Overall Grade: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
Oh boy. I have been waiting for the words to write this article. When I picked up L.B. Dunbar’s Silver Mayor, I had no idea what a treat I’d be in for. I mean, I had a feeling as I had loved Silver Brewer (Giant’s story) and Silver Player (Billy’s romance). Dunbar has this way of creating compelling silver foxes whose life trajectories feel very similar to my own 40-ish something existence. What I didn’t realize was that she was saving some of her best for last.
Silver Mayor offers the story of Charlie Harrington, an attorney and mayor of Blue Ridge, Georgia. Other than a horrific divorce, Charlie Harrington has lived his life by the rules. As a single dad and the mayor of a town, he has carefully curated his choices to both protect his daughter and his town. Then, Janessa Cruz comes to Blue Ridge, and the careful plodding of Charlie’s life becomes upended. The chemistry between these two sizzles from the start, and this creates moments where Charlie and Janessa simply cannot contain their chemistry. However, as their pasts seek to interrupt their lives, their burgeoning coupledom becomes threatened. And this…this causes Charlie and Janessa to almost lose control of themselves and their potential future together.
When I picked up Silver Mayor, I started reading it while reading another book. I do this often because I love variety. My intention was to read a couple of chapters of this story and switch to the other. What ended up happening was a binge-read of Dunbar’s story. I couldn’t put this romance down for so many reasons, so here goes:
- Charlie Harrington is dirty. Honestly, he’s dirtier than Giant and Billy combined by my estimation. And I loved it, not because I love dirty romance (although I do). I loved it because Dunbar takes this rule-following, worries about everyone’s opinion man and crafts him to be a dirty-talking alpha-male in the bedroom. Charlie is a man in control at all times. With Janessa Cruz, though, he cannot stop himself from taking her anywhere at any time. This loss of control is exciting from a romance reader’s perspective because anytime a controlled hero or heroine loses control due to passion it makes for these fiery reads. And this is definitely the case with Silver Mayor. Charlie’s evolution to a man who lives his passion makes this story an exciting one.
- Janessa Cruz is any woman who has been spurned by her husband for his own selfish desires and finds herself without a definitive plan for the future. Through Janessa’s characterization, Dunbar throws messages about autonomy and agency into her romance. Janessa exposes Dunbar’s readers to discussions about power and authority in relationships, the plight of women to be given a voice, and the fight of single mothers to protect and provide for their children. While Charlie acts as, to a certain degree, the levity of this story, Janessa is its gravity. As she struggles to create a new life for herself and her child, she must navigate an attraction grounded in unbridled passion. Her journey becomes the complication of this romance, and Dunbar deftly maneuvers her through it in a way that compels the reader further into the story. One of the reasons I couldn’t put Silver Mayor down is Janessa’s story. It would be easy for Dunbar to partner them together, “saving” Janessa from the trials of her life. However, Dunbar doesn’t take that easy route. Instead, she establishes moments where Janessa gains her autonomy and stands in it for herself and her daughter. Charlie never saves her; instead, Janessa’s agency lies within herself.
- Lastly, one of my other favorite parts of Silver Mayor is its inclusion of the extended Harrington clan. Not only do we harken back to her Sexy Silver Foxes books of Second Chance and Wine&Dine, she reminds us why we love the Harringtons from Silver Brewer and Silver Player. Billy Harrington is his typical playful self in this book, and it connects us over and over again to Dunbar’s universe of characters. These voices lend some mirth to Charlie and Janessa’s story, but, more importantly, they also offer them wisdom. As these two struggle, the extended cast of Dunbar’s characters assists her hero and heroine in their journey towards each other. They also tease us for future stories. Personally, I can’t wait for the next book in her The Silver Foxes of Blue Ridge, Silver Biker, as I know James’s story will be the most impactful (I think) of the series. We meet him a bit more in Charlie’s story, as a keen set up for Dunbar’s last book. From a writing perspective, Dunbar’s ability to juggle her characters is part of the reasons we keep reading her books.
I’ve said this before in other reviews. I am a HUGE fan of L.B. Dunbar’s for a few reasons. For one, she writes characters that I personally relate with. Their challenges and mindsets mimic some of my own, and as a reader, I love to “find” myself represented in someone’s books. Secondly, there is an ease to Dunbar’s writing, so that reading her books urges you forward. Every book she writes, I typically read in one sitting because the pacing and story pull you through it. Lastly, L.B. Dunbar’s characters feel like real people with real-world problems. We find pieces of ourselves in characters such as Charlie and Janessa. Even if our experiences aren’t exactly the same, we are able to connect with their challenges to live with our passion, challenging social rules, OR having to find a new path for ourselves when those societal rules want to imprison us. That is the essence of Dunbar’s Silver Mayor. If you love a single-dad, dirty-talking, “good guy” mayor and an intelligent, insightful, headstrong woman, then you absolutely want to read L.B. Dunbar’s newest book.
In love and romance,