Featured author: Charmaine Wilkerson

Let’s read together in February! Black Cake is a journey through the life of a family with Caribbean heritage. The story shows how the inheritance of betrayals, secrets, memories and even names can shape relationships and history. During February 2023 the book is available with no holds on Libby. We also have a limited number of print copies you can sign out. We’ll share recipes, info, and read-alikes all month in our Top City Reads Together Facebook group, and during the last week we’ll post discussion questions in the group for you to engage with at whatever time works for you. Email topcityreads@tscpl.org for more information, or to reserve a copy of the book.


If you want to chat about the book in person, join us for our TALK Book Discussion at the library on Feb 15 or join us via Zoom. Register here. Black Cake is also a great pick for your Reading Around the World challenge, too.

More about the book

In present-day California, Eleanor Bennett’s death leaves behind a puzzling inheritance for her two children, Byron and Benny. Eleanor leave them 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 escaped her island home under suspicion of murder. As the heartbreaking tale unfolds, Eleanor holds back secrets and opens a mystery of a long-lost child. This story challenges everything the siblings thought they knew about their lineage and themselves.

About Charmaine Wilkerson

Charmaine Wilkerson is from New York, has lived in Jamaica, and does much of her writing in Italy. Her debut novel Black Cake is a New York Times bestseller and a #ReadWithJenna book club pick. A screen series based on the novel is currently under development for Hulu. In an interview with Book Page, Wilkerson shared that black cake is a family favorite, a recipe handed down for generations. She wants readers to know the book is more than a cozy culinary story.


“It’s about the idea that there’s the story you tell about your life, about your family history, about your culture, Wilkerson said. “And then there are the stories that are not told, or concealed, or not fully revealed. The cake symbolizes the history of this family, in which the children, who are now grown, really don’t know the half of what their parents went through. Their journey of discovery is going to actually change the way in which they see not only their parents, their family history, but their own relationships.” Read the full interview with Book Page here.

Miranda is your Readers Librarian. She loves to talk about books and help readers discover new stories. Miranda hosts author visits, facilitates the TALK Book Discussion Group, co-leads the Racial Justice Book Group, and serves as a member of the library's Top City Reads Together team.