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The Mayor of Maxwell Street    by Avery Cunningham order for
Mayor of Maxwell Street
by Avery Cunningham
Order:  USA  Can
Hyperion, 2024 (2024)
Hardcover, e-Book
* * *   Reviewed by Barbara Lingens

All Nelly'’s rich parents wanted was for her to marry well - meaning into money and status - so that their own hard-won status would be confirmed. But Nelly was not ready to accept that, and since she was both intelligent and extremely strong willed, we get a whale of a story.

Everyone who was anyone among the Black elite was gathered in 1921 Chicago for the Cotillion and Debutante Ball, activities that would get the children married and expand the adults' wealth, status and influence. But for Nelly this was going to be the ideal time to realize her goal of becoming more than just a socialite. Her charming ways and true adventurousness take us on an often deadly spree through the highest and lowest classes of the city just so she can find the elusive Mayor of Maxwell Street. Her scrapes lead her to fall more than once, and murder is never far away from her, but she is always able to pick herself up again.

Nelly and her suitors Tomás and Jay, as well as her parents and friend Sequoia are beautifully portrayed. Not everything is believable, but the story does not falter. This is not only a very enjoyable read but also a way to learn about the constant consideration Blacks had to give to their lives in the light of continuing white prejudice.

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