The Forgotten Room as remembered by three romance novelists.
When three gifted romance writers decide to write a single novel, The Forgotten Room, together, the collaboration is bound to produce a satisfying tale. I’ve read other novels by each of the three—Karen White, Beatriz Williams, and Lauren Willig—and each loves to create intergenerational romances and intrigues. This collaboration is no different.
The Forgotten Room features three young women—Olive from the Gilded Age, Lucy from the Jazz Age, and Kate, a young physician in the midst of World War II. All three live in New York City; all three inappropriately love men remarkably alike.
It soon becomes apparent that their stories are related and that all three stories center somehow on a looming New York City edifice. Elegant and sparkling new in Olive’s time, a time-worn lodging for young women in Lucy’s and a teeming wartime hospital in Kate’s, the Pratt Mansion has a long history that is key to The Forgotten Room. And where might that mysterious room be located? In the Pratt Mansion, of course. And, of course, the room is never forgotten by any of the three principles who glide gracefully through the pages of this charming novel.
Part of the charm comes from unraveling the puzzle of who these three young women might be and exactly how their stories mesh. Their connections to each other—grandmother (a reluctant maid in the Pratt Mansion), mother (a lodger there), daughter (a physician in the overcrowded rooms)—are soon apparent, but the ways their lives mirror each other is the fabric of The Forgotten Room. Who they love, who they marry, who they dream about, who they regret—a reader happily unravels all the threads. It is amazing to me that the three authors kept their stories straight because there are so many overlaps and overlays and intersections. I kept thinking I needed a family tree, but that would have too easily solved the mysteries in this book. Better that the reader follows the clues, backing and filling alongside the authors.
Often multiple authors create chaos, but White, Williams, and Willig manage a seamless narrative tapestry. They reveal very little about their collaboration (except that it involved red wine), but my best guess is that each writer focused on one of the three characters. Despite having read several of their own novels, however, I couldn’t discern who might have been writing about whom. Seamless, utterly seamless. They must have had fun writing The Forgotten Room because White, Williams, and Willig now have published two more collaborative romances. The Glass Ocean traces three women’s lives as they somehow relate to the RMS Lusitania, and All the Ways We Said Goodbye situates three women in Paris’s famous Ritz Hotel. If you are a reader who appreciates smart romances with innovative plotting and heart-warming characters, I suspect you will enjoy these striking collaborations. I know I can’t wait to read more. — Ann Ronald
Also available by Karen White: The Last Night in London, All the Ways We Said Goodbye, The Christmas Spirits on Tradd Street, The Glass Ocean, Dreams of Falling, The Night the Lights Went Out, In the Shadow of the Moon, Whispers of Goodbye. Flight Patterns, The Guests on South Battery, Spinning the Moon, The Sound of Glass, A Long Time Gone, Grand Central: Original Stories of Postwar Love and Reunion, Return to Tradd Street, The Time Between, After the Rain, Sea Change, The Strangers on Montagu Street, The Beach Trees, On Folly Beach, Falling Home, The Girl on Legare Street, The Lost Hours, The Memory of Water, The House on Tradd Street, Learning to Breathe, Pieces of the Heart, The Color of Light, Blessings of Mossy Creek.
Also available by Beatriz Williams: Her Last Flight, Our Woman in Moscow, All the Ways We Said Goodbye; The Wicked Redhead; The Golden Hour; The Summer Wives; The Wicked City; Cocoa Beach; A Certain Age; The Secret Life of Violet Grant; Along the Infinite Sea; Tiny Little Thing; A Hundred Summers; Overseas, An American in Paris; Fallen Poppies.
Also available by Lauren Willig: Band of Sisters; The Summer Country; The Ways We Said Goodbye; Glass Ocean; The English Wife; The Other Daughter; That Summer; The Ashford Affair; The Pink Carnation Series (12 books); Ivy & Intrigue; The Mischief of the Mistletoe; Two L.
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