Midnight at the Blackbird Café
Heather Webber's Midnight 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.At the Publisher's request, this title is being sold without Digital Rights Management Software (DRM) applied.

Midnight at the Blackbird Café Details

TitleMidnight at the Blackbird Café
Author
ReleaseJul 16th, 2019
PublisherForge Books
ISBN-139781250198600
Rating
GenreFiction, Magical Realism, Romance, Fantasy, Contemporary, Womens Fiction

Midnight at the Blackbird Café Review

  • Marilyn
    January 1, 1970
    A Wonderful Book About Family, Friends, Love, a Past and a New FutureMidnight at the Blackbird Cafe by Heather Webber was a well written book. I was drawn in right from the start. It allowed me to forget about everything else and immerse myself in the lives of the characters in this story. A cozy, comforting feeling surrounded me as I read Midnight at the Blackbird Cafe. By the end of the story, I felt like I knew each character and felt a kinship with them. The story alternately focused on Anna A Wonderful Book About Family, Friends, Love, a Past and a New FutureMidnight at the Blackbird Cafe by Heather Webber was a well written book. I was drawn in right from the start. It allowed me to forget about everything else and immerse myself in the lives of the characters in this story. A cozy, comforting feeling surrounded me as I read Midnight at the Blackbird Cafe. By the end of the story, I felt like I knew each character and felt a kinship with them. The story alternately focused on Anna Kate Callow and Natalie Linden Walker.The story began in Wicklow, Alabama located in the northeast part of the state. It was a small, intimate southern town where everyone knew everyone else. There was something quite special and unique about Wicklow, though. In the mulberry trees right beside The Blackbird Cafe, blackbirds lived and only appeared between midnight and one a.m. When anyone who was lucky enough to hear them sing their beautiful song knew it was something that they would never forget. There was something else that even the locals flocked to Blackbird Cafe for on a regular basis. The homemade blackberry pie was known to allow their recipients to hear the voices of their loved ones that had departed while they slept. Some thought this very comforting and made it a ritual. It was in this town that Anna Kate arrived to bury her beloved grandmother, Zee. This was Anna Kate's first time in Wicklow even though her mother had lived there most of her life until she was 17. Her mother, now deceased, had made Anna Kate promise that she would never go back to Wicklow. A long time ago, while living in Wicklow, something very tragic happened to her mother and she left Wicklow never to go back. Twenty-five years ago, there was a car accident that killed her mother's boyfriend who was also Anna Kate's father. Her mother was blamed by her boyfriend's family for killing their son. Her mother pledged never to go back. Remembering the promise Anna Kate had made to her mother, Anna Kate was anxious to settle her grandmother's estate, sell the Blackbird Cafe and return to Massachusetts where she was enrolled in medical school for the fall semester. When the terms of the will were revealed to Anna Kate, though, she learned that she had to remain in Wicklow and run the cafe for sixty days before she could settle her grandmother's estate and collect her inheritance. Knowing how her mother felt about this place, Anna Kate was not at all happy about the stipulations of the will. Anna Kate decided to give running the cafe a chance. None of the locals had ever met Anna Kate and so she quickly became the center of attention and their curiosity was awoken. Neither of which appealed to Anna Kate but she immersed herself full- heartily in trying to fill her grandmother's shoes by running the Blackbird Cafe and making the famous blackbird pies and trying to learn everything she could about her father.At her grandmother's funeral, Anna Kate was greeted by many of the people of Wicklow. Everyone had something nice to say about Zee and wanted to know more about Anna Kate. Was she planning on staying? Why had they never met her before? Perhaps the most unusual occurrence of all was the flock of blackbirds that appeared at Zee's funeral to pay their respects to her. The blackbirds had been spotted swooping their way through town heading to Zee's funeral. When Anna Kate was a little girl her grandmother used to tell her stories about the blackbirds. The story went "Once upon a time, there was a family of Celtic women with healing hands and giving hearts, who knew the value of the earth and used its abundance to heal, to soothe, to comfort. Doing so filled their souls with peace and happiness. Those women held a secret." "The women are guardians of a place where, under midnight skies, spirits cross from this world through a mystical passageway to the Land of the Dead." Her grandmother often told her that it was the job of "us guardians to tend the trees, nurture them, and gather their love to bake into pies to serve those who mourn, those left behind.' Anna Kate had learned from her grandmother that the blackbirds played an important part in her heritage and who she was. Therefore, it was only fitting that the blackbirds appeared at Zee's funeral. None of the locals even questioned it but the tourists were baffled.' This phenomenon led to an unusual amount of bird watchers and tourists arriving in Wicklow. They wanted to have a chance of seeing the blackbirds. Wicklow, soon became a lot busier than usual.Natalie Linden Walker came back to Wicklow after her husband drowned and left her a widow. Her husband had lost his job and accumulated lots of debt before he drowned and died. Natalie knew nothing of his financial worries. Having had to sell off everything to settle her dead husband's debt, Natalie and her young daughter, Ollie (Olivia Leigh) found themselves living in her parent's guest cottage. As a result of all the trauma Natalie had experienced when her husband died, she was experiencing panic attacks. She made sure she and Ollie stayed away from any kind of body of water, too. Natalie's mother, Seelie Earl Linden, never approved of Natalie's husband. Natalie and her mother hadn't had a good relationship from the time Natalie was a toddler. After losing her eighteen year old son in that tragic car accident, Seelie wrapped herself in a cocoon of grief. Her once warm, loving relationship with Natalie, who was three when her brother died, became one that had frozen Natalie out of her life. There was "a stone-cold silence" in place of smiles, hugs and kisses. Natalie, had heard over the years, that eating the blackberry pie made at the Blackberry Cafe, allowed a person who had lost a love one the opportunity to hear from the deceased in their dreams. Natalie was never sure if her husband's drowning had been an accident or suicide. She needed to know to move on. Natalie was convinced she would find out the truth by eating the blackberry pie. There was one big obstacle though. The Lindens and the Callows were not on speaking terms. No member of the Linden family had stepped into the Blackbird Cafe since the accident.When each of my parents passed away there was a moment when days after they died they allowed me to see them one more time for an instant. It was comforting. Memories always allow us to hold our dear ones that have departed close to us forever. They are never far from our thoughts.This is the first book I have read by Heather Webber. The characters were rich, complex and most likable. As the plot of Midnight at the Blackbird Cafe developed their was the underlying factor of family being most important. There was anger, grief, love, forgiveness and letting go of the past. Both Anna Kate and Natalie had to learn to do what was good and right for them, not what everyone expected or wanted them to do. I hope there is a sequel to this book. It could most certainly be a mini series on Netflix. I highly recommend Midnight at the Blackbird Cafe by Heather Webber.
