NOW A HULU STERAMING SERIES • NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER • READ WITH JENNA BOOK CLUB PICK AS FEATURED ON TODAY • Two estranged siblings delve into their mother’s hidden past—and how it all connects to her traditional Caribbean black cake—in this immersive family saga, “a character-driven, multigenerational story that’s meant to be savored” (Time).
“Wilkerson transports you across the decades and around the globe accompanied by complex, wonderfully drawn characters.”—Taylor Jenkins Reid, New York Times bestselling author of The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo, Daisy Jones & The Six, and Malibu Rising
ONE OF THE BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR: Oprah Daily, NPR, BuzzFeed, Glamour, PopSugar, Book Riot, She Reads
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.
APPLE BOOKS REVIEW
In Charmaine Wilkerson’s poignant and expressive debut novel, unearthed family secrets change an estranged brother and sister’s perception of their mother. When Ellie dies, she summons her adult children, Byron and Benny, to hear a recording in which she reveals the truth about her life. Ellie’s tale is a captivating one that involves escaping her Caribbean island home on her wedding day and leaving behind all the details of her identity. Black Cake shifts between two timelines—the late ’60s and 2018—to illustrate the dramatic turns of Ellie’s life and how they’ve impacted her children. We love how Wilkerson returns again and again to the theme of Ellie’s treasured recipe for Caribbean Black Cake, a rum-soaked confection that serves as a gorgeous metaphor for the family’s history and rituals. Lynnette R. Freeman and Simone McIntyre share the narration, skillfully evoking the cadences of the islands, working-class London, and Southern California. As this touching story traverses the globe, it will work its way into your heart.
I found it hard to follow the timeline while listening to the audiobook. I think I would have given more stars if I had a hard copy of the book rather than listening to it. I like the story and the reader a lot.
Brilliant pure brilliance
I cannot wait to read the book!