The year is 1965 and Chicago is teeming with the tensions of the day-from social unrest and segregation, to sexual experimentation and free love-all set to smooth sounds of the city’s vibrant jazz scene.
Naomi Hill, a singer at the Blue Angel jazz club, forever poised on the brink of stardom, has just achieved her big break, a feature on the cover of Look magazine. But that feature has come at enormous personal cost. A beautiful and magnetic creature, Naomi is fiercely ambitious but also extremely self-destructive. For those around her, both men and women, her charms are irresistible.
Sophia, Naomi’s precociously awkward ten-year-old daughter, views her mother as the center of the universe, the point around which their world and the people in it revolve. As an only child of a single mother, Sophia has seen an awful lot in her short time. She is unsettled not only by her home life, but also the larger anxieties of the day and fears that the world could end at any moment. So she compulsively keeps a list of practical objects she will need to reinvent should nuclear catastrophe strike.
Told from the alternating perspectives of Sophia and Naomi, their story unfolds in layers, revealing Sophia’s struggle for her mother’s love in the present alongside Naomi’s desperate journey to stardom and the colorful cast of characters who shaped her along the way. An incredibly sophisticated and poignant debut, LAST NIGHT AT THE BLUE ANGEL is an unforgettable mother-daughter tale about what happens when our passion for the life we want is at sharp odds with the life we have. It is a story ripe with surprising twists and revelations, and an ending that is bound to break your heart.