Black Cake - Charmaine Wilkerson

Black Cake

By Charmaine Wilkerson

  • Release Date: 2022-02-01
  • Genre: Fiction & Literature
Score: 4
From 1,017 Ratings


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
ONE OF THE BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR: Oprah Daily, NPR, BuzzFeed, Glamour, PopSugar, Book Riot, She Reads

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.


  • Black cake

    By Davids partner
    This was a confusing read. The characters, with so many changes in names and places and not in order of events as well as the story were hard to keep in order.
  • Big ole mess

    By v-j-weed
    This book was pure drudgery in need of substantial editing. I didn’t care enough about any of the characters to really care how this turned out. I finished out of sheer willpower. For the life of me I can’t understand everyone’s praise for this book.
  • This book pulls you in like the tide...

    By HooReads
    What a great storyline with characters that you can feel and smell. Reading this book is like partaking of the special holiday dessert you only eat once a year with family. I couldn't put it down. The writer pulls you in... sets down a plate and sits with you as you respond, “Mmmm, this is really good.” Well done.
  • Incredible

    By Pavonna
    So many complex themes all in one book. Whew!
  • Great read!

    By Ejukator
    It was hard to put it down.
  • Fantastic

    By ts223344
    Great story telling!
  • Too long

    By Yakinihotep
    The story was “drawn out” which means it was too long. It was like a never ending run on sentence. The story could have been modified to half of the pages. I will admit that it was culturally informative and offered relevant history on the diaspora but I could have saved my money.
  • Suspenseful

    By Huntsville Transplant
    An easy read. A wonderfully told and moving story. It was hard to put it down.
  • Had I known, I would have skipped this one

    By Love2Read 812
    At times the story seemed never ending. It was also predictable in parts. Not what I expected.
  • A seriously good read!

    By Amigo73
    Great plot, excellent character development, good pace, nice surprises, and all lose ends neatly tied up. Who could ask for more in a 1st novel? Not me.