Wednesday, January 13, 2016

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

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 the critically wounded Captain Cooper Ravenal 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 portrait miniature 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 Gilded Age. Olive Van Alen, driven from riches to rags, who hired out as a servant in the very house her father designed, and Jazz Age Lucy Young, who came from Brooklyn to Manhattan in pursuit of the father she had never known.  But are Kate and Cooper ready for the secrets that will be revealed in the Forgotten Room?

The Forgotten Room, set in alternating time periods, is a sumptuous feast of a novel brought to vivid life by three brilliant storytellers.

Hardcover384 pages
Expected publication: January 19th 2016 by NAL
arc via publisher through netgalley 
  *****
I am relatively new to some of these authors.  Karen White is brand new to me, I read Lauren Willig only once previously (The Other Daughter) and Beatriz Williams has turned into a favorite of mine since reading about a couple of the Schuyler sisters (hummm, same name coincidence there?).  Also reading one book by more than one author is also a new experience, seems to be a trend these days.

To be very honest when I requested this book I think I was caught up in all the media hype surrounding it that I really didn't even pay attention to the synopsis.  Sometimes going blind into a book is a good thing and other times not so much.  With The Forgotten Room is was a good thing.

This book grabbed me right from the beginning and didn't let go.  Well, that is once I got over the urge to solve the mystery and figure out the connections within the first three chapters, then I just sat back and enjoyed watching the stories unfold.  Half way through The Forgotten Room it finally dawned on me that this was penned by 3 different authors and I had forgotten that just because of the simple fact that I couldn't tell when one finished and another began, the story just flowed along at a nice pace and with no glaring disjointed scenes.

The Forgotten Room is a story about forbidden love and not being true to yourself.  There are secrets, deception and heartache in the lives of Olive, Lucy and Kate and it wasn't hard to feel their pain and frustrations.  Dual time periods are a favorite of mine, it keeps me on my toes and usually I am trying to figure the connections before revealed by the author(s).   The Forgotten Room had me captivated right from the beginning and keep me guessing with the twists and turns.

I would have loved some authors notes here, not just about the story or time period but about process, how 3 authors penning this. (ie who wrote what? Did each take a character and share them?)

As much as I loved the cover, it is subtle and rather romantic but I didn't really think it matched the story.  I am thinking narrow curved stairway, that ruby pendant or even the wall mural would have done justice here.  Remember just my opinion.

All in all a great read and great way to start my reading for 2016 and thank you to the publishers for the chance to review this one.

2 comments:

  1. This is such a pretty cover! I'm wondering how the book works with three different authors, though.

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  2. I read this about a month ago - it was very good - and will have a review up soon. I agree, it wasn't easy to tell it was written by three different authors. I also found myself wondering how Kate was related to the Schuylers from Williams' other books.

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