Candice reviews THE MAYOR OF MAXWELL STREET by Avery Cunningham, Hyperion Avenue, 2024, 508 pages.

To put it simply, The Mayor of Maxwell Street was absolutely phenomenal. It was so good, I had to stop and research who this author was. Needless to say, I was pleasantly surprised to learn that Avery Cunningham is a local Memphis author and that this is actually her first published novel. I was originally drawn to this book because it was set during the prohibition era, or as I like to call it, the flapper era. I greatly enjoyed experiencing the plot through the eyes of Penelope Sawyer and her companion Jimmy blue eyes. Although much of the text hones in on their personal life experiences, Cunningham successfully manages to cause the readers to fall in love with all of the characters throughout the story.

I must admit, however, that I slightly disagree with the idea of this being categorized as a romance novel as the actual “romance” develops very late into the plot. Despite that, this book was so much better than I ever imagined. I could really tell that Cunningham tried to make this as realistic as possible to maintain historical accuracy. In sum, this novel was not only entertaining but also very informative about what life was like for wealthy African Americans in the 1920s.