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  • Vickie
    January 1, 1970
    I love this book. I have been a fan of Heather Blake/Heather Webber for almost ten years. I love her paranormal cozy and gardening cozy series, but this is a whole new kind of love of a story from this author. If you need a comparison to a style or genre for this book, think along the lines of Sarah Addison Allen or Fannie Flagg. It's described as Southern magical realism, but it's also about relationships, forgiveness, hurt, growth, change, coming home, love, friendship, understanding....I love I love this book. I have been a fan of Heather Blake/Heather Webber for almost ten years. I love her paranormal cozy and gardening cozy series, but this is a whole new kind of love of a story from this author. If you need a comparison to a style or genre for this book, think along the lines of Sarah Addison Allen or Fannie Flagg. It's described as Southern magical realism, but it's also about relationships, forgiveness, hurt, growth, change, coming home, love, friendship, understanding....I loved the acceptance of things as they were, though some had a rough path to follow to get there. There are two or more voices telling the story and it's well done. It moves the story along and each voice must be heard. The small town is full of people who have a voice in the story too and they are heard. I know this is a stand-alone novel, but how I wish it were the start of a series. Or the town of Wicklow really existed so I could visit and see the blackbirds, visit the Blackbird Cafe and meet Anna Kate, Ollie, Natalie, Seelie, Cam, Gideon, Faylene, grumpy Mr. Lazenby...I absolutely, positively can highly recommend this book and this author.
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  • Alison
    January 1, 1970
    This was one of those books that pulls you in before you even realize it's happened. I started it, thought I liked it fine but didn't love it, kept reading it, and then put it down for a few hours - and my thoughts kept wandering back to it. Turns out I liked it a lot more than I first thought. It seems fitting, almost, given the trajectory and plot of the book, and the recurring theme of the central town taking hold of you and not letting you go.
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  • Elizabeth of Silver's Reviews
    January 1, 1970
    Can you really leave Wicklow once you have spent time there?Anna Kate came back for her grandmother's funeral and stayed in Wicklow because she was required to spend sixty days there to inherit The Blackbird Cafe. Anna's mother vowed to NEVER return to Wicklow, and Anna finds out why as the days pass.Was her mother wrong, though?The characters all seemed lovable and were folks you would want to have in your life except for a few of them.As you read, you will feel the warmth of the small town, bu Can you really leave Wicklow once you have spent time there?Anna Kate came back for her grandmother's funeral and stayed in Wicklow because she was required to spend sixty days there to inherit The Blackbird Cafe. Anna's mother vowed to NEVER return to Wicklow, and Anna finds out why as the days pass.Was her mother wrong, though?The characters all seemed lovable and were folks you would want to have in your life except for a few of them.As you read, you will feel the warmth of the small town, but also the grudges that some characters can’t let go of.The blackbird legend was interesting, and the blackbird pies sounded yummy even though Anna was still trying to figure out the secret ingredient her grandmother would never reveal.Midnight in Wicklow was magical because of the legend of the blackbirds and what they did for those who ate the pie and heard them singing.MIDNIGHT AT THE BLACKBIRD CAFE was a cozy, nostalgic read that will have you wanting to be in that adorable, loving town and visiting The Blackbird Cafe.The book was also filled with secrets, characters with regrets, love, and characters who will steal your heart.If you need an uplifting read, be sure to put MIDNIGHT AT THE BLACKBIRD CAFE on your reading list.A truly enjoyable, sweet read that will have you examining your choices and have you reaching for the tissue box because of the hominess and love oozing from the pages. 5/5This book was given to me as an ARC by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.
