“Jim Crow don’t live in New York!” That’s what did it, the magic words Cheryl Wilson’s best friend, Bettie, said to convince her to leave her family and a good teaching job behind. Determined to snag secretarial jobs at a new publishing company and open the door to a world of opportunities closed to them back home, the two young women board a train bound for the Big Apple. They soon discover, however, that career prospects for most Negroes were as limited in 1951 New York as in the segregated south. Then things take a turn when Cheryl is offered a position with real advancement potential—but only if she can keep the truth about her background a secret. As she learns to manage the constant anxiety that comes with living a lie, things get even more complicated when she falls for a passionate young editor with a hair-trigger temper. Will she succeed at living a double life? Or will she lose everything in the process?
Bowie author Courtney Duke Foster’s new novel Passing Notes examines the experience of two young Black women newly-arrived in 1950s New York. Journalist and author Wanda S. Lloyd writes of the book, “Courtney Duke Foster’s Passing Notes kept me up all night — turning pages, captivated to see what would happen in each new chapter. This tender love story enlightens and entertains. It reminds us of the era of racial and gender separation, yet shows the fortitude and brilliance of people who were not expected to be so. The ending will surprise you.”
Courtney Duke Foster is a lawyer/mom by day, turned fiction writer/mom by night, and day, and all the time. Bitten by the writer bug a few years ago, she has written dozens of poems and short stories. Two of her short stories have been published in the Bay to Ocean Journal, and she published her debut novel, Passing Notes, in 2022.
A graduate of Spelman College and Duke University School of Law, Courtney grew up in Maryland, where she lives with her two awesome daughters and an extremely snuggly cat. In her spare time, she enjoys writing stories, of course, but also watching movies and attending musicals and comedy shows. She loves the art of storytelling in all forms.