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Mayor of Maxwell Street

Mayor of Maxwell Street

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For fans of the Vanishing Half, for its riveting, emotional story against a brilliant exploration of the Black experience in American history

Debut author Avery Cunningham's epic love story explores the American Dream between the monolith of Jim Crow, the inflexible world of the original Black upper class, and the violence of 1920s Chicago

The year is 1921, and America is burning

A fire of vice and virtue rages on every shore with Chicago at its beating heart

Twenty-year-old Nelly Sawyer is the daughter of the alleged "wealthiest Negro in America," a Kentucky horse breeder whose wealth and prestige catapults his family to the heights of the exclusive, elite Black society

After the unexpected death of her brother--the family's presumed heir--Nelly goes from being virtually unknown to a premier debutante overnight

But Nelly has aspirations beyond society influence and marriage

For the past year, she has worked undercover as an investigative journalist for the Chicago Defender, sharing the achievements and tribulations of everyday Black people living in the shadow of Jim Crow

Now, her latest assignment thrusts her into the den of a dangerous vice lord: the so-called Mayor of Maxwell Street

Charming and mysterious, Jay Shorey strives to balance his connection to the Chicago underworld with his desperate yearning for the refinement and protection of high society

Born to a murdered bi-racial couple in rural Alabama, he 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 never looked back, until now

When Nelly's and Jay's paths cross, she recruits him to help expose the Mayor and bring about a lasting change in a corrupted city

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

And yet, as with all things in America, there is a price to be paid

What risk is Nelly willing to take for a young man willing to risk it all? 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.

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