The Minuscule Mansion of Myra Malone
1/24/2023 by Berkley
Review by Angela
I had no idea what to expect when I requested this book for review. All I knew was that the blurb sounded intriguing and maybe a bit weird, and I liked the cover. But if anyone can tell by my reading choices last year, I’m all in on weird, intriguing PNR/Fantasy reads.
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.
This book started out slow for me. The first few chapters are all in Myra’s POV, as she inherits the mansion as a small child, quickly moving to her in the present day as she realizes that the cabin she’s lived in her whole life may be taken away from her and her mother due to nonpayment. Myra doesn’t leave her house at all, spending most of her life in the attic where the mansion resides. The Minuscule Mansion is her whole life, but she needs money to keep her cabin, so her BFF suggests that she hold a contest on her blog to raise the funds.
When Alex is introduced the story starts to pick up. Especially when he realizes that his family house, the one he currently lives in, is a replica of this minuscule mansion of Myra’s across the country. What does this mean? How can this be? He enters the contest with the intention of reaching out to Myra and finding out.
From there, another POV is introduced, and this was my favorite part of this book. As the Lady who owns these mansions, both big and small, tells the story of her life and how that story intertwines with both Myra and Alex I was transfixed. This was the good stuff. The story flowed well, with Myra and Alex in present-day connecting on a fundamental level and communicating through emails and texts. Then back in time to the Lady’s life through the years. This kind of storytelling is my favorite, so it was easy for me to keep up, and keep turning pages as the story unfolded.
The Minuscule Mansion of Myra Malone is a mystical and enchanting tale of love, loss, heartbreak, and finding a connection. There are some heavy themes, but there are also lighter moments. While I was conscious that this was mainly a story about Alex and Myra getting to know each other in weird circumstances and ultimately falling in love, it felt bigger and deeper, the background of the Lady and what she means to both of the main protagonists really added a layer of depth to the story that I loved. This book kind of defies genre boundaries, I wouldn’t be surprised to see readers categorize it into multiple genres.
Ultimately I found this book quite charming, and really enjoyed the climax and resolution. Alex and Myra’s HEA fit them and the story and was satisfying. I look forward to this debut author’s sophomore effort.
Final grade- B
Content notes- agoraphobia, death of a loved one off-page, anxiety, parental neglect, hoarding
This definitely sounds intriguing, Angela. Thanks for sharing your thoughts!