It is the early 1960s, and Chicago is a city of uneasy tensions, but it is also home to one of the country’s most vibrant jazz scenes. Naomi Hill, a singer at the Blue Angel club, has been poised on the brink of stardom for nearly ten years. Her big break arrives—the cover of Look magazine. But success has come at enormous personal cost. Naomi is a fiercely ambitious yet extremely self-destructive woman whose charms are irresistible and dangerous for those around her. No one knows this better than Sophia, her clever ten-year-old daughter.
For Sophia, Naomi is the center of her universe. As the only child of a single, unconventional mother, growing up in an adult world, Sophia has seen things beyond her years and her understanding. Her one constant is Jim, the photographer who is her best friend, surrogate father, and protector. But Jim is deeply in love with Naomi—a situation that adds to Sophia’s anxiety.
Told from the alternating perspectives of Sophia and Naomi, their powerful and wrenching story unfolds in layers, revealing Sophia’s struggle for her mother’s love with Naomi’s desperate journey to stardom and the colorful cadre of close friends who shaped her along the way.
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