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  • Rebecca
    January 1, 1970
    While in town for her grandmother’s funeral, Anna Kate learns that in order to fully inherit her Granny Zee's Blackbird Café, she must run it for two months. Meanwhile, Natalie, a young widow and mother to a two year daughter, Ollie, has returned to the small, southern town where she grew up and where everybody knows everybody... and their business. Natalie doesn’t get along with her mother but has nowhere else to go. Besides being new to Wicklow, what else do the two women have in common? How w While in town for her grandmother’s funeral, Anna Kate learns that in order to fully inherit her Granny Zee's Blackbird Café, she must run it for two months. Meanwhile, Natalie, a young widow and mother to a two year daughter, Ollie, has returned to the small, southern town where she grew up and where everybody knows everybody... and their business. Natalie doesn’t get along with her mother but has nowhere else to go. Besides being new to Wicklow, what else do the two women have in common? How will their lives intersect and intertwine?Last but not least, there are also four and twenty rare blackbirds who live in a mulberry tree right outside the café. How do they play into the story? And is it true that the blackbird pie served at the cafe is magical and provides those who eat it with a special message from a deceased loved one? "Under midnight skies, Blackbirds sing, Loving notes, Baked in pies, Under midnight skies."I "flocking" LOVED this rich, vibrant, and charming story that touched on so many themes including love, grief, romance, forgiveness, and letting go of past hurts. This book left me craving sweet tea, sad to leave Wicklow's inhabitants, and yearning to taste blackbird pie in order to receive a message from my own dearly departed mother. The book's dedication definitely applies to me: "For everyone who wishes they could eat a piece of blackbird pie.""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."Location: Wicklow, Alabama"I stepped inside [the library] and immediately felt at ease, as though in the presence of close friends among the many books with their colorful spines, the towering wooden shelves, and the scent of old paper, mustiness, and memories.""When I left [Wicklow], I didn't have to pack that heavy hatred along with my quilt."Apple Pie RecipeI received an advance copy of this book. All opinions are my own.
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  • Laine
    January 1, 1970
    In a very small, rather rundown town in the shadows of the mountains in Alabama, there is a flock of blackbirds. But this is no ordinary old town, and these are no ordinary blackbirds. Everyone knows the blackbirds can give guidance, but exactly how does that work? The only person who knew has passed on.In this town, there are two young women, linked by love but divided by hate. Both struggle to find their way through staggering grief and loss, and one of them holds the key to the future of this In a very small, rather rundown town in the shadows of the mountains in Alabama, there is a flock of blackbirds. But this is no ordinary old town, and these are no ordinary blackbirds. Everyone knows the blackbirds can give guidance, but exactly how does that work? The only person who knew has passed on.In this town, there are two young women, linked by love but divided by hate. Both struggle to find their way through staggering grief and loss, and one of them holds the key to the future of this extraordinary little town. Trouble is, something very important is keeping her from using it.Dealing in more depth with painful issues than in previous books, Heather Webber nevertheless creates a delicate, subtle magic in this town. Readers of her Wishcraft series will know to look for the signs. It’s a complex and lovely story, in the kind of small town where not only gossip is shared, but also every grief and joy. The “bread brigade” will make you smile and maybe wish you lived there. It came at a good time for me--the anniversary of the death of someone precious to me--and the way its characters work through their grief to a place of acceptance and strength was a great comfort to me, a reminder that even when someone dies, they are never really gone. I had a hard time moving on to another book after I finished reading this one, and although it’s not meant to be part of a series, I think I won’t be the only reader who wishes for more.
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  • Romancebooksandmore
    January 1, 1970
    I want to rave about this book, I want to curl up and read it all over again. I want to cry from the warmth and heartbreak, family and friendship of it all. Family, Friends, secrets, feuds, Mystery, Magic, Romance, Past, Present and future all roll together in this amazing book. you are not going to want to put it down. come along with Anna Kate and Natalie as two very different but similar woman come together, both running from past hurts, neither knowing of the other's existence but seeming to I want to rave about this book, I want to curl up and read it all over again. I want to cry from the warmth and heartbreak, family and friendship of it all. Family, Friends, secrets, feuds, Mystery, Magic, Romance, Past, Present and future all roll together in this amazing book. you are not going to want to put it down. come along with Anna Kate and Natalie as two very different but similar woman come together, both running from past hurts, neither knowing of the other's existence but seeming to pull together. both girls feel pain, both girls need to learn to let love, family and friends in, they both learn that it's okay to ask for help. you don't have to stand on your own two feet all the time. a story of mothers and daughters at the very core everything else is just icing on the cake or blueberry's in the pie. comes out Tuesday so run out and pick up a copy. won this book from bookishfirst for a fair and honest review, all views my own.
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  • Susan Peterson
    January 1, 1970
    Midnight at the Blackbird Cafe is a heart-squeezer!! This lovely story about forgiveness, grief, family, and home is set in a small town, filled with southern charm, and a bit of magic!! The characters in this book are unique, quirky, complicated and delightful!! I fell in love with each and every one of them, and all I want to do is sit down and chat with them, eating pie and drinking blackberry tea! This book is guaranteed to make you smile, maybe even cry, but mostly what it will do is make y Midnight at the Blackbird Cafe is a heart-squeezer!! This lovely story about forgiveness, grief, family, and home is set in a small town, filled with southern charm, and a bit of magic!! The characters in this book are unique, quirky, complicated and delightful!! I fell in love with each and every one of them, and all I want to do is sit down and chat with them, eating pie and drinking blackberry tea! This book is guaranteed to make you smile, maybe even cry, but mostly what it will do is make you FEEL.
