Summary (from the publisher): 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.
My Rating: 4.5/5 Stars
Everyone knows that my love for baking extends beyond the kitchen, as I absolutely love books with any type of baking or food-ish setting. Enter Heather Webber’s Midnight at the Blackbird Café, following Anna Kate’s stay in small town Alabama in the wake of her grandmother’s death. Putting her medical school aspirations on hold, Grandma Zee’s will requires Anna Kate to run the Blackbird Café for two months. This time allows Anna Kate to get to know her grandmother’s quirky Southern town and solve at least two mysteries: the accident that caused her father’s death and her mother’s estrangement from the town since, and why everyone is obsessed with her grandmother’s blackbird pie.
Midnight at the Blackbird Café completely delivered for all the right reasons. While this book caught my attention for its titular café, Heather Webber’s latest release is more than just a book about a girl who is left to run a small town café. Heather Webber delves into so many heavy themes in this book, including loss, grief and trauma through multiple characters.
Although I’d argue that this book is truly Anna Kate’s story, the book is also told from Natalie, another young woman who has just returned to Wicklow a fterexperiencing loss herself. I really enjoyed the balance between these two perspectives and found that they had their own distinctive voices. While mostly narrated from Anna Kate and Natalie, readers really get pulled into small town life and get to know all of the secondary characters. Like most small towns, Anna Kate and Natalie are pulled into so many secrets and hidden pasts, especially in light of Anna Kate trying to figure out the bad blood between her mother and her father’s family. While heart-breaking at times, there’s plenty of heart-warming moments and support for Anna Kate from Wicklow (including an attractive man who knows a good fried chicken recipe).
I never knew that I needed a book with Southern charm so badly until I picked up Midnight at the Blackbird Café. This book reminded me of one of my favorite Netflix binge TV-shows, Hart of Dixie! There are just so many similar elements between the two-in the TV show, a young doctor leaves NYC to live in Alabama and help run her estranged father’s medical practice in the wake of his death.
Midnight at the Blackbird Café screams cozy, with many thanks to the Blackbird Café. I didn’t realize how much I needed to incorporate zucchini into my baking life until reading this book. As the cover may suggest, pie is at the heart of the Blackbird Café. I’m so happy that I read this book during the fall, aka the start of the holiday season aka pie season. While I am a bit of a classic pie lover (give me all the apple pie you have), Midnight at the Blackbird Café may be sending me to the store ASAP to find the best berries possible to take my own attempt at blackbird pie.
As mentioned above, however, the book does tackle some heavy themes. Heather Webber provides a nice balance between those cozier moments at the café and the tension in Anna Kate and Natalie’s lives. What helps create a lighter atmosphere in the midst of all the loss and grief is magical realism. While I admit that I was nervous about this element going in, it really fit the story well. The “magic”/magical realist element (I’ll let you figure out if the answer is in the pie or not…) was not complicated in the least bit and didn’t really take away from Anna Kate and the character’s personal journeys and plot lines. The magical realism really brings the story together, connecting Anna Kate to her family history and Wicklow in ways she never expected.
Overall, Midnight at the Blackbird Café has the perfect blend of self-growth, family, romance, mystery and of course, food! If you love cozy books, baking, or books with ensembles, then Midnight at the Blackbird Café is the one for you. This book will leave you craving more books with cozy settings and a slice of pie or two.
I received this title from the publisher in exchange for review. By no means did receiving this book affect my thoughts or opinions.
Have you read Midnight at the Blackbird Café? Have you read any books by Heather Webber? What are some of your favorite books that feature baking? Share in the comments!