Review: The Secret to Hummingbird Cake – Celeste Fletcher McHale

Celeste Fletcher McHale. The Secret to Hummingbird Cake. Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson, 2016.

I regularly ship off a pile of books to various groups, libraries, and family members. Today, I’ll be sending an extra fun stack of books that I’ve already featured on the blog to some of my family in Canada. With the long winters we enjoy here in the north, books are a great source of entertainment and joy, in spite of the weather outside. :)

Celeste Fletcher McHale debuts her writing talents in The Secret of Hummingbird Cake. A purely-Southern tale, the novel follows the adventures of three best friends: Carrigan, Ella Rae, and Laine. Having grown up together in a small town, they know everything about one another. Together, Carrigan and her two friends have taken on every adventure, encouraged one another in their marriages and relationships, and been through every life event right alongside each other. However, life brings unexpected news for one friend, forcing all three to pull together in a way they have never experienced before. Along the way, they discover the mysterious secret ingredient for hummingbird cake and their once-in-a-lifetime friendship.

Ms. McHale weaves an incredible tale of love, friendship, and faith in her debut novel. Readers will find themselves shedding tears of joy and sadness, as they feel drawn into a sweet Southern town and Ms. McHale’s remarkably well-written characters.

Overall, I was very impressed with The Secret to Hummingbird Cake. While I’m not typically the person drawn to chick-lit novels that focus on a close-knit group of friends, I ended up reading this novel from back to front in one sitting. Ms. McHale offers incredible insight into women’s personalities and relationships with one another, accessing the full range of human emotion in a way few authors ever accomplish. She presents a conversational style in her writing that will draw in readers and keep them immersed in a compelling cast of characters, who seem to leap off the page in their realism. I found myself particularly awe-struck by Ms. McHale’s ability to communicate her characters’ maturing experiences with love and loss, as these topics seem nearly impossible to articulate in even real-life situations. After reading The Secret to Hummingbird Cake, I am very eager to read Ms. McHale’s writing in the future.

Fans of contemporary Christian fiction, particularly focusing on friendship and character-driven storylines, will definitely want to read The Secret to Hummingbird Cake. Likewise, those who enjoy other examples of Southern fiction in the Christian fiction market should definitely try Ms. McHale’s work. The novel contains some language not regularly found in Christian fiction. However, the quality of Ms. McHale’s writing and character development are well worth the read.

Special thanks to BookLook Bloggers for the advanced copy of The Secret to Hummingbird Cake!

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