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Midnight at the Blackbird Cafe: A Novel de…
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Midnight at the Blackbird Cafe: A Novel (edição: 2020)

de Heather Webber (Autor)

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2142095,841 (4.03)7
Heather Webber'sMidnight at the Blackbird Cafe is a captivating blend of magical realism, heartwarming romance, and small-town Southern charm. 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.… (mais)
Membro:LedyardLibrary
Título:Midnight at the Blackbird Cafe: A Novel
Autores:Heather Webber (Autor)
Informação:Forge Books (2020), Edition: Reprint, 336 pages
Coleções:Sua biblioteca
Avaliação:
Etiquetas:AF Romance

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Midnight at the Blackbird Café de Heather Webber

Adicionado recentemente porArina42, biblioteca privada, booklady2031, ReneSchwartz, michellemerendo, Gingersnap000, Karamel_Empire, ldingus
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Mostrando 1-5 de 20 (seguinte | mostrar todas)
Sweet story about finding your roots and your family.
Anna Kate’s grandmother died and the tens of her will require that she return to Wicklow, Alabama to run The Blackbird Cafe for at least 2 months. Anna Kate’s mother, Eden, had died a few years earlier, but never wanted to return to Wicklow because of how she had been treated by the Linden family after their son (Eden’s boyfriend) had been killed in a car accident when she was driving. No one knew Eden was pregnant when she left town.
When Anna Kate returns to Winslow, prior to going to medical school, to fulfill the terms of the will, she and the townspeople get messages from the blackbirds that appear at midnight, from eating the pies served at the cafe, and from the magical stories that Eden and Zee told Anna Kate.
The small town shows itself through kindness to Anna Kate, but will she be able to overcome the feelings her mother instilled in her about the town, and what decisions will she make about her future?
#MidnightAtTheBlackbirdCafe #HeatherWebber ( )
  rmarcin | Jan 3, 2021 |
This was a beautifully narrated audiobook. I truly enjoyed getting to know the characters that flocked around the Blackbird Cafe waiting for a slice of pie. I was intrigued by the family secrets and relationships between the people in this small southern town. The slow pace felt natural and kept me engaged with the characters. However, there were a few plot points that felt very contrived in the way that they were resolved which significantly affected how I felt about the ending. It felt like there was a lot missing from the story especially concerning the blackbirds. And then some other things were too neatly tied up in ways that didn't entirely make sense. Overall, I still very much enjoyed the story though.

Popsugar 2021 - A book set in a restaurant ( )
1 vote NCDonnas | Jan 2, 2021 |
Picked this number up from my local library. The title and cover caught my attention and said "Read Me". Did not want to put it down. Some mystery. Some romance. Some history. Love this book. Will look into other books by Heather Webber. Highly recommend this novel. ( )
  RavinScarface | Dec 13, 2020 |
A coworker recommended this book to me and it sounded right up my alley. It certainly was, as it is like a combination of a cozy mystery and a Hallmark Channel movie made into a book. But, it does have major flaws. Another case of good idea, poor execution.

Let's start with the good: This book was very readable, the writing was good, the town was fun and interesting, the character growth mostly felt believable and natural, and I wanted to see what happened.

That being said, however, for me there were significant gaps in the magical realism areas, which I think were hidden by those good things, and there were some things that just didn't work for me. And, sorry to say, these things can't be excused by "suspending reality" because things still have to make sense, not be impeded by one another, and not disprove themselves.

These are my main complaints:

* All the talk of "destiny" is very fanciful and appealing, but in the end was utter nonsense and invalidated in numerous ways. To name a few:

** It isn't "destiny" when Zee, Jena, and Bow are orchestrating and (especially in Jena and Bow's cases) manipulating everything, even with Bow going so far as to burn down part of the cafe to get Anna Kate to "realize" what she would be missing. Seriously? Their guilt over causing the accident with Anna Kate's parents which then caused all the rifts between the families basically meant they were going to do anything and everything (which very suddenly became an emergency after doing basically nothing for over 20 years, mind you) they could to get things the way they were "supposed" to have been if the accident had never happened? I think they are trying to make sure that Anna Kate makes up with the Lindens because otherwise she would leave and sell the cafe and not make pies anymore and the trees would die, yadayada, and that could be disastrous (given a whispered conversation that Anna Kate overhears, but of course is never explained), but WHY would Jena and Bow even care about that and why are they involved in the first place? They act like it's life and death, but took over 20 years to do anything about it and never explained to Anne Kate what happens if the trees die, which honestly I think is something we all would've liked to know because I am still stuck in "who even cares" mode (more on that later).

** The whole "daughters always return" destiny theory is mentioned over and over, but Eden never returned, disproving that.

** I grow weary of the plot where someone dies, leaves a stipulation in their will that the inheritor must drop everything to stay for a period of time in the house or business before they inherit, and inevitably the inheritor remains in the new situation because the inheritor seemingly knew what was "best" for them. I think this is the third book I've read recently with this in it: Matchmaking for Beginners comes to mind, and also the English Cottage Garden Mysteries series. These scenarios manipulated and engineered by well-meaning family and friends are not destiny, but are always touted as such.