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  • Vicki
    January 1, 1970
    Heather Webber has written has written a beautiful story of loss, betrayal, forgiveness, love and friendship. Within this story there are many layers to the wonderfully developed characters where you come to find the true meaning of family and where home, legacy and love lives. Wicklow AL has a way of taking hold of you once you visit. The Blackbird Cafe is the heart of Wicklow. This story and people in this book work their way and weave themselves into your heart and mind just the way Wicklow d Heather Webber has written has written a beautiful story of loss, betrayal, forgiveness, love and friendship. Within this story there are many layers to the wonderfully developed characters where you come to find the true meaning of family and where home, legacy and love lives. Wicklow AL has a way of taking hold of you once you visit. The Blackbird Cafe is the heart of Wicklow. This story and people in this book work their way and weave themselves into your heart and mind just the way Wicklow does to the people in the story. Heather Webber has built a story that will stay with you long after you finish reading it and will leave you wanting to know more about the people In Wicklow and how their lives turn out. Wicklow is place you want to stay! This is a new to me author and I absolutely loved it! I can’t wait to read more from Heather Webber. I highly recommend this book!
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  • Beth McCraw
    January 1, 1970
    I want a piece of Blackbird pie and blackberry sweet tea! This book was so charming and sweet! It was also so much more than a fluffy story, there were important family dynamics and community relationships throughout. I really enjoyed the magical realism in this story. It reminded me of Sarah Addison Allen book, so if you love a good hometown, feel good story with a touch of magical realism, this one is for you! I really hope there is another book, I would like to catch up again with these chara I want a piece of Blackbird pie and blackberry sweet tea! This book was so charming and sweet! It was also so much more than a fluffy story, there were important family dynamics and community relationships throughout. I really enjoyed the magical realism in this story. It reminded me of Sarah Addison Allen book, so if you love a good hometown, feel good story with a touch of magical realism, this one is for you! I really hope there is another book, I would like to catch up again with these characters and make another trip to that southern town of Wicklow! Thank you to the publisher and Bookish First for the opportunity to read this book ahead of publication. All thoughts are my own. Don’t let this pass you by!
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  • Rebecca
    January 1, 1970
    This was such a beautiful book and I'm sad that it's over. This book has some of my favorite things; a small town, magic realism, bits of humor, a dash of romance and wonderful characters. The writing was so poignant and the storylines of each character melded together so well. The author did an amazing job of creating a bit of magical feeling in this small town, with the blackbirds and the pies, but also with the characters. This was an emotional and deep book, looking at grief and family and t This was such a beautiful book and I'm sad that it's over. This book has some of my favorite things; a small town, magic realism, bits of humor, a dash of romance and wonderful characters. The writing was so poignant and the storylines of each character melded together so well. The author did an amazing job of creating a bit of magical feeling in this small town, with the blackbirds and the pies, but also with the characters. This was an emotional and deep book, looking at grief and family and trauma from the past. It is not a book you can race through, rather it's one that I read more slowly so I could savor and absorb each word. Anna Kate returns to the town where her mother grew up and her grandmother owned the Blackbird Cafe. She is dealing with the grief of losing both these women, the stress of running the cafe when she knows she will have to leave, and the secrets of her mother's past that cannot be kept secret anymore.Natalie is returning to the same small town after her husband's death. She is also bringing grief, but also the hurt of betrayal, the stress of having nowhere else to turn with her small daughter Ollie, and the struggle of knowing that she doesn't have the most loving relationship with her mother. (Ollie was the star of the book and always made me smile or laugh even when the moments were deep and emotional.)This story encompasses so many things and beautifully weaves them all together into not only the story of Natalie and Anna Kate, but of all the other characters and even the town itself. Not every family is linked by love, some by hate and secrets and it seems desperate at times. Not everyone deals with grief the same way, and this is explored immensely, as each character has had their own hurt. But it's amazing how the pull of this town (and the magic of the pies) seems to help each person deal with their hurts in their own way and allow them to grow so much. The past can haunt everyone, but it is true strength to want to change the past in order to help your future and also how family bonds that have been severed still have life in them.I love the blackbirds and the cafe were the linchpin to the story - they were vital for the rejuvenation of the town, but also had a huge part of the development and growth of each character. The description of the birds and their songs and the mulberry trees were beautiful touches to the story. I loved all the magical realism (and especially the subtler things that were not ever fully explained, but if you were looking you could catch).I already miss this town and all the people. If the Blackbird cafe were a real place I would love to stop by and see the Blackbirds sing at midnight, buy something from Natalie and taste the pie. I highly recommend this book!Thank you to the publisher for a free copy. I was happy to share my honest thoughts.
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  • Chelsie
    January 1, 1970
    I really enjoyed this light hearted read. Anna Kate returns to her mother’s home town after her grandmother passes away. She has not been here before and is about to learn the real reasons why. Though what she is afraid will be a few long weeks, until she can get everything buttoned up, turns into quite the adventure of her family history as well as learning what family and home means. Thank you at Bookish for the free book!
