The Secret to Hummingbird Cake

The Secret to Hummingbird Cake

by Celeste Fletcher McHale

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Overview

The Secret to Hummingbird Cake by Celeste Fletcher McHale

“Why won’t you just tell me what’s in that cake?” I’d been trying to get Laine’s recipe for years. We all had.

When all else fails, turn to the divine taste of hummingbird cake.

In the South you always say “yes, ma’am” and “no, ma’am.” You know everybody’s business. Football is a lifestyle not a pastime. Food—especially dessert— is almost a religious experience. And you protect your friends as fiercely as you protect your family— even if the threat is something you cannot see.

In this spot-on Southern novel brimming with wit and authenticity, you’ll laugh alongside lifelong friends, navigate the sometimes rocky path of marriage, and roll through the outrageous curveballs that life sometimes throws . . . from devastating pain to absolute joy. And if you’re lucky, you just may discover the secret to hummingbird cake along the way.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780718039561
Publisher: Nelson, Thomas, Inc.
Publication date: 02/09/2016
Pages: 304
Sales rank: 207,233
Product dimensions: 5.40(w) x 8.30(h) x 1.00(d)

About the Author

Celeste Fletcher McHale lives on her family farm in Central Louisiana where she enjoys raising a variety of animals. Her hobbies include writing, football, baseball, and spending much time with her grandchildren. Website: fletchermchale.wordpress.com Facebook: FletcherMcHale Twitter: @FletcherMcHale

Read an Excerpt

The Secret to Hummingbird Cake


By Celeste Fletcher McHale

Thomas Nelson

Copyright © 2016 Celeste McHale
All rights reserved.
ISBN: 978-0-7180-3956-1


CHAPTER 1

I glanced at the grandfather clock. Almost midnight. I padded across the dark hardwood floor of my living room to peer out the window.

Again.

Where was he? Just as I reached for the curtain, the phone rang and I nearly jumped out of my skin. Somewhere in the background, I heard my long-gone grandmother asking, "Guilty conscience?"

I'd certainly been nursing one of those lately.

I looked at the caller ID. A man, but not the one I was looking for. The familiar pang of remorse punched me in the belly. I'd brought this on myself, and what was I supposed to do about Cell Phone Romeo now?

"What are you doing?" came a voice behind me.

I jumped. "Good Lord, Laine, don't you ever knock?"

She plopped down on my sofa. "Come on, Carrigan. I'm your best friend. I've been living across the street from you forever. Why start knocking now? And why did you look like a deer in headlights when I walked in?"

I shrugged. No sense in bringing up issues that would send her into one of her classic tizzies. "I don't know, just jumpy, I guess. I tend to get that way when somebody breaks into my house in the middle of the night. What are you doing still up?"

"I had to make a cake for the bake sale tomorrow," she said. "I've been so busy today. I just got the layers in the oven. Your lights were on, so I decided to kill that fifty minutes over here."

My mouth watered. I could taste the creamy white icing and the sweet pineapple. "One of those cakes?"

"Yes, one of those cakes."

"I could help you."

"Nice try." She winked.

"Why won't you tell me what's in that cake?" I had to ask the question, even though I knew it would do no good. I'd been trying to get Laine's recipe for years. We all had.

"Because it's not your business, and if I told you, you wouldn't believe me." She sat back and crossed her arms. "Now, give. Why were you so antsy when I came in?"

I avoided her gaze. "No reason."

She picked up my new Southern Living magazine and flipped through the pages. "Okay, that's fine," she said. "I'll just read about the geraniums in —" She stopped abruptly as the light bulb went off. I could almost see the glow above her head. It might have been comical had I not known what was going to happen next.

She threw the magazine on the table, and the previously mentioned tizzy commenced. "It was him, wasn't it? I heard your phone ringing when I was on the porch. It was him!"

The way she said "him" would make an innocent bystander believe the devil himself was calling me. And that assessment might not be too far from the truth.

I winced. "Yes, it was him," I said. "But I didn't answer the phone. I haven't answered his calls all week. It isn't my fault."

"Oh, it never is your fault, is it?" she asked. "This is a bad situation, Carrigan, bad, bad, bad." She began pacing. "I can't believe you got yourself into this."

"Okay, I know it's an ... uncomfortable situation, but it's been over for weeks. He's just having some trouble letting go. I can handle it." I hoped telling her this would calm her a little. Or maybe a lot.

She stopped pacing and glared at me. "Are you kidding me?"

Clearly I had said the wrong thing. She had no intention of being calm. I braced myself for the scolding and/or lecture.

