Susannah McKinley was born in 1951 in Miami Beach, Florida, to Robert and Olivia Branson McKinley. In 1969, she started school at Florida State University, and then took an master's degree in library science, graduating in 1975. She took a job with the Broward County Public Library that year and was still working there four years later, under Elaine Wickham.

One Thursday in November 1979, Elaine came into Susannah's office and told her she needed to go to the library meetings in New York for her because her son was in a little league baseball tournament that upcoming weekend. Elaine chose Susannah to replace her because she was single, and therefore had no family or other responsibilities on that weekend (Elaine makes a point of saying that), and because Susannah had co-written a paper with her (meaning Susannah did all the research and writing, but Elaine edited it and took main credit). The paper was on three breakout children's authors: Maurice Sendak, Roald Dahl, and Mike Berryman. All three wrote stories that similarly featured children who fought against authority.

Since it was too late to change the airline tickets or hotel reservations to her name, Elaine suggested that she travel under Elaine's name. Susannah took the tickets and other documents, got on the plane as Elaine Wickham, and arrived at the hotel in due time. Having friends among the librarians, Susannah had a fair time at the conference but found she had to wear Elaine's name badge and was introduced as Elaine when she gave her paper, although she did laugh and tell them her own name at that point.

Susannah leaves the conference and on the way home meets Jimmy Rivers (meeting in the book). Jimmy and she have a whirlwind courtship. Susannah's parents Robert and Olivia are crazy about him: Robert worked with pilots during World War II and still keeps up with the latest. However, at the wedding rehearsal dinner, Susannah is taken aside by her estranged aunt Louise who tells her bluntly that she doesn't like or trust Jimmy and if she should find out the truth about him, she should come to them. Susannah, deeply offended, decides to avoid her in the future.

After the wedding, Jimmy sets her up in what is essentially a villa, a big house with fake adobe walls, an oleander fence, and a swimming pool. Before and after the wedding, Jimmy reinvents Suzanne, replacing her pantsuits with expensive evening wear, but he is only around a weekend every five or six weeks because unbeknownst to her, he is spending time with his three other wives. He tells Susannah that he is taking extra flights because his first wife Anna Maria Lucia Rivers died of cancer and her ancient mother in Sicily is sick there and he must pay for horrific medical bills.


Created by KKris. Last Modification: Sunday 07 of June, 2020 09:33:38 EDT by KKris.