Review of Black Cake by Charmaine Wilkerson

In this novel, the death of Eleanor Bennett leaves her two children with a strange inheritance: a traditional Caribbean black cake and a voice recording that unveils her true history. Byron and Benny are now faced with mourning their mother’s death, attempting to rebuild their strained relationship, and coming to terms with their true heritage.

I experienced the full spectrum of emotion while reading this book. Not only was this book beautifully written but I had never read anything where the characters were representative of my own multiracial background. It was so powerful for me to connect with characters that had experiences that some of my own family did growing up in Jamaica.

I am truly floored that this is Wilkerson’s first novel. She expertly developed such dynamic characters and the transition between each point of view was seamless. Every single character, no matter how ancillary, had a full spectrum of character development, leaving the reader with a true resolution at the end of the novel, rather than wondering about any story lines that weren’t addressed. The pace of this book was also perfect. As the reader, each character’s secrets were revealed in due time in an authentic way, as if you were sitting right along side of Benny and Byron listening to their mother’s confessional voice recording.

Everyone’s family history is messy in its own beautiful way and Charmaine Wilkerson captures that authentically in the characters and storyline she created. Bump this gem up to the top of your reading list, I promise it won’t disappoint.

5 out of 5 stars

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