May Mistakes (Silver Foxes of Westminster #3)


Independent, unconventional, and eccentric, 30-year-old Elaine Bond is an open book. Since the death of her beloved father, she has come to rely on her friendship with 50-year-old bookseller Basil Wall. His unrequited love for Elaine is only one of many secrets he is keeping, both from her and the community of Brynthwaite, Cumbria. 

Set against the political backdrop of intrigue and the philosophical tug-of-war between Gladstone’s Liberals and Disraeli’s Conservatives, this May-December love story examines the generations of struggle for women, the working classes, and other marginalized groups for equal representation before the law. Elaine’s commitment to her integrity of self, combined with her naiveté, often lands her in challenging circumstances that Basil is always willing to help her navigate. Elaine’s consistent refusal to conform to gender-based expectations lays a solid foundation for her cheer-worthy character. As Elaine herself says, "Why must women always be forced to conform to some nebulous image of femininity? Who decided on those norms in the first place?”  

Elaine’s earnest zaniness and somewhat blundering self-confidence read as fresh, amusing, and sometimes poignant even when her character traits edge into farce territory, while Basil’s reformed rake feels very familiar, which mutes some of the story’s compelling zing.

“May Mistakes” is a charming romp in the tradition of a historical “I Love Lucy” homage. Fans of the ways in which Robin Schone and Courtney Milan use a couple’s romantic struggles to highlight the politics of personhood through the filters of age, social class, and gender should enjoy Merry Farmer’s engaging writing style. 

Cardyn Brooks