Saturday, July 13, 2019

The Forgotten Room - Historical Fiction Review

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

Rating: Good
Source:  Library

Description: 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.

Genre: Fiction - Historical

Why I Picked This Book:  I loved the premise of this and have enjoyed books by all three authors so this seemed like a must read.

My Impression:  Three women - all searching for something, all connected to a society mansion, a ruby necklace and a miniature portrait.  I was fascinated by all the links and connections and the stories of each of the women.  Olive, Lucy, and Kate each have their own story to tell and each have their own mysteries that they want to solve.  Of the three I found Lucy's the least compelling though I liked her very much and found one of the answers she found very sweet.  I was most interested in Kate's story and would have liked more about her.  She's tough and very smart and more than a bit lonely.  I liked Olive the least though I found her story fascinating.  She's a little immature and while I can understand her desperation she definitely hasn't much thought much about how she's going to implement her plan.

I was impressed with how well the stories fit together.  With each chapter the POV changed but while each character had a distinct voice at no point did the book feel incoherent or jumbled.  If the front cover didn't state that this was a collaboration of 3 authors I don't think I would have realized it from the seamless execution.

While I enjoyed the stories I wanted a bit more.  A little more character development and a bit more expansion on just how events played out.  I think I wanted the end spelled out for me a little more too.

Would I Read More of this Series/Author?  I'd read books by any of these authors again - especially Beatriz Williams.

Would I Recommend this Book?  If you enjoy historical fiction then I think you'd enjoy this book.


  1. Interesting. I have this on my want to read someday list. The last book I read by the three authors combined seamlessly too. I guess in a book like this, there is possibly not the room for the character development we crave. It's what often frustrates me about books with various timelines. Me I am a big fan of Karen Walker, like B Williams and haven't read enough Willig books to know!

  2. I had read this book; it was good but I wasn't riveted as I had gotten impatient with parts.