* Jena and Bow are never explained!! We (the audience, not anyone in the book, IIRC) learn they are the phoebe bird and the cat, respectively, but it is never explained who/what they are, why they can shapeshift, why they were even around when they caused the car crash, why a cat and bird are mated like a couple, or what a cat and a non-blackbird have to do with anything in the story. None of this is explained. Like, at all. Honestly, I wish these two had just been left out altogether. They weren't necessary, over-complicated things, and were irritating and pushy. I didn't really like them at all near the end.

* Also not really explained was all the reporter stuff. We never got to read the article he wrote (I thought it would be included at the end as an epilogue!) or really understand what happened with all of that. Could also have been left out, IMO.

* I almost stopped reading in the first third because of the:

** Constant repetition of how much Eden hated the Lindens and how much the Lindens hated Eden. I get it. It's been established. Yeesh. This eventually got better, but it was seriously rammed down our throats for a while with no reprieve.

** Inability of Anna Kate to just get over the whole "ma'am" thing, which we had to hear about basically any time someone talks to her. Get over it. YOU ARE IN THE SOUTH THIS IS HOW PEOPLE ADDRESS YOU THERE. She finally stopped being upset over it, but it took longer than it should have.

* Anna Kate's inability to decide what to do and staunchly sticking to her ridiculous promise to her dead mother to be a doctor when it was so obvious (as we expected) that that isn't what she wanted grew tiresome. The book probably could have been 50 pages shorter if she had gotten there sooner, so it just felt like it dragged on to add length and "suspense." It kind of made me lose all respect for Anna Kate, honestly, that it took her so long to finally let all that go. ALSO, on this topic, I will say I am VERY surprised it never occurred to Anna Kate that she could have still done (and was doing) something medical-esque by simply acknowledging that she a healer who used natural ways instead of Western ways! I thought she was going to realize she could DO BOTH things by having the cafe and also selling the herbal remedies she'd been making in Marcy's shop on consignment or something. Seems like an obvious miss to me?

* I have a lot of issues with the mechanics of the whole bird/pie/tree thing. Not enough attention was paid to really explaining all of that. This has all the issues of almost every book I've read that has a curse and or a prophecy in it: the author is too close to the material (which is clear her their head) to be able to anticipate where it won't make sense to the audience (who does not have all of their information, so it is never clear in our heads). This is where my mind goes to unanswered questions:

** Vague "Celtic" roots. >.> Very similar to the "gypsy" or "fairy" magic in other books where it gives you an excuse to basically do whatever you want with the magic without having to really explain how it works, why it's there, why they have it, what the point is, etc. Similar to The Snow Witch and all the issues I had with the "magic" in that book.

** Sorry but I don't get the connection between the pies, the bird, and the trees. I get the SUPERFICIAL explanation we are given, the circular relationship of the trees providing the berries, the berries are processed and baked into pies by the guardians and the townspeople eat the pies, for whatever reason the eating of the pies causes the birds to sing their songs so the people who ate the pies then get messages from loved ones and the trees get the love they need to be healthy so they can provide the berries. But that doesn't explain WHY any of these things are connected to each other or matter to each other.

** For a long time, it wasn't clear to me whether the singing IS the messages that sort of "float" to the people who ate the pies OR if the singing is IN ADDITION TO the messages. Eventually I concluded that since the birds still appeared even when the pies were "wrong" and the people didn't get their messages those nights, it seems like the singing is for the trees and the messages are for the pie-eaters, but there were still other times when those things seemed to blend right.

**Everyone always seems to get a message from the exact person they want to hear from! How is this even possible?? Not once did someone hear from their third cousin twice removed that they had never met or something like that. You don't have to say a special chant before you eat the pie to intone the name of who you want to hear from or something like that. There is no explanation for how the dead relatives know you want to hear from them exactly, and the messages seem dependent on the person so it isn't just that any relative can deliver any message you "need" to hear.

** So there are 24 blackbirds. If this is a "centuries old" guardianship of this family, surely there have to be more than 24 women in Anna Kate's family. Is it always the same 24?Clearly not, because Zee becomes one and visits Anna Kate. Does that mean she bumped the "oldest" bird out of her place? If so, what happens to that bird, then? Or if it is always different people "in" the birds, how do they know which "people" to send? Is it a 1:1 ratio of messages, like only one message per bird? What if more than or fewer than 24 people ate pie? What if the family legacy leaves no female relative one generation, or several generations? Do the bird numbers decrease? Where do the others go who aren't part of the 24? Why is it always 24, aside from the arbitrary correlation to the nursery rhyme?

** The birds aren't BAKED into the pie!! I am not saying that's what I wanted to have happened, what I am saying is that there is really no connection to the nursery rhyme, other than the author thought "four and twenty blackbirds" sounded cool. "Four and twenty" blackbirds show up on a mulberry tree. NOT in the pie. And there is no mulberry tree in the rhyme. It's "when the pie was opened the birds begin to sing," not "randomly Anna Kate's ancestor used a mulberry syrup in a pie, had people eat it, opened a gateway for her dead ancestors, and 24 blackbirds flew out and sang to keep the tree alive and gave messages to people who missed their dead ancestors." It is so complex and weird that I don't even understand why this would have started at all, why a tree would thrive on songs, how the syrup in the pie tells the message people who to give their messages to, etc.

