Nicole-Marie Handy has loved all things French since she was a child. After the death of her best friend, determined to get out of her rut, she goes to Paris, leaving behind a marriage proposal. While there, Nicole chances upon an old photo of her father-lovingly inscribed, in his hand, to a woman Nicole has never heard of. What starts as a vacation quickly becomes an investigation into his relationship to this mystery woman.
Moving back and forth in time between the sparkling Paris of today and the jazz-fueled city filled with expatriates in the 1950s, Passing Love is the story of two women dealing with lost love, secrets, and betrayal...and how the City of Light may hold all of the answers.
It's midnight in Paris, now and in the mid–20th century, in Luckett's second novel (after Searching for Tina Turner). In this dreamy and lyrical paean to all things French, a restless African-American woman with a French name (Nicole-Marie Roxane, 56), shucks routine and expectations to live out her dream of traveling to Paris. But her exotic getaway turns into a relentless search for a beautiful woman known to Nicole only from an old photo, Ruby Garrett, whose race and connection to her father are both mysterious. In alternating narratives, Nicole uncovers secrets long held by her difficult parents, as the ferociously independent Ruby describes the freewheeling Paris of the early 1950s, where ambitious black musicians found an appreciative audience and colorblind acceptance. Luckett skips surprisingly smoothly across six decades as the narrative unfolds the mystery of Nicole's identity. But the mystery is hardly the point: Luckett weaves a fascinating portrait of women of color who defy family and tradition to follow love and chase success. Ruby's unflinching, unapologetic choices—even her lies about her race—unsettle Nicole. But Ruby is equally puzzled that Nicole would choose the ordinary over adventure. In the end, it's the soulful, headstrong, romantic Ruby whose passion resonates in this story of discovery and acceptance. —Publishers Weekly
"Luckett is a writer to watch and admire."
—ZZ PACKER, author of Drinking Coffee Elsewhere
"Lush, evocative and seductive. Only read Passing Love if you're willing to give yourself over completely to the excitement of the jazz scene of post-WWII Paris, and a woman's determination to find her place in the present-day City of Light." —Lalita Tademy, author of Cane River and Red River
“C'est magnifique! A delicious read, brimming with hope, love, and light.” —Tayari Jones, author of Silver Sparrow
“Passing Love is everything a novel should be: a story as complex, multilayered and rich as a French pastry and just as deceptively simple...until you take a bite. Settle back, get comfy and enjoy the journey Nicole, Malvina and Ruby (and their men) take you on through Post-WWII and contemporary Paris.” —Virginia DeBerry & Donna Grant, authors of Uptown and Tryin' to Sleep in the Bed You Made
“Luckett has written our Paris dreams come true--between two lives and two generations, this story delivers the romance and the heartbreak of all that the City of Lights has to offer. You will escape with this novel and question or embrace your own unlived lives.” —Heidi W. Durrow, author of The Girl Who Fell From the Sky
Lena Harrison Spencer is in her mid-fifties, and the time has come for her to face the hard truths of what it means to have it all and still find oneself unfulfilled. When Lena determines that what she needs is the strength to change directions, Tina Turner becomes the icon from whose story she derives strength, even as everyone else tells her she's crazy for giving up her cashmere cocoon.
"Jacqueline Luckett creates a character with whom so many women will be able to identify. Lena has lost herself in a marriage and yet her passion simmers just beneath the surface of her careful life. Halfway through this emotionally gripping novel, the reader will wish she were the best friend who joins Lena in search of Tina Turner!"—ELLEN SUSSMAN, author of French Lessons
"What happens when a middle-aged woman decides her cashmere cocoon is no longer enough? . . . Luckett provides a first class ticket to the good life, revealing the inner strength and struggle that allows a woman to redefine herself."—Lalita Tademy:Cane River, Red River
"Both eloquent and elegant, . . . "Searching for Tina Turner" charts the course of a swiftly-changing life with straight- forward honesty and gut wrenching precision. Luckett proves that there is infinite drama in the smallest detail, and boundless compassion for a woman reclaiming her life." —Nichelle D. Tramble:The Dying Ground, The Last King
"… a sparkling tale of a woman's rise from emotional pain and obscurity to independence and power." —Deborah Santana: Space Between the Stars: My Journey to an Open Heart
"Ms. Luckett writes with an intimacy that makes you feel as if you are experiencing every nuanced moment right along with Lena, her novel's heroine . . . Searching for Tina Turner is the book we've been waiting for--a deeply moving story, that's also a page-turner. "—Renee Swindle: Please, Please, Please
". . . With her tender heart, cultural sophistication, and sardonic sense of humor, Lena takes us through her journey as a grown-assed-woman in emotional trouble... and shows us one of the most creative ways you can make it to the other side."—Farai Chideya:Kiss the Sky