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Publisher's Summary

NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER • READ WITH JENNA BOOK CLUB PICK AS FEATURED ON TODAY • Two estranged siblings delve into their mother’s hidden past—and how it all connects to her traditional Caribbean black cake—in this immersive family saga, “a character-driven, multigenerational story that’s meant to be savored” (Time). 

“Wilkerson transports you across the decades and around the globe accompanied by complex, wonderfully drawn characters.”—Taylor Jenkins Reid, New York Times bestselling author of The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo, Daisy Jones & The Six, and 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 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.

©2022 Charmaine Wilkerson (P)2022 Random House Audio

Critic Reviews

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

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

What listeners say about Black Cake

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Wonderful Listen

This title was suggested by my daughter-in-law who received it as her BOTM selection and raved about it. After finishing it, I concur. It is a complex, beautifully written story, that unfolds and develops with each chapter. Generational trauma and unspoken truths mold the children of Eleanor Bennett. After her passing, the revelations and secrets of her true story rattle their foundation. With the help of an excellent narration, the story introduces the listener to other cultures and another time. While the characters are POC, the hardships and reckoning are universal. (Excepts those that aren't...as a senior, white woman I have no fear of a gun being pulled on me at a traffic stop, as an example). Reminiscent of Little Bee, and Americanah for the way it pulled me into a different culture and experience.
I anticipate this book will be on many must be read lists going forward.

8 people found this helpful

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Beautiful and Emotional Story

Charmaine Wilkerson created a beautiful and emotional fictional story that without a doubt is a love letter to the Islands! Lynnette R. Freeman and Simone McIntyre’s narration transported this young lady to one of her many homelands and made me want more! I wish I had the opportunity to learn more of my maternal and paternal grandmothers’ stories!
Thank you all for sharing your gifts! I highly recommend this read to everyone!

5 people found this helpful

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Phenomenal

I thoroughly enjoyed this book from beginning to end. I am a Guyanese immigrant to the US so I related to much of the content. The push and pull of the story kept you captivated. For me, there were hints of my own life, mother, and family throughout the novel. Its a must read!

4 people found this helpful

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Spellbinding

I’m so glad I LISTENED to “Black Cake.” It is a so special and touches all senses and feelings. Family. Friends. Saving grace. Thank you, Jenna Bush Hager!

4 people found this helpful

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Just when you thought the story was over ...

Just when the story was over and you wish it would continue it did until you found out the entire story and all mystery solved!

3 people found this helpful

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Excellent

The best audio book I've listened to in the past 6 months, maybe longer. story kept me engaged. Narrator was great. For a first novel this was great. Hope she can follow it up with another.

3 people found this helpful

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I didn’t love it. But I also didn’t hate it.

This book took me a while to get into. I felt overwhelmed with the multiple stories in one and switching from so many timelines. It honestly felt like it was too much of everything at times. However, once the story came together. It was a very heartfelt story about losing someone you love and finding out family secrets/traditions from many generations. I was happy I finished it.

⭐️⭐️⭐️💫

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Genius

I felt as if I were actually present and witnessing this entire story unfold. Powerful!

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Generational Saga

I love long detailed stories. This is one. Follows the life of a young island girl with a Chinese father and all that entails. Crosses continents and combines culinary experiences to create a great tale filled with secrets and regret. Ties up all the loose ends by the end of the story.

2 people found this helpful

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Black cake

I really wasn’t sure whether I would like this book, because i just took a chance and bought it whilst on the beach, I didn’t even read any reviews.
I loved everything about this book!
Worth the credit!

1 person found this helpful