Overall Grade:⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐
I’ve thought a lot about the reasons I love Louise Bay’s novels. I found her early in my romance reading journey and ate up her book list. I believed that it had to do with her characterizations. She offers your standard tropes with a tiny spin, but her characters are the cream of her books. After reading her newest book, Mr. Mayfair, I found the real reason I will always read her offerings: her reticent heroes.
I think this is her superpower. Yes, her heroines are strong, capable women, even with their troubles like we see with Stella London in this newest story. Yet, it’s the powerful albeit broken heroes that grab my heart, that make me cheer for their journey, that force me to hand my heart over to them by the end. Mr. Mayfair is no different; Beck Wilde is one of bests of Louise Bay’s heroes.
Stella London is a woman whose life has taken a turn: her long-time boyfriend has broken up with her and moved out of their flat, she is working at a job that doesn’t suit her passion, and she’s just received a wedding invitation to the wedding of her former boyfriend and best friend. And she’s feeling a bit shell-shocked. Beck Wilde is a real estate developer who needs a building, a building that represents his past. He has tried to make contact with the owner of the building, but has made no progress. After researching the seller’s life, Beck finds that the seller will be attending a wedding, and he decides to find an in-roads into the wedding. Enter Stella London. The wedding is her ex’s wedding. Beck offers her a deal that she cannot turn down because it offers her a change for her future, moving her closer to her passion of interior design while helping her heal her hurts. The only issue is they will need to act as a couple. Through the course of their journey, these two start to fall for each other, but their pasts inform their present so deeply that their future is threatened. Will Beck and Stella put their pasts truly behind them so they can find their happy ending, or will they succumb to living forever in the past?
There is so much lovely about Mr. Mayfair. I could discuss the overall message of this book: don’t let your past define your future. Both Stella and Beck carry the hurts that others have inflicted on them.. It causes them to doubt themselves and each other. In doing so, the story becomes angsty and introspective on the need to “just let go.” It’s a powerful message that connects with so many who read Bay’s books. But that isn’t what I loved best about Mr. Mayfair.
I could talk about Stella London. To be honest, she is one of the most powerful, women with a strong sense of integrity that I’ve read recently. She shows her power in her willingness to go to her ex’s wedding. I don’t know that I could under any circumstance. Yet, Bay crafts her to withstand. It’s partly her journey that builds the emotion of this romance. She offers so much of herself to her ex-boyfriend and ex-best friend that she misses losing her sense of self. When she finally “sees” them and their true natures, Stella’s power and strength grow exponentially. She’s a constructed reminder that personal boundaries are necessary. They don’t need to set up walls, instead they are intended to protect one’s passion and self-worth. For anyone who has felt like a doormat, Stella London is a profound role-model. But that wasn’t my favorite part of the book.
I could mention the sexual chemistry between Stella and Beck. These two are soulmates, but Bay does something interesting. She doesn’t rush them into “electric touches” or “waves of lust” running through themselves at a single touch. Instead, Bay constructs a friendship between the two. They are comfortable before they are $exual. This is important because their first experience together is ”scorch the page” hot. Beck is a master between the sheets, and he’s a giver. Their eventual coupling is better because Bay, like her hero Beck, builds to it through the guise of friendship and companionship. But that isn’t the best.
Instead, for me, Beck Wilde is the best part of this story because he is the reticent hero I noted above. Most of us love a heroic journey. It’s sometimes the best part of romance. Yes, the hero who is the best friend or who loves the heroine from the start of the story is lovely, BUT it can be a little staid and boring too. Beck Wilde isn’t this guy. To be honest, he’s self-centered. Even when he’s taking care of a woman in bed, he is still putting his agenda on the relationship. He’s incredibly driven, almost to a fault. Yes, he’s wildly successful, but he’s missing out on life, on finding completion. He has tunnel-vision that really acts like a blinder. All of this conspires to make him a bit inflexible. Yet, Stella London happens, and that reticent hero becomes the type of man that makes you melt. His change, his growing interest in Stella, and his journey beautifully underscore the need to heal. We all carry hurts with us perpetrated on us by others who don’t have our best interests. As his friend Dexter tells him, when this happens at birth, it changes you. Beck needed to evolve, to find the one person who would allow him to become better, and his evolution is my favorite part of this book. He represents everything I love about Louise Bay.
If you love the “fake relationship” trope, then Mr. Mayfair should be sitting on your Kindle,and you should make the time to read it. I read the book in one day because Beck and Stella’s story is a profound one. I needed to know that these broken people would find their completion in each other, and Louise Bay definitely doesn’t disappoint in giving them the best happily-ever-after.
In love and romance,