Book Reviews of The Key to Susanna

The Key to Susanna
The Key to Susanna
Author: Hilary Norman
ISBN-13: 9780451186133
ISBN-10: 0451186133
Publication Date: 4/1/1997
Pages: 416
  • Currently 3.8/5 Stars.

3.8 stars, based on 2 ratings
Publisher: Onyx
Book Type: Paperback
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I haven't read this so here's the Publishers Weekly Review:

When the high-fashion photographer known as Hawke tests HIV positive, it comes to light that he neglected to inform his wife, the model Susanna, that he'd enjoyed a premarital homosexual relationship?and that his partner had died of AIDS. But this doozie of a secret isn't the biggest one being kept within Norman's quirky and pedestrian, yet overblown, seventh novel (after Laura). Told mostly through flashbacks, and partly through the journals of Pete Strauss, the psychologist who finds himself in love with Susanna, the story writhes from New York to Cape Cod to Europe, chronicling Susanna's early years in a convent, her upbringing with a foster family and her courtship with Hawke, while detailing her present-day trials of operating a home for AIDS patients. There is way too much going on here, with child molestation, blackmail, rape, kidnapping and religious devotion run amok filling the pages; meanwhile, most readers will guess one of Susanna's biggest secrets long before its revelation. The narrative is of some sociological interest for its depiction of the stigmatization of AIDS victims a mere decade ago, particularly in the fashion industry. It raises important questions as well: Does avowed love mean that all is forgiven? Is there a justifiable gap between public and private rules? But they are obscured by a maudlin approach and by Norman's playing to the gallery.