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Summary

Brought to you by Penguin.

Crossing continents and juggling lives, Black Cake is a powerful story of love and loss, kinship and separation, heartache and hope, spanning 60 years in the life of one family.

Eleanor Bennett won't let her own death get in the way of the truth. So when her estranged children - Byron and Benny - reunite for her funeral in California, they discover a puzzling inheritance.

First, a voice recording in which everything Byron and Benny ever knew about their family is upended. Their mother narrates a tumultuous story about a headstrong young woman who escapes her island home under suspicion of murder, a story that cuts right to the heart of the rift that's separated Byron and Benny.

Second, a traditional Caribbean black cake made from a family recipe with a long history that Eleanor hopes will heal the wounds of the past.

Can Byron and Benny fulfil their mother's final request to 'share the black cake when the time is right'? Will Eleanor's revelations bring them back together or leave them feeling more lost than ever?

©2022 Charmaine Wilkerson (P)2022 Penguin Audio

Critic reviews

"I was instantly taken in by this multi-generational tale of identity, family, and the lifelong push and pull of home. This novel has a tremendous heart at its centre, and I felt its beat on every page. What an extraordinary debut." (Mary Beth Keane, author of Ask Again, Yes)

What listeners say about Black Cake

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Black Cake? What recipe!

Everything is brilliant about this book. It is tight and taut. The characters are complex and layered… or to put it another way (!) I cared about everyone. The focus on women, women from a beginning different to mine, the island with its wild seas and inescapable community (that may destroy but may also save) but also like me was particularly good on women showing strength in vulnerability.
Nothing predictable.
New Worlds.
But also the old struggles of identity and love.

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outstanding!

there is so much to love about this book. one if the best reads. I liked the short chapters, the journey of each of the characters and learned a bit about Caribbean culture. a great read

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Great story on life in the Caribbean

The main characters were captivating, diverse n not same old same old. Learnt a bit about the carefree life children enjoyed on the island before they moved to a 'civilised' world in the west.

The struggles human beings go through to make it in life. Loved the depth of Covey n Pringle's friendship even when they were not in contact with each other. Loved the flaws n strengths of each character, the story was weaved through so many aspects of life. Covey will certainly stay in my thoughts for awhile. Really enjoyed it.

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Beautiful story

Thought provoking and mesh of several stories blended into one main tale. Could not stop reading.

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I didn't want it to end

The story comes to life in ways that move you to tears and laughter. Once or twice I found the narrator's voice annoying but in the main she nails it. Brilliant story

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This should be a film

Wonderful story telling which covers cultures and is thought provoking - perfect basis
for a film

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Slow burner

It took a while for it to grab me, but when it did I loved it. Once I finished it I felt like I'd like to read it again. I enjoyed the narration and the different voices, it helped me to imagine the characters.

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Brilliant

Brilliant writing. Brilliant story. Brilliant narration.
The story was insightful, emotive & inspiring. I’ll definitely lIsten to it again. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!

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Slow start but eventually a gripping story

The start was quite slow and the narration felt low energy throughout but I did really enjoy it. A really gripping story and complex and interesting characters.

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Great Story

Loved it beautifully narrated. Great story across 3 continents at a great pace. Lost a whole afternoon to this book.

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  • GP
  • 16-08-22

Marvelous story, a must-read.

I enjoyed this story and the storytelling very much. Although I’m from the Dutch Caribbean and thus have a different history and heritage, I could relate very well to the recreation of the Caribbean essence, and yes, especially to the black cake. You cannot make a black cake without a story about the past, without creating one in the present, and without some expectation for the future. That’s why the black cake is so significant as a wedding cake, as it does combine all the different tastes and cultures that comprise the Caribbean.

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  • lyne carter
  • 08-02-22

Beautiful book

Beautifully written and narrated. I loved learning about the cultures and felt the warmth, colors, smells and tastes of the Caribbean. Whenever a book moves me to tears, It deserves five stars. The women characters in this book kick ass. I am definitely cooking a black cake soon.