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Wednesday Book Group

The Wednesday Book Group, formerly known as the CTC Mall Book Group, began as a joint venture between the Kanawha County Public Library (KCPL) and Charleston Town Center (CTC) Mall in Charleston, West Virginia. This group is now under the sole purview of the KCPL.

Black Cake: A Novel

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.

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416 pages

Average rating: 7.56

1,367 RATINGS

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48 REVIEWS

Community Reviews

JenJ216
Apr 25, 2024
Jennifer
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Readwithayle
Mar 29, 2024
10/10 stars
Black Cake is a beautiful written novel. This story is about Eleanor Bennet’s life. Shortly before her death she left behind a black cake, and the truth about her past for her children. Benny and Byron learned that their mother escaped the island that she lived on as a young girl, and was even a suspect in a case murder at the time as well. It was also brought to their attention that they even have a sibling that was never mentioned before. They started to wonder if they really knew who their mother was at all. This book is a 4 part story that focuses on family, secrets, identity, culture, and love! It was truly a very moving. I greatly enjoyed learning a bit about the Caribbean culture and their history. Charmaine Wilkerson did a wonderful job developing each character throughout the novel. You get to see how they grew and even feel some of their emotions. Benny and Byron have had a strained relationship for quite some time, but things begin to change as the story goes on. It was beautiful reading about the different relationships in the book. Some were old and needing some extensive repairing while others were just beginning. The ending of Black Cake is exactly what I’d hoped for. Not one questions was left unanswered and no mystery was left unsolved. I closed this book with a smile and a full heart.
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Sandra Mckoy
Mar 01, 2024
10/10 stars
Brilliant book, also watched on disney+
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LaNita
Feb 29, 2024
10/10 stars
Amazingly written! The author weaves together multiple character's experiences in a way that feels we're getting authentic views of lives of friends and family. We see how people, and their circumstances lead to complicated choices that impact relationships and future circumstances. I appreciate the cultural references to the Carribean. I liked the exploration of how colonization and immigration impacted food, art and cultural practices throughout the Diaspora and across generations.
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jenlynerickson
Feb 20, 2024
10/10 stars
“The beauty of a thing justified its plunder. And nothing was more beautiful than a girl who was fearless.” That’s “The thing about identity. There’s your family history, there’s how you see yourself, and then there’s what others see in you. All these elements factor into your identity, like it or not.” Black Cake is “about the flawed narratives that have always aimed to draw clear boundaries around cultures and people’s identities…that could only have come about through a mixing of traditions, a mixing of fates, a mixing of stories.” It’s about “small but profound inheritances. Of how untold stories shape people’s lives, both when they are withheld and when they are revealed.” It’s “about the emotional weight carried by recipes and other familial markers that are handed down from one generation to the next,” “characters who must hold fast to their sense of self when they learn that their lives have been built on a dubious narrative,” and the “shifting concepts of home and family, about longing, loss, and second chances and, of course, love.” “Her mother’s recipe was never so much a list of firm quantities and instructions as a series of hints for how to proceed. What Benny learned from her mother had been handed down through demonstration, conversation, and proximity.” “The cake had come to symbolize various things: family connections, sisterhood, diaspora, and nostalgia. It also represented the ways in which our identities can be shaped as much by untold stories as by the stories we choose to share.” Charmaine Wilkerson’s Black Cake is a culinary–and literary–masterpiece.
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