This co-authored novel seamlessly alternates the time periods and stories of three women connected by a family secret and a New York City mansion. Kate Schuyler works as a doctor in an old mansion converted to a hospital for World War II soldiers. When a wounded soldier begs the staff to save his infected leg from amputation, Kate volunteers to take the extra work of trying to heal it despite her heavy schedule. As she looks for family contact information in his belongings, she comes upon a wrapped portrait of a young woman. In 1920, Lucy works for a law firm and agrees to have dinner with an out-of-town client in her boss's place, after his high-society fiancée plans a night at the opera. Ignoring her grandmother's warning voice in her head about loose women, Lucy goes to Delmonico's and dines with an art dealer from Charleston whose first words to her are "Your eyes are blue." Although brought up in comfort, Olive Van Alan works as a maid in the Pratt family mansion at the close of 1892 in the hope of finding evidence of the wrong Mr. Pratt perpetuated against her father, the architect of the house. Olive will be drawn to the room at the top of the house and make choices that will haunt a family for over a half-century.
This historical novel has a strong sense of place with the mansion at the heart of the setting. As the opportunities for women in the early 21st century evolve, so does the mansion. But it's the romantic story of love and heartbreak with a puzzling web of relationships to solve that keep the reader turning pages. Fans of Kate Morton may want to try this novel.
Reviewed by ds, 2/17. Other reviews by ds.