** Why would Zee tell Summer all the family secrets? Aren't only guardians supposed to know? That seems like a bit of a betrayal of the family code there. I get that SOMEone had to know and I get that Zee needed help with the berries, but she didn't need to make the syrup in front of Summer or show her where the syrups were hidden and aside from all of that WHY DIDN'T SHE JUST TELL ANNA KATE ALL OF THIS STUFF WHEN SHE WAS STILL ALIVE FOR CRIPE'S SAKE???

** I touched on this a little earlier, but one reason I really dislike these kind of "heritage" things is it assumes one will leave a "legacy" of children (in this case, specifically female children) behind to keep it going, no matter what. What if Anna Kate can't or doesn't have children of her own? What if she does, but they don't want to keep it up? What if the child is adopted? Who gets it if another female from that family is unwilling or can't do it, or simply doesn't exist at all? And why is it their family at all to begin with?

** All of which leads me to: who cares if the birds never come back or sing, who cares if the people don't get their messages (better that way IMO), who cares if the trees die. What is the point?? What, exactly, is the benefit of doing this crazy scheme every day forever or the consequence of not doing this crazy scheme every day forever? Zee "explains" it as: "...the bonds of love are only strengthened when someone leaves this earth, not diminished. Some have trouble understanding that, so it's the pie that determines who's in need of a messages, a reminding, if you will." That's all very "deep," but it makes absolutely no sense. There are better ways to teach people about how to cope with grief over a lost loved one than pies that allow them to live in denial. Not to mention the fact that it seems like it is always assumed that someone who eats a pie understands what it's going to do and no one warns the people who don't know, they just have a twinkle in their eye like it's such a great and fun secret, but I thought it sounded awfully violating to eat a pie and not realize what it would do—imagine how that could actually set someone who had moved on with their life BACK into turmoil! The dead relative apparently "decides" that you "need" a message, so conceivably you could eat a pie and not get a message, but what if you did get one without your "consent" of knowingly eating the pie? It can't be assumed that the dead relative is doing it for the right reasons or that it won't backfire. None of this is love or healing! I realized early on what was going on, and I was not comfortable with it. At least some characters in the book realize this, and Anna Kate eventually, but not enough for her to stop making these pies, despite, in my opinion, the questionable morality surrounding them. She doesn't seem to realize that the way she and her family help people has nothing to do with trees/pies/birds! They make herbal medicines and give good advice, which in my opinion works way better and is actually from a place of love.

It is not enough for the special pies to be made, they have to the eaten, and the only reason to eat them is the lure that you will get a message from a dead relative you are still mourning, and the only reason reason to have people eat them is to make sure the birds sing to keep the trees alive. Basically, the conclusion I came to is this: Anna Kate's family acts like their motives are altruistic ("helping other people heal"), but really it is about a parasitic relationship in which Anna Kate's family uses the townspeople's grief to keep the trees alive for no discernible reason or benefit. This is the opposite of healing, which disproves the whole premise of this book for me. I was at 3.5 stars until I had this epiphany, which has brought it down to 3 stars. I knew there was something niggling at me over why, despite liking this book, it bothered me so much. That is it. ( )
1 vote wordcauldron | Aug 14, 2020 |
The first book I read, many years ago, with magical realism in it was Like Water for Chocolate by Laura Esquivel, and I was instantly hooked on this genre. Midnight at the Blackbird Cafe by Heather Webber is a welcome addition to the genre, and I’m looking forward to reading South of the Buttonwood Tree by Webber, which just recently came out, since this one was so good.

The story is told by the points of view of Anna Kate and Natalie, two women who are very close in age, come from very different backgrounds, but share a huge thing in common… although their mother’s decided to keep it from them. When they come back to Wicklow, Alabama, where the pace is slower and everyone knows everything about everyone, they find love and a mystery waiting for them.

Over the course of the book, Anna Kate and Natlie both have to come to terms with a lot of things including mistrust, family secrets, and their own secrets. And they do so amongst a dying town that is fast filling up with bird watchers come to see the 24 blackbirds that sing for one hour every night.

The magical realism is interwoven throughout the entire book and adds a bit of whimsy while leaving the reader with a bit more knowledge about herbs and other good things in nature and life. This is a very sweet book that leaves you with the warm fuzzies and wanting to look for the magic in your own life. ( )
  KimHeniadis | Aug 1, 2020 |
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Lind, BethanyNarradorautor secundárioalgumas ediçõesconfirmado
Techosky, NicholasNarradorautor secundárioalgumas ediçõesconfirmado
Willis, StephanieNarradorautor secundárioalgumas ediçõesconfirmado
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Heather Webber'sMidnight at the Blackbird Cafe is a captivating blend of magical realism, heartwarming romance, and small-town Southern charm. 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.

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