Jumping backward and forward in time (between the 60s and 90s) and place (USA, London, France, South America, Asia), the story draws upon a wide variety of historical personages (from Marlene Dietrich to Bill Clinton) to orient the reader in its pseudo-historical backdrop. I say pseudo-historical, because Suzanne admits herself that she played fast and loose with history, taking liberties with events, and drafting a timeline that parallels ours.
Patience is the story of Jocelyn Russet, a 20-something London-born heiress, transplanted to the posh landscape of Virginia. Half the story centres around her erotic affair with another woman, Patience Herrick, a tale of star-crossed lovers playing a game of romance that is too good to be true. The other half of the story centres around family histories and secrets, which may or may not play into the threats being levied against their respective business dealings.
The characterization is strong, and the romance works, despite (or perhaps because of) the high society drama with which they surround themselves. In terms of detail, the historical tidbits are fascinating, as is the geography of the world tour. If I had one issue with the book, it is definitely the dialogue, which often comes across as more soap opera than society drama. It takes a bit of work to follow all of the elements, especially with the leaps backward and forward through time, but if you have patience (no pun intended), it all comes together in the end.