Passing Love is all that jazz, love & lies

*A big thank you goes to Hachette Books for sending me Passing Love via the Ontario Blog Squad‘s blogger meet-up. Passing Love by Jacqueline E. Luckett is available today!

Passing Love is a romance from start to finish. Nicole Handy leaves her home in California and against everyone’s wishes, goes to Paris for a month. What she finds there is more than the magnificent architecture in Paris, she finds her own story. But what she ultimately finds out is that history is indeed something to leave in the past.

The best part of Passing Love is when Nicole traces her aunt’s history in Paris, dating all the way back to the post-War jazz scene. The setting is rich, luxurious and scuzzy at the same time. And without the morality policing and discrimination faced by blacks in the Southern U.S., it’s no wonder that so many African-American musicians gathered in Paris during this time. Nicole’s aunt, RubyMae, is glamourous, precocious and well, she makes poor decisions. But she’s also everything that Nicole is not.

Photo credit: Martin Soler (

I had a problem with the pace of Passing Love. I wasn’t hooked until about 40 pages in. I fear many readers will give up on the book before it gets really good – and it does get very good. Nicole also runs into a lot of the same people over and over again in random places all over Paris. It’s too much of a coincidence for a city as large of Paris! If I were Nicole, I’d be asking all these random French men why they were stalking me.

Each chapter also starts with vocabulary list from Nicole’s French dictionary. I initially found the lists awkward and reminded me of my elementary school French textbooks. But as the story progresses, I started to see more meaning behind those vocabulary lists.

But Passing Love does a great job of describing the passion behind love – the kind that defies all sense of logic and reason. For some, it’s for a man or a woman but for RubyMae and Nicole that love is for Paris. Luckett tells a convincing doomed love story between people but ultimately makes us all fall in love with a city.

Related Penguins: Gopnik’s Paris to the Moon – a beautiful snapshot, The Sweet Sweeper reminds us how far we’ve come – or have we?

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