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  • Cheryl
    January 1, 1970
    I really enjoyed this book. It is a very character driven book. Everyone that I met I fell in love with instantly. They were people that I would want to hang out with. Thus, it made for easy reading. After reading this book, I have gained a fond admiration for blackbirds. Yes, there are some magical aspects woven throughout the pages of this story. However, it was not one of the strong focal points of the book. The main focal point for me was the characters. They truly were engaging as well as e I really enjoyed this book. It is a very character driven book. Everyone that I met I fell in love with instantly. They were people that I would want to hang out with. Thus, it made for easy reading. After reading this book, I have gained a fond admiration for blackbirds. Yes, there are some magical aspects woven throughout the pages of this story. However, it was not one of the strong focal points of the book. The main focal point for me was the characters. They truly were engaging as well as enjoyable. This is not the first time though that I have read a book from this author where I have been attached to the characters. So, if you are in the mood for a good contemporary book with engaging characters, then, you should treat yourself to Midnight at the Blackbird Café.
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  • CR
    January 1, 1970
    My Review: This is another one of those books that I just fell in love with. It did have a few issues where I was slightly board in the middle parts. But all in all it was a great movie that I think would work well for the Hallmark Channel. The only other issue I had with this one was the multi POV there were times I felt like I was taken out of a POV before it could totally finish the thought. But in the end it wasn't so bad to make it a bad book. I really loved the story and the flow other tha My Review: This is another one of those books that I just fell in love with. It did have a few issues where I was slightly board in the middle parts. But all in all it was a great movie that I think would work well for the Hallmark Channel. The only other issue I had with this one was the multi POV there were times I felt like I was taken out of a POV before it could totally finish the thought. But in the end it wasn't so bad to make it a bad book. I really loved the story and the flow other than the above issue was well done. This is another book about a small town with romance and more!
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  • Angie
    January 1, 1970
    Y'all! This is THE best book! It has catapulted to the top of my list of favorites of 2019!Magical realism is my favorite genre, and small southern towns with quirky residents are my favorite settings. This had both - in spades. And if you think you are not a fan of the genre, you just have to give this book a try. I think it will change your mind.A special family heritage, romance, and a 25-yr-old mystery all combine to add to its charm.You will fall in love with Anna Kate and the rest of the c Y'all! This is THE best book! It has catapulted to the top of my list of favorites of 2019!Magical realism is my favorite genre, and small southern towns with quirky residents are my favorite settings. This had both - in spades. And if you think you are not a fan of the genre, you just have to give this book a try. I think it will change your mind.A special family heritage, romance, and a 25-yr-old mystery all combine to add to its charm.You will fall in love with Anna Kate and the rest of the citizens of Wicklow, Alabama. And possibly, like me, you will want to live there, too, and cry when you have to leave them. I need a sequel, Heather Webber!
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  • Kate Grace
    January 1, 1970
    I need either a sequel to, or a Hallmark movie-esque adaptation of Heather Webber's Midnight at the Blackbird Cafe, like, YESTERDAY. ...OK, the above urgency might be an exaggeration, but my emotional response to the book is real, honest. Despite engaging with themes of loss and grief, Blackbird Cafe serves readers A LOT of charm and comfort. Turning the pages of this book is like sitting down to share a favorite home-cooked meal with loved ones. Webber achieves this uplifting affect through a n I need either a sequel to, or a Hallmark movie-esque adaptation of Heather Webber's Midnight at the Blackbird Cafe, like, YESTERDAY. ...OK, the above urgency might be an exaggeration, but my emotional response to the book is real, honest. Despite engaging with themes of loss and grief, Blackbird Cafe serves readers A LOT of charm and comfort. Turning the pages of this book is like sitting down to share a favorite home-cooked meal with loved ones. Webber achieves this uplifting affect through a number of writer's moves, including a flavor of magical realism and a recipe that combines setting and character in the best ways. In fact, I'd argue that setting and character as a unit - these plot elements interacting with and building on one another - is the novel's standout feature. For example, Anna Kate and Natalie - the novel's two central characters (and narrative voices) - not only heal, but claim the space to be their truest selves while living in Wicklow, while inhabiting this strange and wonderful small-town community. I do have a couple questions or concerns about the book. First, while I love the conceit of a journalist researching and reporting on the Wicklow blackbird phenomenon, I think it's an underused piece; it has untapped potential for enriching the storytelling and the structure of the book. Second, some of the most heartwarming parts are predictable, are familiar story patterns. If predictable at times, Blackbird Cafe is first and foremost a heart-healing read. It just made me happy, as a reader. I didn't want to close the book, to walk away from the charming and hopeful community of Wicklow. (It bears repeating... Sequel?)As several of the characters observe, Wicklow has a way of taking hold of you.Thank you to the publisher, Forge, and Bookish First for my advance reading copy!
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  • Elle
    January 1, 1970
    * Disclaimer: I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. *With charming magical realism and a distinct semblance to Sarah Addison Allen's Garden Spells, Heather Webber's Midnight at the Blackbird Cafe is a wonderful and heartwarming work. The story is emotional and somewhat mysterious, with a fabulous cast of characters that are reminiscent of a gathering in Stars Hollow. ** Full review to come. **
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  • Mary Kay
    January 1, 1970
    It was more of a “Hallmark movie” type book than I usually read- but it was a sweet story and a pleasant way to spend a snowy day.
