Saturday, November 28, 2015

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

Disclaimer: I received this book for free from Netgalley. This did not influence my review.

If you like historical romance but are looking for something a little bit different, try The Forgotten Room by Karen White, Beatriz Williams, and Lauren Willig.

There’s a new trend where writers within genres will band together to write a novel, usually as an interconnected set of short stories. I’ve been intrigued by how this works, so I was happy to be approved for this book through Netgalley. In this tri-authored novel, transitions between who wrote what are seamless, even though it comprises three separate but interwoven tales.

Set in three time periods, Kate in 1944, Lucy in 1920, and Olive in 1892, we hear the stories of the love lives of daughter, mother, and grandmother. Strong women all, they become increasingly independent as history permits, and class distinctions wear away (but do not completely disappear.)

The women are all remarkably beautiful and strongly identifiable as related, with daughter and grandmother resembling each other so much that they could be mistaken for one another, a fact that is at the heart of the story.

Each woman loves and is loved by a man with whom she should not be involved for varying reasons. The men are also clearly related to one another in some way, and that mystery drives the overarching plot.

It’s sometimes hard to keep the characters straight because their relationships are so similar–eerily similar–but it became easier for me when I thought of them by time period rather than by name or progression of the individual love stories. Then it fell into place.

The three interwoven tales center around a hidden room at the top of a mansion, a room that holds secrets for each of the women. Following them as they work through misunderstandings and mistakes in order to conclude with the requisite happily-ever-after is a thoroughly enjoyable way to pass the reading hours.