lost Ford, how terrible her mother-in-law was, and her only child, Rutherford whom she loved and wished to transfer her magic kept rejecting her and didn’t let her pass that magic to his own son Alex. I hated Rutherford for not seeing Willa’s love, for not accepting what she has to give to him, and always seeing worst in everything related to her. It’s just good that Alex took after his mother.
Like Myra, Willa had Ellen who helped her look after the house, Rutherford, and now Alex. Alex was perfect. I admired him for having patience with his father and coming back to help him after all he did to him. It was great to see him find a connection with Willa’s mansion and with Myra.
I wouldn’t say this was a love story. Willa’s tragic love story? yes, maybe! But Myra and Alex’s love story? No. This is the story of the magical connection with the house, loss, grief, tragedy, dysfunctional family, friendship, resilience, and hope. It was lovely to have a satisfying end to this tragic story.
Why 3 stars-
I didn’t like sloth pace! One word I uttered after finishing the book was, ‘FINALLY’! It took me more than a week to read this. Me not having enough time can be half the case but still the story was too slow and all interesting things happened in last 30% of the book. There are lots of timelines in random order which further slowed the pace.
Yes, I loved writing, some lines and passages are exquisite but the plot was meandering and also predictable. It was no surprise to find a connection between the timelines when it was revealed at 60%. Also, I would have liked to see the solution to Rutherford’s sickness or rather understand it as I still find it hard to digest how he could hate his own mother (from birth).
As I said, I didn’t like Myra as much as I expected in the beginning.
Overall, The Minuscule Mansion of Myra Malone is unique and interesting fiction with magical realism and beautiful writing but I didn’t enjoy it as much as I hoped.
I recommend this if you like,
Touching and emotive story
Complex dysfunctional family
Characters: ★★★ (that’s for Willa and Alex)
Thank you for reading! Let’s chat..,
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