  • The Bookend Diner
    January 1, 1970
    Thank you to Forge Books for gifting me an advanced copy of Midnight at the Blackbird Café by Heather Webber.Besides Stars Hollow, I don’t think that there is a town that I would love to live in more than Wicklow, Alabama. I fell head over heels in love with Midnight at the Blackbird Café, the town of Wicklow and all of the incredible people that make up this story. I was completely unaware of this book's existence until I stumbled upon it while looking through newly released books; I’m not goin Thank you to Forge Books for gifting me an advanced copy of Midnight at the Blackbird Café by Heather Webber.Besides Stars Hollow, I don’t think that there is a town that I would love to live in more than Wicklow, Alabama. I fell head over heels in love with Midnight at the Blackbird Café, the town of Wicklow and all of the incredible people that make up this story. I was completely unaware of this book's existence until I stumbled upon it while looking through newly released books; I’m not going to lie, I judged this book by its cover and was thrilled when the book showed up on my doorstep (thank you Forge Books). I had another book that I was wanting to read but I decided to start reading Midnight at the Blackbird Café first and it was the best decision. I will be recommending this book to anyone who I think would appreciate this story and the complex relationships that are depicted within this book I don’t know about you all but I am a firm believer in looking for signs and listening for that voice that will give me some direction on what I need to be doing. While reading this book, I ached to be able to sit in the Blackbird Café and watch as all of the people sat down around me, enjoying their blackbird pie and discussing the messages that came to them in their dreams the night before. Magical realism is a book concept that I’m not all that familiar with but I couldn’t ’t get enough of it in this story. I also loved the southern hospitality that poured from the pages. I couldn’t get enough of the southern idioms that made me feel right at home. I started to write them down as I encountered them at the storyline but by chapter 2, I knew I would spend more time writing than I would be reading so I just sat back and savored every phrase. “As I live and breathe,” “Give me some sugar,” “You ever did hear,” and “Right as rain,” are just a few of my favorites. I could go on and on about the beauty of this book. I will leave you with one last thing, this book is the first book in a long long time that has brought happy tears to my eyes. There are lots of books out there that have made me cry tears of sadness but Midnight at the Blackbird Café brought those tears of happiness that I haven’t experienced in a while. Seriously.. if you haven’t already figured it out, I LOVED this book. Go buy yourself a copy of it today! Thank you to Forge Publishing for gifting me an advanced copy of this book. I will always treasure it!!
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  • Daniele
    January 1, 1970
    4.5 starsMIDNIGHT AT THE BLACKBIRD CAFÉ is Southern fiction at its best. I have long been a fan of Heather Webber’s cozy mystery series (written under the nom de plume Heather Blake) and could not wait to read her first endeavor into women’s literature. But do not let the “women” category deter you if it is not usually your chosen genre, it is wonderful reading for anyone. It follows the story of Anna Kate, a young woman all set to begin medical school in the fall, as she travels to Alabama to s 4.5 starsMIDNIGHT AT THE BLACKBIRD CAFÉ is Southern fiction at its best. I have long been a fan of Heather Webber’s cozy mystery series (written under the nom de plume Heather Blake) and could not wait to read her first endeavor into women’s literature. But do not let the “women” category deter you if it is not usually your chosen genre, it is wonderful reading for anyone. It follows the story of Anna Kate, a young woman all set to begin medical school in the fall, as she travels to Alabama to settle her Granny Zee’s affairs. Anna Kate’s mother kept her away from Wicklow, scarred by the tragic death of the love of her life and the resulting repercussions, so Anna Kate is surprised that the conditions of Zee’s will require her to run the Blackbird Café for two months before she can sell it. Natalie, who we quickly learn is closely linked to Anna Kate, is also newly back in town after the death of her husband. Thus begins the tale of complex relationships, grief, forgiveness, and destiny. The touch of romance is enjoyable and not heavy handed, and the element of magical realism feels right.The plot is compelling, the pace nice and steady throughout, and the writing eloquent and descriptive. I adore all of the characters and find them authentic and relatable. The setting is full of Southern charm, gossip, and camaraderie. Everything comes together to make an engrossing, surprisingly deep read. I am smitten with MIDNIGHT AT THE BLACKBIRD CAFÉ. Highly recommended.I received and ARC of this title from the author/Forge Publishing and voluntarily shared my thoughts here.
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  • Susan Beamon
    January 1, 1970
    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 look 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.
