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

By Ekta R. Garg

January 27, 2016

Genre: Women’s fiction; historical fiction

Rated: Bookmark it!

When an attractive patient arrives at a hospital, the doctor on call finds herself drawn to him. She also discovers that she and the patient share an unusual connection—one that goes back generations. Doctor and patient realize they may have the chance to fix a mistake, if they can find the courage to follow their hearts. Co-authors Karen White, Beatriz Williams, and Lauren Willig offer readers this storyline in the surprising novel The Forgotten Room.

In 1892, Olive comes to the Pratt mansion to work as a maid and to fulfill a mission: to take revenge on the Pratt family. Her father put his heart and soul into designing the seven-story luxury home for the high society family, but when the bills came due Mr. Henry August Pratt snubbed Olive’s father. He couldn’t bear the humiliation and financial ruin, and Olive knows she must find evidence to prove that the Pratts owe her family a substantial balance on the house plans. But when Olive gets to know one of the young Pratt men, she realizes that revenge may not be as simple as she originally thought.

At the start of the Roaring Twenties in 1920, Lucy finds a way to join the Manhattan law firm of Cromwell, Polk, and Moore as much to assert her independence as to find a way into the office of Philip Schuyler. Schuyler has a connection to the Pratt family, and Lucy thinks she may too. The only way to know for sure is to gain access to Schuyler’s files, but she may have to become more than a secretary if she wants to learn the truth about her identity.

The novel begins, however, in 1944 with Dr. Kate Schuyler who works in a hospital in New York City. Lately the number of patients has increased dramatically. For military personnel coming back from the war in Europe in desperate need of medical attention, Dr. Schuyler’s hospital is one of the first stopping points. The hospital is at capacity, but there’s no sign of a decrease in the flow of the badly injured.

On a rainy night a medical team brings in Captain Cooper Ravenel, and Kate can see that he’s in critical condition. As she cares for him and gets to know him, she starts to see him as a man as much as a patient. Beyond the physical attraction, Kate comes across information that draws her to Cooper because he seems connected to her past. But Kate is already fighting a battle to gain validation as a female doctor in a field where men dominate. Does she also have the guts to fight society and offer herself to the man she clearly has begun to love?

Co-authors Karen White, Beatriz Williams, and Lauren Willig work together in a novel that will simultaneously charm and intrigue readers. The authors’ seamless style pays great homage to the essence of Jane Austen’s work: smart women protagonists who need a little bit of help from serendipity and plucky secondary characters to bring them to the important stages of their lives. In a wide departure from Ms. Austen’s work, though, main characters Olive, Lucy, and Kate don’t always land where readers will expect or maybe even want—and those delightful discoveries will carry readers all the way to the end.

While the aforementioned serendipity in many books may come across as over constructed, in The Forgotten Room readers will enjoy those moments of Fate. Readers, take note: you can’t make any assumptions about the story. The minute you do, the authors will offer some great surprises and do what good authors always do: convince you to keep reading.

I highly recommend readers Bookmark The Forgotten Room.

(I received a complimentary copy of this book in exchange for an honest, unbiased review.)