The Mayor of Maxwell Street The Mayor of Maxwell Street

The Mayor of Maxwell Street

    • 3.8 • 8 Ratings
    • $10.99
    • $10.99

Publisher Description

"A debut novel everyone will be talking about," Avery Cunningham's epic love story is "a triumph" and "a tale of intrigue, racial tension, and class warfare, set against the glamorous and gritty backdrop of early 20th century Chicago."

When a rich Black debutante enlists the help of a low-level speakeasy manager to identify the head of an underground crime syndicate, the two are thrust into the dangerous world of Prohibition-era Chicago.

The year is 1921, and America is burning. A fire of vice and virtue rages on every shore, and Chicago is its beating heart.

Nelly Sawyer is the daughter of the “wealthiest Negro in America,” whose affluence catapulted his family to the heights of Black society. After the unexpected death of her only brother, Nelly becomes the premier debutante overnight. But Nelly has aspirations beyond society influence and marriage. For the past year, she has worked undercover as an investigative journalist, sharing the achievements and tribulations of everyday Black people living in the shadow of Jim Crow. Her latest assignment thrusts her into the den of a dangerous vice lord: the so-called Mayor of Maxwell Street.

Born in rural Alabama to a murdered biracial couple, Jay Shorey knows firsthand what it means to be denied a chance at the American dream. When a tragic turn of fate gave Jay a rare path out, he took it without question. He washed up on Chicago’s storied shores and forged his own way to the top of the city’s underworld, running Chicago's swankiest speakeasy, where the rich and famous rub elbows with gangsters and politicians alike.

When Nelly’s and Jay’s paths cross, she recruits him to help expose the Mayor and bring about lasting change in a corrupt city. But Jay also introduces a whole new world to Nelly, one where her horizons can extend beyond the confines of her ivory tower. Trapped between the monolith of Jim Crow, the inflexible world of the Black upper class, and the violence of Prohibition-era Chicago, Jay and Nelly work together and stoke the flames of a love worth fighting for.

Debut author Avery Cunningham’s stunning novel is at once an epic love story, a riveting historical drama, and a brilliant exploration of Black society and perseverance when the ‘20s first began to roar.

    Fiction & Literature
    January 30
    Hyperion Avenue
    Disney Electronic Content, Inc.

    Customer Reviews

    MaxwellStreet ,

    The Mayor of Maxwell Street

    A spirited, suspenseful, love story of characters who won’t give up on themselves and who they really are. Tragic and beautiful at the same time.

    Ciana C. ,

    Missed the mark!

    This story starts in the south and we meet Jimmy Blue Eyes, a black man born to a white mother and is being raised by his black uncle. Jimmy has been approached and propositioned by Miss Cecilia. But Jimmy rebuffs her advances and must flee the south, because Miss Cecilia has of course altered the story! (Heifer)
    Then we move forward in time to Chicago at the funeral of the “wealthiest Negro in America’s” son in Chicago. His parents the Sawyers are using the funeral as an opportunity to present their dowdy daughter, Penelope (Nelly) Sawyer, to society. (Tacky)
    Nelly’s tour guide through Chicago’s rich and glamorous society, Sequioa McArthur, is the quintessential side kick, reading shady women for flith, and providing the 411 on every eligible bachelor. Nelly’s interest is piqued by who I assume is Jimmy blue eyes who now goes by Jay and is racially passing in certain situations and Tomas a Marquis from Mexico. Outside of the love interests, Nelly is a secret writer submitting articles to the Chicago Defender anonymously. I’m so curious to see where this story is going because it seems unusual and unbelievable. For fans of The Glided Age, the young woman is reminiscent of Peggy, brown skin girl who wants to write, and parents want her to be committed to more advantageous and profitable pursuits. (Feels promising)
    200 pages in and we finally get the story. Apparently the first 12 chapters were context building the background. (Geez…way to belabor the point)
    The story is Nelly wants to be writer and in order to be published she must identify and write an exclusive on the “Mayor of Maxwell Street” and elusive character who has united the Italians, Irish, Jewish and Blacks of the seedy underground world of Chicago.
    Nelly armed with her itchy wig and heavy dress descends on the bazaar in search of the “mayor” that is probably Jimmy blue eyes. And the whole story is over before it even started. (Eye roll)
    The book is well written, and hits all the right notes! The story moves slow but it has great action, intrigue, and suspenseful romance. It has all the right ingredients for a five star read but something is missing! And so many things happen, but then the ending falls flat and the characters and the readers are both unsatisfied. It’s an amazing book in here, but it needed a different editor! I really wanted to love this book, but I cannot! (I’m completely frustrated)

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