The Miniscule Mansion of Myra Malone
If you know anything about doll collecting or doll house crafting will appreciate The Miniscule Mansion of Myra Malone. But even if you don’t, its lush fantasy climbs will enchant as it weaves its spell over you.
Myra Malone lives an isolated life in the attic of her grandfather’s cabin. Ever since she was a small child, she’s been decorating her grandmother’s dollhouse – she was very close to Trixie, and the way Myra lost her has forever affected her adult life. Now thirty-four, she is an agoraphobe with very few close friends. One of them, Gwen, encourages Myra to share information about her dollhouse online, and Myra soon has a very popular blog. Her fans love her and have built a community around Myra’s posts about the dollhouse as well as the notion of creating dollhouses of their own – and even larger display pieces, even trying to transform their own homes into Myra’s creation. Myra does what she can to feed them content, but she is stuck within the walls of her Arizona mountaintop cabin, fascinated by the dollhouse, which plays music at odd times and whose furniture rearranges itself. Whole rooms can disappear and reappear out of the blue, and new ones can be added while Myra sleeps. But now she’s in dire straits – her childhood home is about to be auctioned off, and she and Gwen team up to use Myra’s fame to raise funds to save it.
Alex Rakes and his family have been building furniture in Virginia for generations now, and when he encounters a group of Myra’s fans looking to buy his custom furniture to replicate the dollhouse in their own homes, he’s shocked to discover that her miniature manse resembles his family’s ancestral mansion. He even sees his childhood bedroom done up in miniature in Myra’s house.
Determined to talk to Myra, Alex bids on one of the auction items and wins a lunch with her. They establish an online correspondence before he flies down to see her, and together, they investigate the mystery of Myra’s dollhouse. But what will they find, and what secrets does it hold?
The book’s mystery holds together, and both Alex and Myra are great central characters. Even the way the characters’ PTSD is written feels good and realistic (Alex has been through a lot, and his family has a complicated history of its own).
But as a fellow working-on-it agoraphobe, I must point out that Myra’s move from being shuttered away for years in her grandfather’s cabin due to a childhood trauma to leaving the cabin entirely to see and be with Alex, feels too abrupt. There needed to be more steps, more uncertainty. But their romance is well-done on the whole.
I loved pushy Gwen and the way the book accurately plays with both internet fame and the things miniaturists go through on a daily basis. I’m deliberately downplaying the fantasy plot and the mystery connected to the house proper, because to explain the magical mechanisms at work will ruin the book. But The Miniscule Mansion of Myra Malone is a fabulous experience that’s well worth having.
Lisa Fernandes is a writer, reviewer and recapper who lives somewhere on the East Coast. Formerly employed by Firefox.org and Next Projection, she also currently contributes to Women Write About Comics. Read her blog at http://thatbouviergirl.blogspot.com/, follow her on Twitter at http://twitter.com/thatbouviergirl or contribute to her Patreon at https://www.patreon.com/MissyvsEvilDead or her Ko-Fi at ko-fi.com/missmelbouvier
|Review Date:||January 29, 2023|
|Book Type:||Women's Fiction|
|Review Tags:||Magical Realism|