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  • Kim
    January 1, 1970
    What an enchanting book! I must admit, I was awarded an ARC from the publisher, but it came after I left for a month's vacation. I hated missing out on reading it so much I purchased it from Amazon, and I am so glad I did!Reminiscent of a tale told by Sarah Addison Allen, but somehow softer and sweeter, this book is magical realism and women's fiction at its best. The story of a decades old mystery and death, it explores the lines between family, forgiveness, friendship, enchantment, and food. A What an enchanting book! I must admit, I was awarded an ARC from the publisher, but it came after I left for a month's vacation. I hated missing out on reading it so much I purchased it from Amazon, and I am so glad I did!Reminiscent of a tale told by Sarah Addison Allen, but somehow softer and sweeter, this book is magical realism and women's fiction at its best. The story of a decades old mystery and death, it explores the lines between family, forgiveness, friendship, enchantment, and food. Anna Kate is new in town, although her family roots reach far back. Her grandmother, Zee, left Anna Kate the Blackbird Cafe in her will, with the stipulation that Anna Kate live in the sleepy town of Wicklow for two months before she can sell the cafe. Anna Kate promised her mother, Eden, that she would attend medical school, so her plan it to grant her mother's dying wish while at the same time meeting the terms of her mother's will. Nothing ever goes to plan, however, and Anna Kate finds herself charmed with the local population, but anxious to stay away from blood relatives her mother warned her of. Full of blackberry tea, magical pie, a mysterious cat and four and twenty blackbirds, the story of Wicklow charms the soul. The characters are well rounded and likeable, even Anna Kate's prickly paternal grandmother, Seely. Reading this book was a balm I did not know I needed, and I thoroughly enjoyed each and every page.
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  • Taryn
    January 1, 1970
    At the beginning we meet Anna Kate, she has returned to Wicklow, Alabama to bury her much beloved grandmother. Granny Zee owned and ran the Blackbird Cafe and it's now been left in the hands of Anna Kate who has always been a wanderer, she moves from place to place and has never truly settled down. When she learns that putting her grannies estate in order won't be just a simple signing of papers Anna realizes that her life has taken on a different direction. She has to stay in Wicklow and run th At the beginning we meet Anna Kate, she has returned to Wicklow, Alabama to bury her much beloved grandmother. Granny Zee owned and ran the Blackbird Cafe and it's now been left in the hands of Anna Kate who has always been a wanderer, she moves from place to place and has never truly settled down. When she learns that putting her grannies estate in order won't be just a simple signing of papers Anna realizes that her life has taken on a different direction. She has to stay in Wicklow and run the cafe for the summer and she aims to follow her grannies wishes. Anna would love to hold everyone at arms length, she doesn't plan on staying very long but she will soon learn that small towns are all about togetherness and have their own special way of making you feel at home. The cast of characters that start to become a part of her life aren't a easily deterred and soon she can't help but begin to like each of them. Meanwhile her birthright is starting to unfold before her and she has to decide what it all means and if she is truly ready to accept it. This was a genuinely magical read that opened up a door into a small town and the secrets that it holds. The story immediately pulled me in and I couldn't put it down until I finished the last page. If you don't believe in magic you will after reading this book!!!
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  • Barb
    January 1, 1970
    Anna Kate makes what is supposed to be a quick trip to Wicklow, Alabama, to close the Blackbird Café and settle her grandmother Zee's estate so she can attend med school in the fall. She's worked hard to get where she is in life and doesn't need anyone, least of all her father's family, to derail those plans. But even after just a few days, she finds herself drawn to the town and its famous blackbird pie that nobody can stop talking about.I have read several books by this author, but they're all Anna Kate makes what is supposed to be a quick trip to Wicklow, Alabama, to close the Blackbird Café and settle her grandmother Zee's estate so she can attend med school in the fall. She's worked hard to get where she is in life and doesn't need anyone, least of all her father's family, to derail those plans. But even after just a few days, she finds herself drawn to the town and its famous blackbird pie that nobody can stop talking about.I have read several books by this author, but they're all part of a series, so I was curious about how she would handle a stand alone, and one with an obvious magical realism bent. I had heard from other readers that the book is a little slow to get started, but I didn't find that to be the case. I was sucked into the story almost from the very first page and found it hard to put down. I love the small Southern town setting and it was fun to get to know the town's residents right along with Anna Kate. The only disappointment was that the book didn't include the recipe for blackbird pie :) I look forward to reading more from this author. Thank you to the publisher for the opportunity to read and review this book.
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  • Christina Marie Reads
    January 1, 1970
    I loved absolutely everything about this book! I love the cover and I confess that I'm a cover buyer - I buy many books based on the cover alone and this one does NOT disappoint! It's a magical, heartwarming book that became an instant favorite for me. I know that I will read this book time and time again... It's a welcome home kind of read that shows the sweet southern hospitality that's found in abundance in the small town of Wicklow, Alabama. Anna Kate Callow returns to Wicklow from Boston to I loved absolutely everything about this book! I love the cover and I confess that I'm a cover buyer - I buy many books based on the cover alone and this one does NOT disappoint! It's a magical, heartwarming book that became an instant favorite for me. I know that I will read this book time and time again... It's a welcome home kind of read that shows the sweet southern hospitality that's found in abundance in the small town of Wicklow, Alabama. Anna Kate Callow returns to Wicklow from Boston to bury her grandmother Zee who owned the Blackbird Café. Her grandmother leaves the café to her on one condition - that she stay in Wicklow and run the café for 2 months before selling. As much as she tries to keep everyone (especially estranged family) at arms length, she can't help but feel like she has come home and that she belongs here to carry on her family legacy. But, Anna Kate promised her mother before she died that she would finish her schooling and become a doctor - and a Callow doesn't break her promises. "Sometimes it takes a little magic to find your way home."
