The Picture BookBook - 2000
The Picture Book is a gracefully written story of a daughter's search for love and identity, and the stubborn nature of forgiveness. In this poignant debut novel, Susannah Keating uncovers a complex web of family secrets to reach the comforting conclusion that mothers, fathers, and daughters are profoundly and permanently connected no matter what befalls them.
Fresh from school, Patrizia Orman, twenty-two, works as a gallery assistant in SoHo and is dreaming of success in the art world, when her mother, Lizzie, is killed in an automobile accident. Patrizia returns home for the funeral and her emotional shock is compounded when her godmother, Sarah, presents her with a cache of letters from her father -- a man she has never known, and of whom her mother has rarely spoken. Her godmother reveals that Masimilliano Caracci had been her mother's great love, a charismatic art dealer she met when she studied in Rome. Sadly, their passionate love affair had disintegrated when Lizzie discovered she was with child, and Masi demanded that she choose between their relationship or the unborn child, whom he vowed to neither acknowledge nor support.
Hurt and confused by the revelations but longing to know the truth, Patrizia travels to Rome to find her father and weaves her way into his life while pretending she is merely Anna, another American art student. In Italy, Patrizia feels revitalized and indulges her artistic passion as well as her deepening interest in a young Italian named Andrea. As she experiences the treasures, tastes, and sounds of the ancient city, she dreams of living there indefinitely -- much like her mother did at the same age. But her unresolved relationship with her father threatens her happiness when Patrizia begins to fear that like her father before him, Andrea might also abandon her.
Tender and heartfelt, Susannah Keating's vivid sensory descriptions and psychological honesty mark her as a touching storyteller and an astute observer of human nature. The Picture Book will have readers carefully examining their own lives and the choices they have made.