This month our book group Novel Conversations picked culinary stories for our genre. We didn't limit it to just cozy mysteries, where a very great lot of books with food seem to be. I mean, I could have read six culinary mysteries without leaving my house, there are so many available. Instead, I picked this new book.
This is one of those women stories where family wounds are found and healed. Anna Kate lived with her mother, a woman who was always moving. Anna had no idea what her mother was looking for, only that they had to keep moving. During her childhood, her mother stresses two things: she should never go to Wicklow and she should never have anything to do with her father's family, the Lindens.
Anna Kate's mother died. Before she did, she made Anna Kate promise to go to medical school and become the doctor her father couldn't. He'd died in a single car accident before Anna Kate had been born. That accident caused her mother to leave Wicklow, swearing never to return. Anna Kate was perfectly happy to go to medical school. She had no reason to ever go to Wicklow, until one day her Grandmother died and left her the Blackbird Cafe.
The chief offering of the Blackbird Cafe was Blackbird Pie, which could allow the eater to dream of relatives who had passed on. During these dreams, the relative would give the dreamer messages. Or so the legend said. People who ate the pies claimed to have such dreams. There were a few other parts of the legend concerning the blackbirds. It was all very charming.
This book is small town writ large. All the interconnections of the residents are shown, especially as they flow through the cafe. Family secrets, griefs, dreams and potentials are on display. This is a typical southern small town as it reclaims one of its own. I enjoyed each reveal as it came. The story is told through the eyes of two woman, Anna Kate and her Aunt, a woman just slightly older than Anna. The back and forth between the two women, the one who left and the one who stayed, drives the narrative. I completely enjoyed this store.
No blackbirds were injured in the making of blackbird pie, which is actually made of blackberries.