The Minuscule Mansion of Myra Malone: Book Review

Some books are meant for certain readers, and I’m convinced The Minuscule Mansion of Myra Malone was meant for readers like you and me. This new magical realism novel was everything I hoped it would be: full of mystery, quirky characters, unexplained events, and a beautiful narrative about belonging and love. It appeals to anyone who enjoys reading light fantasy (think Spells for Forgetting) and/or historical fiction.

This blog is reader-supported. I earn a small commission from affiliate links in this post when you click on the link (at no cost to you). As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases. For more information, visit my legal page.

The Minuscule Mansion of Myra Malone: Synopsis

Myra is a recluse. She’s always been introverted, but after a terrible accident at age five, she drifts further and further inward. Her parents never pushed her to return to school, worried she wasn’t ready to rejoin the world. So, she’s lived most of her life in her attic in a small Arizona mountain town where she prefers the company of her beloved miniature mansion to the company of the outside world.

The mansion was a gift from Trixie, her grandfather’s second wife. Although Trixie was only part of Myra’s young life for a brief time, she was a powerful influence in Myra’s life. Through Trixie’s eyes, Myra learned to look at the world through a creative lens, something Myra used to create a thriving freelance creative writing career. And when Trixie first introduced her to the miniature mansion, she gave her permission to dream of a place where she belonged.

The Minuscule Mansion of Myra Malone: Book Review

Decades later, the mansion is more important to Myra than ever. And though she wants nothing to do with the outside world, she’s allowed a window into her world. Her best friend, Gwen, convinced her to combine her love of creative writing and the mansion to create a blog. An instant hit, the blog becomes a refuge for readers who flock to the site.

Though she shares a lot about her life and her experiences with the mansion, there are some things Myra will never be able to share with her readers. At times, it’s as if the mansion is alive, doing what it wants whenever it wants. Rooms suddenly appear and disappear. Music can sometimes be heard floating from the mansion’s interior. Myra’s seen many mysterious things over the years in the miniature mansion, but she’s never shared these stories with anyone for fear she’d be labeled as crazy.

When Myra learns that her mother’s spending has resulted in the foreclosure of her home, she knows she must do something to save the only home she’s ever known. Gwen convinces Myra to grant her readers more access to the site, to the mansion, and to her. To save her family home, Myra reluctantly agrees. But she’ll soon learn that her reclusive ways are harder to change than she imagined.

other great magical realism reads

When Alex stumbles onto the blog he’s immediately flabbergasted. Myra’s miniature mansion is his home! Every image on the blog is like looking at the home he’s known for years on a miniature scale. Alex has always had a strange connection to the house which sometimes seems to have feelings of its own. The house has always been a strange place, rumored to be inhabited by a witch. His father hates the house, but for some reason he’s never sold it, which Alex is grateful for. He loves the old house which welcomed him with open arms when he recently returned home.

Eager to learn more about the miniature mansion and Myra, Alex joins a competition on the blog to meet Myra. As part of his entry, he writes to Myra explaining that the mansion is a miniature version of his family home. Learning about the life-sized version of the mansion intrigues Myra enough to reach out to Alex. And the more they correspond, the more they realize the two versions of the same house are linked. There must be some magic afoot here.

The Minuscule Mansion of Myra Malone: Musings

I am a sucker for magic, so this book spoke to me from the moment I first read the synopsis. So, you can imagine my excitement when I got a gifted copy in the mail from Berkley Publishing in advance of the publication date. Magical realism is one of my favorite genres, so I was certain that I would love this book. And, boy, was I right!

The Minuscule Mansion of Myra Malone: Book Review

Everything about it felt perfect. The characters are richly drawn amidst a backdrop of textures, textiles, and architecture. The attention to detail in this novel is superb, exactly what you’d expect about a book based on a miniature mansion. And the author’s attention to detail effectively conveys Myra’s personality. She’s so hyperfocused on her inner world that any intrusion feels foreign and undesired. She fights every step of the way to protect the safe space she’s created for herself in the attic. But, in the end, she’s powerless to protect the one thing that matters most.

I’ll admit I wasn’t expecting this book to have a dual timeline, so the first time it flashes back to Willa’s story I was a bit confused. But I soon discovered I was craving more of Willa’s story. It became essential in order for the book to work, with both timelines adding richness to the overall story. I’m still not sure which storyline was my favorite as they were both compelling and drew me in easily.

The theme of belonging is powerful in this book in particular. Willa’s storyline in particular is heartbreaking; no matter how strongly she feels for Ford, his family looks down on her and disapproves of their love. For someone who looking for a family to belong to, Willa only seems to isolate herself further in creating a family with Ford. And when she finally finds a family who opens their heart to her their time is cut short.

In contrast, Myra has always had a loving family, yet she still feels out of place. The accident disfigured her face so badly that she’s certain no one other than her family and her lifelong friend, Gwen, will love her. Her self-isolation is debilitating, bordering on agoraphobia. Her anxiety is palpable and heartbreaking at times, particularly as her relationship with Alex evolves. The reader is left cheering for Myra in hopes that she realizes her fear doesn’t keep her from taking a leap of faith.

Friendship is another theme of the book worth mentioning. The relationships between Ellen and Willa and Gwen and Myra are uplifting, adding a certain joy to the book. Willa is cast out, and shunned by Ford’s family despite her deep love for him. But Ellen is there for her, pushing back when Willa tries to shut her out. And the same dynamic plays out between Myra and Gwen throughout both timelines. Gwen’s exuberance in contrast with Myra’s fearful disposition is a breath of fresh air. Despite their differences, Gwen and Myra find a safe place in each other.

The Minuscule Mansion of Myra Malone: Rating

Read. This. Book. If you enjoy magical realism or simply need an escape from reality, The Minuscule Mansion of Myra Malone is the book for you. I adored everything about this book: the characters, the magic, the themes of friendship and belonging, and, most of all, Myra. She’s complicated and imperfect, which makes her seem more human than you might expect. Rather than judge her for her closed-off thinking and aversion to most things, you cheer for her, urging her gently to take that next step. I did guess the twist early in the book, but I don’t think it’s meant to be a mystery. So rather than get upset at the predictability, I focused on watching the story bloom. And what a show it was!

Before You Go

If you enjoyed this post, then be sure to sign up for my email newsletter where I share updates about the latest reading wrap-ups and blog posts, must-see book deals, and my What This Week series! If email isn’t your thing, head to Bookstagram to follow along for all the bookish fun!

About Carlie

Greetings reader! Welcome to my little bookish corner of the web! I hope you enjoy my reviews and that you'll stick around. Be sure to visit my About Me page to learn more about me and to sign up for email alerts!


  1. Lauren on February 15, 2023 at 11:15 pm

    You have shared a great detailed review. Thank you for sharing your thoughts.

    Lauren – bournemouthgirl

    • Carlie on March 6, 2023 at 3:18 am

      Thanks so much! This book really knocked my socks off. 🙂

Leave a Comment