Susan Slade (1961) - Plot Summary Poster



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  • Premarital sex, secrets, and society. At 17, shy Susan Slade is on her way to California after a ten-year stay at a remote Chilean mine where her father was chief engineer. Onboard ship, she's romanced by Conn White, a handsome mountain climber on his way to Alaska. Home in Monterey, Susan longs to hear from Conn. Two locals also take a shine to her - Hoyt Brecker, a horse wrangler who's the son of a criminal, and Wells Corbett, a sweet guy who lives in his high-society parents' shadow. Jump ahead two years, Susan has a desperate secret that her socially-conscious mother won't let her share. Can Susan find happiness - and what is it really that turns a girl into a woman?

  • Having spent the last ten years - over half her so far short life - in the isolated Chilean desert as her father is an engineer with Corbett Mines, seventeen year old American Susan Slade is a naive and innocent young woman, unwise to the ways of the world. This world opens up to her when she and her parents, Roger and Leah Slade, move back to Monterrey, California, both Susan and Leah unaware that the move is because of a heart condition Roger has that can only improve with rest. En route from Valparaíso to San Francisco, a shipboard romance with mountaineer Conn White - which both secretly profess to be love and imminent marriage - results in Susan becoming pregnant. With Conn unable to be in the picture, the Slades decide to go overseas on another mining contract for two years, returning to Monterrey after that with the baby officially being Roger and Leah's. Roger is taking this course of action for Susan's sake at the risk of his own health. The primary question becomes whether Susan can keep to this story and give up the baby as her own, especially as she moves into the phase of adulthood and possible marriage, a husband to who she may feel she has to be totally truthful. Her main two suitors are both associated with Corbett Mines but in different ways. The first is Wells Corbett, the son of the company owner. Wells could provide for Susan, but she does not love him, and is uncertain if he would accept the truth. The second is Hoyt Brecker, the owner of the stables where Susan keeps her horse. Hoyt is a brooding young man, largely because his father, a Corbett accountant, was convicted of embezzlement, a conviction which Hoyt believes was wrong, and which resulted in his father committing suicide. While Susan ends up falling in love with him, she isn't sure if she wants to subject her shame to his life. Additionally, he may not be able to provide for her, he an aspiring writer who wants that to be his main vocation.



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