by: Charmaine Wilkerson
In this moving debut novel, two estranged siblings must set aside their differences to deal with their mother’s death and her hidden past—a journey of discovery that takes them from the Caribbean to London to California and ends with her famous black cake.
We can’t choose what we inherit. But can we choose who we become?
In present-day California, Eleanor Bennett’s death leaves behind a puzzling inheritance for her two children, Byron and Benny: a traditional Caribbean black cake, made from a family recipe with a long history, and a voice recording. In her message, Eleanor shares a tumultuous story about a headstrong young swimmer who escapes her island home under suspicion of murder. The heartbreaking tale Eleanor unfolds, the secrets she still holds back, and the mystery of a long-lost child, challenge everything the siblings thought they knew about their lineage, and themselves.
Can Byron and Benny reclaim their once-close relationship, piece together Eleanor’s true history, and fulfill her final request to “share the black cake when the time is right”? Will their mother’s revelations bring them back together or leave them feeling more lost than ever?
Charmaine Wilkerson’s debut novel is a story of how the inheritance of betrayals, secrets, memories, and even names, can shape relationships and history. Deeply evocative and beautifully written, Black Cake is an extraordinary journey through the life of a family changed forever by the choices of its matriarch.
Helen says: 🤓🤓🤓 3/4
I struggled to think of an adequate rating (stars/nerds) for this book. I had a love/hate relationship with it. Initially, I was sucked in on the first page. I loved learning about Eleanor Bennett’s sordid and mysterious past. I also loved learning the history and colonization of “the island”, which I assumed was Jamaica. I would give the first half of this book 4.5 stars/nerds. Then….it really started to drag and could have used some serious editing. It was an enjoyable read regardless of the lackluster second half. I’d still suggest reading it. Side note- it is being made into a Hulu series.
Another great read – original with very interesting characters. There was quite a bit of plot left to coincidence, so some things seemed a little far-fetched, and some things just seemed like an unbelievable stretch, but I thought it was a wonderful story with interesting settings and plot twists. And just when you think there is a character you don’t really care for, you will soon notice a change in your feelings. I recommend it.