Friday, July 6, 2012

Review: Passing Love by Jacqueline E. Luckett

Title: Passing Love
Author: Jacqueline E. Luckett
Year Published: 2012

Genre: Adult fiction
Pages: 297
Rating: 4 out of 5

Challenges:
Geography Connection (my Google Reading map): France and USA (Mississippi)


FTC Disclosure: I received a copy of the book as part of the TLC Tour

Summary (from the inside flap of the book): 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 Nichole has never heard of. What starts as a vacation quickly becomes an investigation into his relationship with this mystery woman.

Moving back and forth in time between sparkling Paris of today and the jazz-fueled city filled with the 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.

Review: This book sat on my TBR shelf for so long, waiting to be read for my review date then all of a sudden I realized it was a few days before and I hadn't started it yet! Panic! And, I really started to worry because it didn't grab me at first. I think that may have been because it is so different from the YA books I've read recently, especially the science fiction one I just finished.

Passing Love is gentle. The writing, the characters, the setting, and the story all flowed slowly and gently as I moved from reading spot to reading spot in my house. If I had more than two days to read this, I think I would have appreciated it more as I would have had time to savor the writing and the characters.

Nicole and Ruby are the two main characters and the chapters are told alternately by them. Ruby's chapters take place in the 1950s, first in Mississippi then in post-war Paris. It is relevant that Ruby is black. She doesn't feel comfortable in Mississippi, leaving at the first opportunity with Arnett, a jazz musician who sweeps her off her feet. In Paris they enjoy living without segregation, an experience I've read about in Hilary Jordan's Mudbound as well. How invigorating it must have been to be able to just live and not worry about racism! Ruby isn't someone that I would want to know, but that is her purpose in the story. She looks out for herself (a fact that is truly relevant to the storyline though I cannot reveal it here without spoiling the plot) and doesn't worry about what other feel, need, or want.

Nicole on the other hand has spent her life doing for others, putting others first, and letting others decide what is best. When she travels to Paris alone for a month, it really is the first time she has done something for herself. Even in her investigation of the found photograph and the woman that is its subject, she forgets to think about what she, Nicole, needs and wants. I wanted Nicole to yell and scream and take chances (which she does a little bit). I wanted her to do something just for her without worrying about other people.

All in all this is a lovely story.

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