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Review: Midnight at the Blackbird Cafe

Midnight at the Blackbird Cafe

Title: Midnight at the Blackbird Cafe
Author: Heather Webber
Genre: Magical Realism, Fiction
Page Count: 333
Published by: Forge
Date Published: July 16, 2019
You can find it here: Bookshop.org

Synopsis

Anna Kate Callow has returned to the charming, small Southern town of Wicklow, Alabama to settle her dearly departed grandmother’s estate. She is eager to return to her life in Boston, where she plans to attend medical school in a few months. However, as part of the condition of the will, her grandmother has asked Anna Kate to run her cafe for two months before selling.

What at first appears to be a daunting task, Anna Kate finds herself easily falling into the role of cafe owner and baker of the famous blackbird pies that are renowned for their ability to deliver messages from loved ones who have passed away. Inconveniently, Anna Kate also finds herself falling in love with the small town and its loveable, supportive residents.

Meanwhile, Natalie Linden Walker has also returned to Wicklow looking for healing after the devastating loss of her husband. As both women work through grief and past secrets, they find themselves both swallowed up by this charming, magical town that just might be the key to mending their broken hearts.

Discussion

Let’s Talk Comfort Food Books:

My personal recipe for the ultimate comfort book includes: A quirky Southern town, a touch of magic, romance (obvi), and baking.

Midnight at the Blackbird Cafe definitely delivered all these elements and if your comfort book recipe is similar to mine than I suggest you go ahead and read this delightful little book before reading the rest of this review. Because while it delivered on many of those aspects, it unfortunately fell short for me.

Let’s Talk Too Much To Chew:

I wanted to fall in love with this lighthearted novel, but in my opinion it fell victim to biting off more than it could chew. Following two women with their own host of past pain, trauma, burgeoning senses of self, and blooming love interests in just over 300 pages … was probably a poor choice.

Because there was very little room for these storylines to develop, each stole bits and pieces from the other ending up with characters (especially the love interests) that were fairly interchangeable. The book was a split perspective between the two women, but neither of their voices were very distinguishable from the other. I truly feel that if we had simply focused on Anna Kate this novel would have really shone.

Further topics of grief, complicated familial relationships, PTSD, anxiety, and counselling should have brought some great character depth and connection but it just smacked into the constraints of this itty bitty book and further muddled the plot. Leaving none of these hard topics handled very well, often at times resorting to cliche, and further, tying them up neatly, quickly, and succinctly. Personally, I felt it did a disservice to those who suffer (as I do personally) with many of these challenges.

Overall Thoughts:

While Midnight at the Blackbird Cafe had all the elements I look for in a lighthearted magical realism: southern charm, a touch of romance, a dash of magic … it just failed to truly charm me. Ultimately it was hindered by too much story, not enough time. There wasn’t enough space to follow and connect to the two central women and their individual collection of past secrets, pain, healing and blooming romances. I found their respective love interests to be rather interchangeable and, at times, they themselves. It is still a sweet, light story that will definitely fit the bill between heavy books … but I feel there are better in this genre.

TBR Ranking: Middle

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Cheryl
Cherylhttps://www.aotales.com
Welcome to And other tales. The little corner of the interweb where we don’t count cups of coffee, believe cancelling plans to stay home & read is just good life advice, refuse to acknowledge the calories in baked goods and will never judge you on the number of marshmallows in your hot chocolate or the size of your TBR piles. Curl up, get comfy and click through for book reviews, life chats, playlists, vegan & gluten free baking recipes, gift guides and more.
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