Midnight at the Blackbird Cafe follows two main characters: Anna Kate and Natalie. When Anna Kate’s grandmother passes away, she returns to her family’s hometown, a small Alabama town called Wicklow, to take over Granny Zee’s cafe. She’s only planning on staying for the summer, but she has some long-time family drama to unravel.
Meanwhile, Natalie returns to Wicklow with her young daughter after her husband dies in a tragic accident. While she’s working on gaining her independence, she has to live with her parents, and try to reconcile with her mother, who never got over Natalie’s brother’s death.
I enjoyed this one! It was the perfect beach read. Webber’s writing flows well, and I found myself impressed by how well she handles such a large cast of characters. Wicklow is charming, and the people fun and quirky (think Stars Hollow in Gilmore Girls). I especially enjoyed reading from Anna Kate’s POV as she bakes pies and learns about her family. The themes of grief, losing a family member, and reconnecting with family are resonant throughout the book.
Midnight at the Blackbird Cafe is considered magical realism, but unlike some other magical realism books I’ve read, I would consider this one lightly magical realism; the cafe and pies are the only real elements.
While I think Webber’s dialogue is overall written very well, there were definitely some melodramatic speeches that weren’t very realistic. I also wanted to get to know the two love interests better; I feel like their characters sputtered out too much by the end. And there was a weird tie in with a cat at the end that was strange and not entirely explained. Lastly, there was also a reference that Natalie was a part of the Daughters of the Confederacy (yikes!)
Other than that, I think if you’re looking for an easy, heartwarming book set in a charming Southern town with lots of descriptions of pie, then I’ll think you’ll enjoy this one.