Author: Charmaine Wilkerson
Genre: Literary Fiction
Publisher: Ballentine Books
Publication Date: February 1, 2022
Book Description: 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.
Rating: 5 Stars
Review: Wow, I was not expecting what I just read. This is a complex story of a family, where everyone holds secrets. There is blame for everyone around, but in the end as all these secrets are revealed no one really is at fault.
Eleanor the matriarch of the Bennett family has passed away. Her two children who have not spoken in years come together to bury her. There is much resentment between Benny and Byron, but as they settle into this new world, Eleanor’s lawyer provides tapes, with their mother’s secrets.
I absolutely do not want to give anything away in this story, as the author is brilliant on how she uncovers each secret and boy there are so many. The novel is so rich with culture, family and forgiveness.
I know it is only February and it has started off so strong with so many great books, but this one might go down as one of my favorites. There is mystery, complex families and so much more. I cannot say enough about this book, so just go out and read it.
Thank you NetGalley and Ballentine Books for an Advanced Reader’s Copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.