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  • Judith D Collins

Black Cake


By: Charmaine Wilkerson

ISBN: 978-0593358337

Publisher: Ballantine Books

Publication Date: 02/01/2022

Format: Hardcover

My Rating: 4 Stars


DEBUT NOVEL


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.


“At turns delightfully juicy and then stunningly wise, Black Cake is a winner.”—Taylor Jenkins Reid, New York Times bestselling author of Malibu Rising


In development as a Hulu original series produced by Marissa Jo Cerar, Oprah Winfrey (Harpo Films), and Kapital Entertainment


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.


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Byron and Benny haven't seen each other in years. Now these estranged siblings must set aside their differences to deal with their mother’s hidden past.


#BlackCake




Praise

ONE OF THE MOST ANTICIPATED BOOKS OF 2022—Glamour, Bustle, Marie Claire, Essence, Parade, Business Insider, Town & Country, Vulture, PopSugar, W magazine, BookPage


In development as a Hulu original series produced by Marissa Jo Cerar, Oprah Winfrey (Harpo Films), and Kapital Entertainment


NEW YORK TIMES EDITORS’ CHOICE • READ WITH JENNA BOOK CLUB PICK AS FEATURED ON TODAY • In this moving debut novel, two estranged siblings 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.


An Amazon Best Book of February 2022: Perfect for book clubs, Black Cake follows the story of estranged grown siblings who come together after the death of their mother and discover a secret that upends everything they’ve ever known about their family. You will root for these flawed but relatable characters, as they travel from the Caribbean to London to California, in order to reckon with the past. It’s a juicy and satisfying read of secrets and betrayals, race and class, the pain of expectations, the power of love, and yes, a family tradition of Black Cake.

—Al Woodworth, Amazon Editor


“Black Cake is a character-driven, multigenerational story that’s meant to be savored. . . . thought-provoking and poignant.”

—Time


“A thrilling debut novel about sibling ties and hidden family history.”

—Glamour


“As delicious as the titular dessert.”

—W Magazine


“Wilkerson explores the nuances of racial identity and betrayal in a powerful novel.”

—Vogue (UK)


“Black Cake is a satisfying literary meal, heralding the arrival of a new novelist to watch.”

—Associated Press


“A stellar first-time entry from a talented new writer that’s full of food, surfing, and rich patois.”

—BET


“Crafted with delicate intention and textured with a blend of perspectives.”

—Vulture


“I was instantly taken in by this multigenerational tale of identity, family, and the lifelong push and pull of home. This novel has a tremendous heart at its center, and I felt its beat on every page. What an extraordinary debut.”

—Mary Beth Keane, New York Times bestselling author of Ask Again, Yes


“Exquisite and expansive, Black Cake took ahold of me from the first page and didn’t let go. This is a novel about the formation and reformation of a family, and the many people, places, and events that can shape our inheritances without our knowing. A gripping, poignant debut from an important, new voice.”

—Naima Coster, New York Times bestselling author of What’s Mine and Yours


“Black Cake has all the ingredients of the tastiest stories: secrets, romance, danger, and a cast of characters so real you want to scream at them one moment and hug them the next.”

—Dawnie Walton, author of The Final Revival of Opal & Nev


“So beautifully written I’m struggling to believe it’s a debut . . . The cake is the glue that holds all the layers together and the scenes are so well drawn I could almost taste the cake, feel the warm sea on my skin.”

—Nikki May, author of Wahala


“With fantasy-like sensual detail, Wilkerson slips through time and place to explore the emotional weight of family traditions passed down through generations to heirs challenged to find their own emotional truths.”

—Lucy Sanna, author of The Cherry Harvest


“Fans of family dramas by Ann Patchett, Brit Bennett, and Karen Joy Fowler should take note. Black Cake marks the launch of a writer to watch, one who masterfully plumbs the unexpected depths of the human heart.”

—BookPage (starred review)


“Wilkerson uses one Caribbean American family’s extraordinary tale to probe universal issues of identity and how the lives we live and the choices we make leave ‘a trail of potential consequences’ that pass down through generations.”

—Booklist (starred review)







About the Author

Charmaine Wilkerson is from New York, has lived in Jamaica, and does much of her writing in Italy. A former news and communication professional, she has published award-winning stories in various anthologies and magazines. Her debut novel Black Cake is a #ReadWithJenna book club pick and a screen series based on the book is currently under development. Charmaine is represented by Madeleine Milburn at the Madeleine Milburn Literary Agency.

WEBSITE


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