book reviews

Book Review: Black Cake

Book Details:

  • Published Date: January 1, 2022
  • Author: Charmaine Wilkerson
  • Genre: Historical Fiction, Adult
  • Format: Hardcover (Book of the Month, January ’22)
  • Length: 391 pages
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 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.

So, let’s talk about what made me want to read this book in the first place. When you look at the cover, it doesn’t immediately grab the average person attention. But for me it was something about all the colors that really got me. The title, caught my attention as well. Black Cake just seemed really odd for a name of a book, but once I read the synopsis of the book, I was sold on reading it.

I honestly wanted to read this book before or during February, but as most of you know, I was moving so reading wasn’t really on my mind as much during the time.

Two siblings, Benny and Byron, who lost touch are reunited due to the passing of their mother. Then comes the black cake. She leaves behind a frozen black for them in the fridge and a recording of her telling them truth of her past. This is when they find out that they didn’t really know as much about their mother as they originally thought they did.

What I loved about this book was that it stayed pretty eventful and Wilkerson did a good job with taking her time revealing little details as the book goes on. With that being said, there is a lot going on in the book. Sometimes it can be hard to keep up or process what happened because once the scenario is over, there’s not much reflecting on it. That’s honestly why this book is not a 5 star rating for me.

My Rating:

4 star

Have you read Black Cake? What were your thoughts?


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