Sunday, May 8, 2016

The Secret to Hummingbird Cake

"It isn't always blood that makes a family," says one of the characters in The Secret to Hummingbird Cake, a witty and heartwarming first novel by Celeste Fletcher McHale. The story is set in the small Southern town of Bon Dieu Falls, La., and centers on three, 30 year-old women—soul-mate friends since the age of five who sweeten the lives of each other amid life-changing tests of faith.

Carrigan, the narrator, is a fiery redhead whose been married for 13 years and harbors painstaking suspicions about her handsome husband's fidelity, as she, herself, has partaken in a secret, regrettable "indiscretion" of her own. Carrigan's spitfire best friend, Ella Rae, married her childhood sweetheart and is still so madly in love with him that Carrigan swears the two of them "breathed in unison."   Laine, Carrigan's other best friend, is the responsible, level-headed one of the bunch. Still single, Laine, caring and good-natured, is a much-beloved high school English teacher, famous for "the creamy white icing and the sweet pineapple" of her Hummingbird Cake, a Southern staple. Yet, she refuses to share her recipe even with her closest friends—who beg. 

The three minds of these very different women work in a "posse" as Carrigan grapples with her troubled marriage, trying to repair what's broken, via the encouragement and support of her friends, who also come face-to-face with life-changing challenges and heart wrenching secrets. Fletcher McHale blends sassy and sentimental--drizzling spiritual crises atop everything--and whips up a wholesome story about the transcendent, everlasting bonds of friendship and love.  

The Secret to Hummingbird Cake by Celeste Fletcher McHale
Thomas Nelson, $15.99 Trade paper, 9780718039561, 304 pp
Publication Date: February 9, 2016
To order this book via INDIEBOUND link HERE

Note: This review is a reprint and is being posted (in a slightly different form) with the permission of Shelf Awareness. To read this review on Shelf Awareness: Reader's Edition (2/23/16), link HERE