Book Review: Black Cake by Charmaine Wilkerson

“And what about a person’s life? How do you make a map of that? The borders people draw between themselves. The scars left along the ground of one’s heart.”

Charmaine Wilkerson, Black Cake

Title: Black Cake
Author: Charmaine Wilkerson
Genres: Historical Fiction, Contemporary Fiction
Pages: 385 (Hardcover)
Published: February 1st, 2022

My Rating: ★★¾
Read: 3/25/2023 – 3/31/2023


With the promise of a rich story, I was initially excited when I began reading Black Cake. Unfortunately, it didn’t take long to realize it was going to be a struggle to try and follow.

Following the death of their mother, Byron and Benny are left with a recipe and a family history they knew nothing about. Through the things their mother left, they uncover the truth about their past, shaking up the life they’ve always known. 

I enjoyed the premise and the characters a lot. Better organization would have made such a difference in the reading experience for me. The timeline jumped all over the place as well as the perspectives. There were also too many characters to keep track of in between, making it nearly impossible to retain the information for very long. Otherwise, the writing was good.

Likes & Dislikes:

What I liked:

  • Eleanor’s plot.
  • The overall concept of the book.

What I didn’t like:

  • The way the story was organized.
  • Too many side plots that took away from the main story.


I wasn’t sure what to expect from this book. It was one of the two Book of the Year finalists that I hadn’t read and this appealed to me much more than my other option. I wanted to like it a lot more than I did.

Where to buy the book:

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