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  • Rebecca
    January 1, 1970
    Thanks to Forge Books and BookishFirst for an advance copy for honest review!If you love small town stories, or stories with a food focus, Midnight at the Blackbird Cafe is a warm, (bitter)sweet combination of the two. Anna Kate has reluctantly come to Wicklow, Alabama to run her grandmother's cafe for two months as a condition of her will, and she has no interest in staying beyond that. Her mother fled the town while pregnant with Anna Kate, and now she's there alone to confront the people and Thanks to Forge Books and BookishFirst for an advance copy for honest review!If you love small town stories, or stories with a food focus, Midnight at the Blackbird Cafe is a warm, (bitter)sweet combination of the two. Anna Kate has reluctantly come to Wicklow, Alabama to run her grandmother's cafe for two months as a condition of her will, and she has no interest in staying beyond that. Her mother fled the town while pregnant with Anna Kate, and now she's there alone to confront the people and past that her mother left.There's a lot of sadness in this story as many of the characters are dealing with loss (and finding hope in the dreams brought by the cafe's legendary blackbird pie Anna Kate's learning to make), but there's also the sweetness of new friends, family, and home being created. It's the kind of story that left me with a little sadness at the end, because I wanted to stay with the characters and keep following their lives.
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  • Valerie
    January 1, 1970
    Midnight at the Blackbird Cafe is another example of Heather Webber's talent of writing novels with magical realism elements that feel completely believable. This is important for readers like me who enjoy realism far more than fantasy.I was completely captivated with the small town of Wicklow, Alabama and the colorful cast of characters in this novel, some who have lived here many years, others who stayed when they intended to simply pass through, and others who recently arrived for various rea Midnight at the Blackbird Cafe is another example of Heather Webber's talent of writing novels with magical realism elements that feel completely believable. This is important for readers like me who enjoy realism far more than fantasy.I was completely captivated with the small town of Wicklow, Alabama and the colorful cast of characters in this novel, some who have lived here many years, others who stayed when they intended to simply pass through, and others who recently arrived for various reasons.This novel is all about secrets, family, grudges, reconciliation, returning home, spreading your wings, and mysterious blackbirds. The ending was a little too 'neat' but given everything these characters already experienced, I was glad to see many have a 'happily ever after.' This is a perfect summer read! Thank you to Bookish First and Forge Books for the free advanced reader copy of the novel.
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  • Darcia Helle
    January 1, 1970
    Caution: Reading this book might cause laughter, occasional tears, and intense hunger.I loved this book! I want to move to Wicklow, eat breakfast at the Blackbird Cafe every day, hang out with all the people, and watch the blackbirds at midnight.This is a highly character-driven story, and oh did I love the eclectic cast inhabiting these pages. They're all unique and incredibly well developed. Even the minor characters come alive. These characters feel like they could step off the pages and join Caution: Reading this book might cause laughter, occasional tears, and intense hunger.I loved this book! I want to move to Wicklow, eat breakfast at the Blackbird Cafe every day, hang out with all the people, and watch the blackbirds at midnight.This is a highly character-driven story, and oh did I love the eclectic cast inhabiting these pages. They're all unique and incredibly well developed. Even the minor characters come alive. These characters feel like they could step off the pages and join you for tea and pie.While this story has a whimsical feel, I wouldn't call it a light read. The content has too much emotional depth and too many layers for that label. It's the kind of story that makes you think about relationships and fate and possibilities. My only complaint is that the book doesn't come with pie!*I received a review copy from the publisher, via BookishFirst.*
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  • Jane
    January 1, 1970
    Thanks to Forge publisher for this ARC. Just showed up in the mail and I'm glad it did.3.5 stars for me.If you like Southern fiction, this is the one for you. I love the small town feel and how the blackbirds were magical like in bringing back their departed loved ones via dreams by eating blackberry pie. A lot of stories going on in this small town. The characters were wonderful and I loved everyone of them. There were a lot of characters and I won't mention all of them but AnnaKate was one of Thanks to Forge publisher for this ARC. Just showed up in the mail and I'm glad it did.3.5 stars for me.If you like Southern fiction, this is the one for you. I love the small town feel and how the blackbirds were magical like in bringing back their departed loved ones via dreams by eating blackberry pie. A lot of stories going on in this small town. The characters were wonderful and I loved everyone of them. There were a lot of characters and I won't mention all of them but AnnaKate was one of the main ones going back "home" to run her grandmother's cafe after her death as her wish in her will. AnnaKate only wanted to go to medical school, per her mother's wish but was working at the cafe during the Summer.
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  • Angela (Kentuckybooklover) Brocato-Skaggs
    January 1, 1970
    Evocative. Magical. Heartbreaking. Hopeful.A beautiful novel that will move you to your core. Heather Webber is a fresh voice to women's fiction. You will want to eat this novel up in one sitting but I promise you it is worth taking your time and savoring every bite. Let the story seep into your soul and fulfill you.Fans of Southern fiction will not want to miss this. I am already missing my time at the Blackbird Cafe.I received a complimentary copy from the author. Any and all opinions expresse Evocative. Magical. Heartbreaking. Hopeful.A beautiful novel that will move you to your core. Heather Webber is a fresh voice to women's fiction. You will want to eat this novel up in one sitting but I promise you it is worth taking your time and savoring every bite. Let the story seep into your soul and fulfill you.Fans of Southern fiction will not want to miss this. I am already missing my time at the Blackbird Cafe.I received a complimentary copy from the author. Any and all opinions expressed in the above review are entirely my own.
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