Midnight at the Blackbird Café by Heather Webber
Adult Fiction > Contemporary; Magical Realism
Nestled in the mountains of Alabama lies the town of Wicklow. It is here that Anna Kate has returned to bury her beloved Granny Zee, owner of the popular Blackbird Café.
It was supposed to be a quick trip to close the café and settle her grandmother’s estate, but a provision in Zee’s will has Anna Kate staying put to run the café through the summer. Despite her best intentions to avoid estranged family or form lies with the quirky locals, Anna Kate finds herself drawn to this small Southern town and the mystery surrounded why her mother ran away so many years ago.
As the truth of Anna Kate’s heritage slowly becomes clear, Anna Kate will need to decided if this lone blackbird will finally be able to take her broken wings and fly.
Any Trigger Warnings?
Loss of a loved one and dealing with grief
My first physical arc!! Well, one of the first. Technically I got three, but this is the first one I’m reading!
(Primarily because it’s being released soon and ya girl needs to get on it!)
A huge thank you goes out to Brianna from Wunderkind for sending me this book!
Thoughts While Reading
“I’ve never had blackbird pie”
“My grandma makes those!”
“I’m sorry, what”
“Sure she did”
“Wait what the hell is going on”
“I would already die for her”
“. . . Cute”
That was just what I needed.
Favorite Quote(s) from the Novel
“That a person you love is never truly gone — they’re always there, whether it’s in a memory . . . or a dream. Or in a heart.”— Summer Pavegeau, page 291
Anna Kate (aka, the girl who is just trying to figure out what she wants and what the hell to put into the blackbird pie)
I really enjoyed Anna Kate’s character. She’s a young woman in her mid-twenties who dropped everything to move into her deceased grandmother’s apartment and run her bakery. But she’s also trying to figure out the truth behind what happened to her father that she never knew and how her mother may or may not play a roll in it, all while avoiding her father’s very prominent family — who didn’t even know she existed.
I thought Anna Kate was a very endearing person. She was so quick to help the community and keep any promise she made. She’s so pure with a heart of gold.
Natalie (aka, the girl who is also just trying to figure out her life, raise a kid, and not throw hands at her mom)
Natalie deserves a metal for all the bullshit she’s had to put up with.
From her mother ignoring her for most of her life, to her husband’s death, and then to her having to deal with the gossip of Wicklow, Natalie has a lot on her plate and that doesn’t even include raising a daughter.
Natalie is also a very sweet character. She’s learning to be more independent — to stand up for herself — and is trying to be the mother that her daughter, Ollie, deserves.
As Natalie and Anna Kate’s relationship blossoms, it’s noticeable how different Natalie is from her mother and how imperative it was that Anna Kate and Natalie knew each other.
Magical Realism !!!
This is actually my first book that qualifies as magical realism! And I didn’t even realize it until looking at the genres on Goodreads — like I always do because an irrational fear of mine is labelling a book as something that it’s not. I don’t know, guys, I’m weird. This book helped me discover that I really enjoy magical realism!
In this particular story, our magical element lies with blackbirds. Edgy.
But! In this novel, a certain bloodline descended from the Celtics act as the guardians of the Land of the Dead. In the hours between midnight and one a.m., 24 blackbirds gather on two twin trees and sing their song. When these woman bake a certain pie, those that eat it will dream of messages from their loved ones from beyond the grave, at the same time at which the blackbirds sing.
And, of course, they have to eat a special recipe, with a secret ingredient, of blackbird pie.
This magical portion of the story took this small town tale and turned it into something bigger and immensely enjoyable.
It’s Just a Feel Good Story
This book was exactly what I needed. It was heartwarming and had a lot of really good messages.
My only complaint is that you knew what was going to happen before the end came, in regards to a certain situation. But, I do think that was necessary for a lot of character development, so honestly, don’t listen to me.
Stuff I Want to Scream About?
- I actually liked these character pretty much the same which is unusual for me. When I’m reading a book with multiple perspectives, I find that there’s usually one or two characters whose chapters I prefer over the others. But with this book, I looked forward to all of their chapters.
- The romances took a backset. It was solely about each of the main character’s growths as individuals and I truly appreciated that.
- Ollie was fricking adorable. Love that kid.
This book was exactly what I was looking for this summer. Something that would make me think, but was also pretty light. Perfect for summer reading.
Would/Will I Continue the Series?
This is a standalone, and I think I’m good with this story. It would be cool for a book every generation though, but I’m just spitballing.
Who Should Read This Novel
Those who are grieving. And those who want to see a little more magic in the world.
What’s your favorite bird?
- Crows (shocker) and ravens!!!