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.