THE FORGOTTEN ROOM by Karen White

THE FORGOTTEN ROOM

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KIRKUS REVIEW

Three generations of women find themselves on the cusp of love in a collaboration among bestselling authors White (The Sound of Glass, 2015, etc.), Williams (Tiny Little Thing, 2015, etc.), and Willig (The Lure of the Moonflower, 2015, etc.).

Kate Schuyler is one of the only female doctors at Stornaway Hospital in Manhattan during World War II when she meets the seriously wounded Capt. Cooper Ravenel. In the midst of his fever, he calls her by the name Victorine and inexplicably seems to recognize her. When she goes digging through the captain’s personal effects, she's shocked to discover a small portrait that bears a striking resemblance to her. The novel goes on to unspool a half-century of history through a particular place and precious objects in the lives of Kate and two other narrators. Fifty years earlier, Stornaway Hospital was the Pratt family mansion and then, later, a women’s boardinghouse. That small portrait is not of Kate but of her grandmother. Alternating with Kate’s narrative are the first-person stories of Olive Van Alan, set in the 1890s, and Lucy Young, set in the 1920s. Olive is working as a maid for the Pratts in order to find justice for her father, the spurned architect of the Pratt mansion. She's used to keeping secrets, both to accomplish her goal of finding evidence that her father was cheated out of his payment and then later to hide her budding relationship with the Pratts’ son, Harry. Years later, Lucy too is drawn to the Pratts, hoping to learn if she is actually one of them. With all three stories taking place in the same location, the novel is filled with both coincidences and parallels, the past finding ways to repeat itself until it reaches a satisfying conclusion. Even with three authors, the story is seamless, and the transitions between narrators are smooth.

Focusing on both a family and a single location throughout time makes for a compelling and emotionally worthwhile novel.

Pub Date: Jan. 19th, 2016
ISBN: 978-0-451-47462-9
Page count: 384pp
Publisher: New American Library
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15th, 2015




Kirkus Interview
Beatriz Williams
June 23, 2015

In Beatriz Williams’ latest novel Tiny Little Thing, it’s the summer of 1966 and Christina Hardcastle—“Tiny” to her illustrious family—stands on the brink of a breathtaking future. Of the three Schuyler sisters, she’s the one raised to marry a man destined for leadership, and with her elegance and impeccable style, she presents a perfect camera-ready image in the dawning age of television politics. Together she and her husband, Frank, make the ultimate power couple: intelligent, rich, and impossibly attractive. It seems nothing can stop Frank from rising to national office, and he’s got his sights set on a senate seat in November. But as the season gets underway at the family estate on Cape Cod, three unwelcome visitors appear in Tiny’s perfect life. “A fascinating look at wealth, love, ambition, secrets, and what family members will and won’t do to protect each other,” our reviewer writes. View video >

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