Wednesday, July 10, 2019

Book Review: The Forgotten Room by Karen White, Beatriz Williams, & Lauren Willig

The Forgotten Room
Author: Karen White, Beatriz Williams & Lauren Willig
Publication: Berkley; Reprint edition (October 25, 2016)

Description: New York Times bestselling authors Karen White, Beatriz Williams, and Lauren Willig present a masterful collaboration—a rich, multigenerational novel of love and loss that spans half a century....

1945: When critically wounded Captain Cooper Ravenel is brought to a private hospital on Manhattan’s Upper East Side, young Dr. Kate Schuyler is drawn into a complex mystery that connects three generations of women in her family to a single extraordinary room in a Gilded Age mansion.

Who is the woman in Captain Ravenel’s miniature portrait who looks so much like Kate? And why is she wearing the ruby pendant handed down to Kate by her mother? In their pursuit of answers, they find themselves drawn into the turbulent stories of Olive Van Alan, driven in the Gilded Age from riches to rags, who hired out as a servant in the very house her father designed, and Lucy Young, who in the Jazz Age came from Brooklyn to Manhattan seeking the father she had never known. But are Kate and Cooper ready for the secrets that will be revealed in the Forgotten Room?

My Thoughts: This is the story of three women and the connections between them.

Olive, in 1892, is the daughter of an architect who committed suicide after his wealthy client failed to pay him for designing his house. Olive goes undercover as a housemaid to find out a way to discredit the man and ends up falling in love with his artist son. But a housemaid and a wealthy man is just a recipe for disaster and her lack of faith in him causes her to marry another man. The heartbroken artist disappears and is never heard from again.

Lucy, in 1920, takes a job in a law firm to find out about her own past and her mother's. She believes that the missing artist was her father. Meanwhile, John Ravenel has come to New York to learn the hidden past of his father, a famous artist. He and Lucy fall in love but he has failed to disclose that he is already married and has a son. She marries another man but still regrets the loss of her "true love."

Kate, in 1944, is a doctor who has a patient named Captain Cooper Ravenel who carries a miniature that looks incredibly like Kate and who is wearing a ruby pendant that matches the one Kate inherited from her mother. The two of them try to solve the mystery of his pendant and her necklace and fall in love. Their love is complicated both by his fiancee and her focus on her career.

I enjoyed this story of three women who all were trying to solve mysteries and who found and lost love along the way. One connecting piece of the story was the Pratt mansion which became Lucy's boarding house for respectable women and Kate's hospital to deal with soldiers with war wounds. Another connection is the ruby pendant and the miniature which all three women have.

This was an interesting exploration of the roles of women and the options they had at various times in the past from Olive who had few choices and Kate who had many. It was also a story about mothers and daughters and fathers and daughters.

Favorite Quote:
"It's the only thing of real value - besides the mink coat - that I inherited from my mother. She never wore it - which is why I'm pretty sure my father hadn't given it to her. But sometimes, I'd catch her trying it on and looking at herself in the mirror. I always assumed it came from her mother, but my grandmother was a baker's wife. I can't see how he could have ever afforded a piece of jewelry from Tiffany's."
I bought this one. You can buy your copy here.

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