By Jacqueline E. Luckett
Grand Central Publishing, $14.99, 320 pages
Nicole-Marie Hardy has long dreamed of going to Paris but it is not until she makes a promise to a dying friend that her journey begins. Once there, in a wild coincidence, she comes across a photo of her father inscribed by a woman she does not know. Ruby Garrett is a headstrong girl in 1940s Mississippi who runs off with a jazz musician and ends up in Paris in the 1950s. With these two characters, author Jacqueline Luckett constructs a novel that not only moves between modern day Paris and post-WWII Paris but also twines together the lives of Nicole and Ruby. The found photograph is the first in a series of circumstances that upends Nicole’s life and turns a vacation into a quest for answers.
Luckett covers a lot of ground in Passing Love such as Ruby’s life in the jazz community, both in the South and in Paris, and Nicole’s unsatisfying relationship with a married man. The plot keeps moving but, with so many stories, characters from multiple periods and relationships coming together and moving apart, it is difficult to stay invested in any one character. There’s plenty of content but little substance.
Reviewed by Catherine Gilmore