Wednesday, January 8, 2020

Jenn's Review: Midnight at the Blackbird Cafe

Author: Heather Webber
Series: None
Publication Date: July 16th 2019
Publisher: Forge Books
Pages: 336
Obtained: Purchase
Genre:  Women's Fiction, Magical Realism
Rating: 4/5
Bottom Line: family, secrets, and misunderstandings 
Grab, Just get it at the library, or Remove from your TBR list? Grab

Summary: Nestled in the mountain shadows of Alabama lies the little town of Wicklow. It is here that Anna Kate has returned to bury her beloved Granny Zee, owner of the Blackbird Café. It was supposed to be a quick trip to close the café and settle her grandmother’s estate, but despite her best intentions to avoid forming ties or even getting to know her father’s side of the family, Anna Kate finds herself inexplicably drawn to the quirky Southern town her mother ran away from so many years ago, and the mysterious blackbird pie everybody can’t stop talking about. As the truth about her past slowly becomes clear, Anna Kate will need to decide if this lone blackbird will finally be able to take her broken wings and fly.

Review: Heather Webber has long been one of my favorite authors ever since Julie introduced me to her Lucy Valentine  series years ago. She has a way of writing characters that is warm, inviting, and oh-so-accessible. I was intrigued by Midnight at the Blackbird Cafe as it is her first novel that ventures into the realm of Women's Fiction.

It's amazing how the strand of a single person's life can run through so many other lives and how events can change and shape who we become.  Even when several people are touched by the same experience the individual effects can be so incredibly different.  These are the themes Heather Webber skillfully explores and there is much to love here.  There are several character's stories that unfold gently and I was enthralled watching their past catch up with their present. Despite the fact that the story is told from several different points of view, the transitions were not jarring and I felt drawn into the quirky town and all of its inhabitants.

As much as I enjoy magical realism, I found that it was the only thing that seemed slightly out of place in the novel.  Don't get me wrong, it was artfully done and it gave the novel quaint charm. However, the magic of the pie would have been enough for me and I felt that the story could have easily stood on it's own without much of the rest of it.

The novel ends as quietly as it begins and one can't help but feel you are leaving the character's behind too soon.  I found myself wishing to be back in in Wicklow, sitting down for a piece of pie, and catching up with all the neighbors.  That's the thing about a Heather Webber novel, it sticks with you for days after you close the cover.

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