Sunday, July 28, 2019

Book Review - Midnight at the Blackbird Cafe by Heather Webber

What an enchanting book! I must admit, I was awarded an ARC from the publisher, but it came after I left for a month's vacation. I hated missing out on reading it so much I purchased it from Amazon, and I am so glad I did!

Reminiscent of a tale told by Sarah Addison Allen, but somehow softer and sweeter, this book is magical realism and women's fiction at its best. The story of a decades old mystery and death, it explores the lines between family, forgiveness, friendship, enchantment, and food.

Anna Kate is new in town, although her family roots reach far back. Her grandmother, Zee, left Anna Kate the Blackbird Cafe in her will, with the stipulation that Anna Kate live in the sleepy town of Wicklow for two months before she can sell the cafe. Anna Kate promised her mother, Eden, that she would attend medical school, so her plan it to grant her mother's dying wish while at the same time meeting the terms of her mother's will. Nothing ever goes to plan, however, and Anna Kate finds herself charmed with the local population, but anxious to stay away from blood relatives her mother warned her of.

Full of blackberry tea, magical pie, a mysterious cat and four and twenty blackbirds, the story of Wicklow charms the soul. The characters are well rounded and likeable, even Anna Kate's prickly paternal grandmother, Seely. Reading this book was a balm I did not know I needed, and I thoroughly enjoyed each and every page.

What a beautiful excerpt: "While on earth, it’s the job of us guardians to tend to the trees, nurture them, and gather their love to bake into pies to serve those who mourn, those left behind. You see, the bonds of love are only strengthened when someone leaves this earth, not diminished. Some have trouble understanding that, so it’s the pie that determines who’s in need of a message, a reminding, if you will; it’s the love in the pie that connects the two worlds; and it’s a tree keeper who delivers the message."

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