Black Cake

Charmaine Wilkerson

Literary Fiction

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.

-Excerpt taken from Goodreads.

Check Goodreads to see the book’s ratings.

My Opinion

4 out of 5 stars (4 / 5) What an incredible story! Eleanor Bennet has died and left her adult children a mysterious recording with their inheritance.

We get multiple POV, which I loved, and heard about childhoods through adulthoods. We hear about dreams and mistakes and their innermost thoughts. Each character had a background, and a well-balanced present for the story.

I grew to love these characters. Wilkerson really grabbed my heart with this one and enveloped me in it for many days. It’s an incredible story with many facets that you don’t truly understand until the end. It was well-paced, intriguing and I found myself not being able to put it down.

I didn’t expect to get so caught up in this story! I even found myself cheering on the love story. This is definitely a book that will be staying with me for quite some time.

AUDIO REVIEW: Lynette R. Freeman and Simone Mcintyre were perfect! There were many Caribbean and English accents and they handled them with ease. I never found my attention wavering and while that was a lot due to the story, the audio truly accentuated it.

General content summary: F words= 3, minimal language, parental death, f/f relationship (previous, 2x), alcoholism, gambling, child abandonment, m/f relationship, sexual harassment (referenced), prejudice (multiple), physical violence (fists and kicks), forced marriage (teen and adult), poisoning (death, few details), earthquake and tsunami (few details), train crash (deaths, injuries), attempted suicide (drowning, 2x), woman is beaten (concussion, injuries), rape and pregnancy (no details), forced adoption and grief,  a woman coming out to her parents, adult physical abuse (m/f, injuries), spousal death. 

Thank you to PRH Audio for the copy!

**As an Amazon associate I earn from qualifying purchases. 

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