Black Cake is Charmaine Wilkerson’s debut novel. Ms. Wilkerson starts off winning right out of the gate.
Benedetta ‘Benny’ Bennett and her brother Byron aren’t on the best of terms but must deal with their mother’s death together. Will they be destroyed or delighted by the history that confronts them?
Black Cake is a definite win for this debut author. She reveals the story using alternating viewpoints along dual timelines, easily handling this writing technique with appropriate chapter headers. Though divergent, the plot lines are relevant and don’t distract or detract from the story. Intensity and anticipation are steadily built in both timelines, finally revealing decades old secrets. The pace isn’t ‘fast and furious’ but ‘slow and steady’, and we all know what wins the race.
Wilkerson also employs in-depth characterization and intense character interplay to further enrich the story. She eventually brings the story and the characters full circle. The publisher doesn’t list Black Cake in the Historical Fiction category, but it’s historically accurate with some literary license taken, nonetheless. They also don’t list it as Multicultural Interest, but it truly is. This was a completely fascinating read. I give it 5 out of 5 stars and recommend it to all readers of good fiction.
My thanks to Random House Publishing Group – Ballantine and NetGalley for the opportunity to read an advance copy of this book. However, the opinions expressed in this review are 100% mine and mine alone.
Publication Date: February 1, 2022