Arden Reviews: The Forgotten Room by Karen White, Beatriz Williams, & Lauren Willig


img_0975Book: The Forgotten Room

Authors: Karen White, Beatriz Williams, & Lauren Willig

Genre: Fiction, Women’s Literature

Basic 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?

Arden’s Thoughts: How can one house hold so many secrets and heartbreak? The mystery of the family home turned boarding house turned hospital and its residents captivated and stumped me for the majority of the novel. And I’m not easily stumped.

For me, the mystery drove my late night and early morning readings of The Forgotten Room. Told in three parts, no piece of the novel outshone another. With the book being written by three bestselling authors I was surprised, and pleased, by the harmonious tone of each character as she shared her story.

I will tell you I found myself wondering why women can make such rash decisions, especially strong women. We’re so sure that a man will hurt us, or that we will hurt him, that we’ll bail before we see a relationship into fruition. Each woman in this story struggled with letting things be and quite frankly, it brought some major sorrow into each one’s life.

I don’t understand why we celebrate strong women who run. I found myself celebrating, then cringing, when these women ran instead of standing still to see what would happen.

Maybe you’ll read the novel and get a different impression. Maybe I’m in a space where I’m tired of running. It’s time I stood still. As much as I loved this book, I wondered why I did… maybe when you read it you’ll let me know your thoughts?

Is it heroic to run from love even if you think you are considering the other person’s feelings over your own? Or, are you simply running because you don’t want to be seen as weak, vulnerable, real?


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