About the Book:
THE MINUSCULE MANSION OF MYRA MALONE by Audrey Burges
Berkley Trade Paperback Original; January 24, 2023; Contemporary Romance; Magical Realism
The story: 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.
Read an Excerpt:
An Unpredictable Place to Start:
ONCE U P ON A T I M E , T HE R E WA S A HOU S E .
Now, before you read any further, stop a moment. Take a deep breath, if you’re into that sort of thing, and think. I want you to visit the place that popped into your head when you read those words, because they opened almost every story I ever heard as a child, and if you’re going to spend some time here with the Minuscule Mansion, those words are as good a place as any to get started. Once upon a time, there was a house.
What kind of a house do you see when you close your eyes? How many rooms are in it, and what’s inside them? If you could live there, where would you sleep, what color would your guest towels be, and how would you take your tea? What music would echo against the walls? Is it coming from a fancy stereo, or an old Victrola?
If you’re a fairy-tale kind of person, maybe you’ve conjured up a stone cottage with a narrow, arched front door—you’d have to duck down so you wouldn’t hit your head on the wooden frame, and if you look carefully, maybe you’ll see a gentle depression at the top of the curved timber where countless visitors have done just that. Maybe that’s why there’s a friendly, tufted ottoman right by the entry, so you can plop right down and rub your noggin for a bit while you look around.
Or maybe fairy tales aren’t your thing. That’s fine. My friend Gwen isn’t a sparkles-and-gingerbread kind of person, either, and the house in her head is a glass beachfront affair, all sleek surfaces and light, like Superman’s Fortress of Solitude with considerably more Prada and pool boys. Also, she has a pet dolphin for some reason? Just go with it. Everyone gets to imagine their own walls, and the wonders they hold, without having to think about how well dolphin poop dry-cleans out of Italian leather. (No, I don’t know why she lets the dolphin on the couch, either, but I’m not here to judge.)
Anyway. Whatever your house is—wherever you’d dream of spending your own once-upon-a-time—it’s yours because you make it that way. You get to pick out the furniture and the artwork, the cans stacked in the cabinets, the knobs you use to open them, because it’s your imagination, and that’s your only limit.
It’s mine, too, except I get to do something else: I get to make mine real.
I suppose some people have that ability, too—endless money and time to make their dreams take shape—but I don’t have that. What I do have is a minuscule house that is also very, very large. A mansion, in fact. The Mansion. (It gets irate when I don’t capitalize.) And the Mansion is a canvas for a very particular kind of art. It’s a gallery of tiny dreams—some my own, some inherited, some generously shared with me by friends and family and people like you. And I get to use those dreams to populate an entire world. I can make a little bathroom with a seafoam claw-foot tub, or a bedroom with itty-bitty roses sprigged on every surface. If I can’t find the right china cabinet for the dining room, I can make what I want to see, because the ones who taught me—my grampa Lou and his wife, Trixie—handed down every bit of their skill in woodworking, painting, sculpting, and sewing, and what they didn’t teach, I’ve taught myself. I know what gemstones look like water and what pen can draw the most convincing chain stitch on a washcloth that’s too small to sew. I can be eclectic or traditional, modern or romantic, and the Mansion absorbs those dreams into its walls.
I wasn’t sure whether, or how, to share them with anyone else. But I’m willing to give it a try.
Excerpted from THE MINUSCULE MANSION OF MYRA MALONE by Audrey Burges, published by Berkley, an imprint of Penguin Publishing Group, a division of Penguin Random House, LLC. Copyright © 2023