Rave Review | Black Cake

I’ve provided the synopsis below for those who would benefit from a synopsis, but I actually recommend going into this knowing as little as possible! Except for perhaps the content warnings, if needed.

Synopsis (from Goodreads)

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.

Content Warnings


Wow! this was a highly impactful and near-perfect read for me.
Exactly the type of book I reserve my five-star ratings for.

Black Cake is told in a complex manner with numerous timelines and perspectives, divulging secrets the entire way through. Pair that with the central role of the black cake, layers of secrets are blended together and revealed in a satisfying way. I couldn’t stop reading the book.

I highly recommend it! This book will take you from the seashore of the Caribbean across continents, decades, and even centuries. Excellent.

(Apologies, this review is brief to prevent myself from divulging spoilers!)

This Book in Three Words




Photo by Haley Black on Pexels.com


  • Family
  • Food
  • Protecting the ones you love
  • Courage
  • Traditions

Favourite Part

Learning about indigenous food, food culture, and history.


  • Mysterious
  • Reflective
  • Emotional

New Words Learned

My Ratings:

Writing Style: 4.5
Characters: 5
Plot Development:5
Originality: 5
Engagingness: 5
Inisightfulness: 5
Comprehensiveness: 5
Impactfulness: 5

Overall Rating

Numerical Rating: 5 stars

QOTD: Do you enjoy book set
by the ocean?

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