Overall Grade: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️+
“When he loves, he loves. But when he hurts, he aches. I don’t want him to ache.”
With Giant’s story in Silver Brewer, L.B. Dunbar further captured my heart. If you’ve read any of my other reviews for her books with heroes and heroines over 40, then you know that I love what she’s doing. Dunbar makes it easy for the over 40 set to find themselves in her romances. Their troubles are my troubles. Well, sort of.
Billy Harrington piqued my curiosity in Silver Brewer. Playboy extraordinaire, I was waiting for him to meet his match. Although she seemed to foreshadow his match in Silver Brewer and Denton and Mati’s story, Second Chance, you can never be sure. However, true to form, Billy’s nemesis, Roxanne, is his match. And Dunbar’s Silver Player illustrates the perfection of the enemies-to-lovers trope in their coupling.
There is much to love about Silver Player.
- Billy Harrington is more complicated than is suggested, on the surface. The complexity of his characterization offers us insight into the idea that “everything is never as it seems.” Through his journey towards love, Billy’s evolution is poignant. He reminds us that we can never really know a person based on our view of them. Instead, there is usually more below the surface, and it behooves us to learn a person more deeply.
- Roxanne also represents that message too. In her case, it is Billy who makes some assumptions about her. However, it’s clear from the start that he likes her more than he allows anyone to believe (even himself). Roxanne is the perfect kind of heroine with this trope because she knows herself, and she finds contentment in it. She’s an incredibly strong heroine. With that strength, she’s the perfect challenger for Billy.
- The chemistry between these two flies off the page. Yet, the difficulty of Dunbar’s Silver Player is their romantic journey. The moments of tension begin early through the hurtful words these two wield at each other. They are truly knives to your soul. For me, Roxanne’s hurt over her perception of Billy never choosing her as he does with other women gutted me. I felt her hurt deeply, just as I empathized with Billy’s feelings of inadequacy, especially related to his father. There is an emotional depth underpinning Billy and Roxanne’s chemistry that draws the reader into the story.
- Roxanne’s niece and Billy’s daughter, Sadie, is also a special character in Silver Player. In many ways, she’s the amalgamation of Roxanne and Billy in that she’s created a facade of strength as a way to protect her heart from rejection, and she’s innately interested in being something more than what others expect of her. It was easy to notice her ability to work between her aunt and father. In her character, Dunbar crafts these highly emotional moments that bring a tear to your eye and a hurt to your heart, as Sadie attempts to grieve for her mother and seek acceptance from a father who struggles to understand fatherhood at first. There is an emotional depth to this Harrington series that I hadn’t felt in Dunbar’s Sexy Silver Foxes series. Between Billy and Giant’s stories, my appreciation for Dunbar’s storytelling grew because I connect emotionally with her characters.
As a criticism, I struggled with Billy at times. There is no secret that Billy undergoes the biggest transformation in this romance. This is most predominant in his emotional growth, but, to get there, the reader must contend with an emotional rollercoaster of sorts. There were times when I found Billy petty and insensitive to Sadie and Roxanne. There were also times when Roxanne, specifically at the end, created more drama than necessary in her processing of experience. I know this is commonplace to people, but it felt overdramatized, and I found myself frustrated with her character.
Overall, though, I loved Silver Player. Nothing makes this reader happier than the emotional and mental evolution of a hero. I think it represents the truth of humanity. We have to grow in order to survive, and Dunbar has written this beautifully appointed story about two people who are seemingly different but really much more alike than it seems. It’s a stark reminder to “never judge a book by its cover” because there is usually something much more in its pages than can be seen. If you are an L.B. Dunbar fan OR if you have never read her books, this book, in my opinion, is one of her bests, and you should read it. Now.
In love and romance,