The Forgotten Room
Berkley Books, 9780451474629, 384pp.
Publication Date: January 19, 2016
About the Author
Conversation Starters from ReadingGroupChoices.com
The Forgotten Room has three different stories and three different main characters woven together into one big story, all taking place at the same mansion. Did you like or empathize more with one particular story line or protagonist?
The Forgotten Room is deliberately written as a puzzle—each chapter and character adds another piece to solving the puzzle. At what point did you figure out the truth of what really happened in each story? When did you start to realize the connections between Olive, Lucy, and Kate?
Social class differences are explored in all three story lines. For the characters, do you think that the differences in social class are more important or less so than the differences caused by wealth and education?
Even though none of the women is an artist, art is one of the important elements that links all three stories and the characters. What kind of role does art play in your life?
As the protagonist who sets everything in motion, Olive’s decision to leave Harry and marry Hans has repercussions for several characters in the generations that follow. Do you think Olive made a mistake in leaving or that she should have trusted Harry? What choice would you have made?
The history of the Pratt mansion has been fictionalized but is based on a real mansion on the Upper East Side of Manhattan. Have you ever visited a house with the kind of history the Pratt mansion has or imagined the type of people who lived and worked in such a place?
The title refers to the attic room, which has a secret compartment built into the fireplace. Do you have a special place in your home where you keep or hide items?
The complicated relationship between mothers and daughters is a major aspect of the novel, with three generations of women who felt loved but estranged from their mothers. Why do you think that none of them seemed to have been close to her mother? Why do you think neither Olive nor Lucy ever just tell their daughters the truth?