Laine put her hands on her hips. "Let's just examine that statement, shall we?"

I recognized the content immediately. At least the suspense was over and I knew I'd be dining on the lecture portion of my best bud's verbal buffet tonight.

"You always do this, Carrigan," she said. "You dive off into things and never consider the consequences. You flirt with disaster. You walk right up to the edge of the cliff and teeter there until somebody yanks you back to firm ground. Don't you know that one day you'll go over? This has got to stop! It's time to grow up. No, it's past time to grow up."

I sighed. It wasn't that she was wrong, I just didn't want to hear it. I searched for the pacifier. "I know. You are right. I'll do better, I promise."

"No," she said, "don't you dare do that!"

"Do what?" I tried to sound innocent, but I knew I was busted.

"You know that thing you do when you say what you think I want to hear so I will shut up. I've known you a long time, Carrigan. I know your tricks."

Ouch. There were some distinct disadvantages to having your conscience living directly across the street.

I took a breath and tried to choose my words carefully. "Look," I said. "I know I did a really stupid thing ... and believe me, I'm not proud of it. But I had my reasons."

"Oh, Carrigan, stop! Jack is not having an affair. And even if he were, it doesn't give you a free ticket to do the same thing. Nobody can make you do anything. Your choices are your own."

She might as well have thrown a lit match into a gas can. "Do you ever get altitude sickness from the moral high ground, Laine? What's the view like from up there? 'Cause we can't all be saints, you know."

I was furious with Laine. She had seen me fret, worry, and agonize over my husband for the past year. At some point all that emotion finally turned into defiance. That shouldn't be difficult for anyone to understand. Especially a best friend. She should want me to be happy, shouldn't she? Isn't that the job description for a best friend — hide the bodies and encourage the bliss?

Our other best friend and my partner in crime, Ella Rae Weeks, didn't care what I did, what I said, or who I said it to. She wanted me to be happy. Period. The end.

Laine, on the other hand, wanted us to get baptized once a week, run a soup kitchen, volunteer at the local day care, and neuter dogs on the kitchen table in our spare time.

Laine was talking again, this time in her subdued voice. "All I meant was, this is not a competition. You forget that sometimes."

Remorse washed over me. I had hurt her, and that was the last thing on earth I'd ever intentionally do. "Sorry."

"It's okay, Carri," she said. "I ... just want what's best for you."

"I know," I said.

And I did.

CHAPTER 2

Ella Rae and I met Laine on the playground when we were five years old. She moved to our little town of Bon Dieu Falls, Louisiana, when her daddy got transferred from his job as a state policeman to the troop that served our area. Even at five, a small-town girl in the South has learned to be suspicious of newcomers. You're either born here, married to someone from here, or your grandparents live here. You don't just show up out of the blue.

But the Landrys did. They could've gone to Natchitoches or Alexandria, both fairly large towns within forty-five miles of Bon Dieu Falls. Instead, they moved here. And a dark cloud of suspicion moved with them.

I knew this because I eavesdropped on my teacher talking to another teacher about it. "It's positively strange," she said. The other teacher agreed. These people were not to be trusted. I was intrigued.

So the very first day Laine arrived in our kindergarten class, Ella Rae and I recruited her to become a part of our posse. I remember the whole thing like it was yesterday. Ella Rae, in a bad paisley dress, with an even worse haircut she'd given herself, voiced some skepticism at first. "My daddy says them people are strange," she said. "What they doing here?"

But that day at recess one of the Thompson boys pushed Laine down and made her break her glasses. Ella Rae ran over to him and popped him with her fist. Laine had been on board with us from that day forward.

Befriending her turned out to be one of our better decisions, and those were sometimes few and far between.

Laine had been the "good girl" of our trio since that very first day. Even when that Thompson boy ran off with a bloody nose, Laine said, "I hope you didn't hurt him."

Ella Rae looked at her like she was crazy. "I was trying to hurt him," she said.

I agreed with Ella Rae.

And that pretty much explained the way all three minds had worked in this posse for the past twenty-five years. Isn't it funny how you can remember certain parts of your life that made it better ... or worse ... in such vivid detail, no matter how young you were when the memory was made?

"Where is Jack, by the way?" Laine asked.

I snapped back into the present. "Who knows?" I said. "And I know you don't agree, but my guess is ... he's leaned up against a bar stool somewhere trying to coax a phone number out of a bleached blonde with big hair and bigger ... assets."

I reached into the refrigerator, came up with a bottle of wine, and waved it in Laine's direction. "Want some?"

"Yuck," she said.

I don't know why I even asked.

"You're wrong, Carrigan," she said. "I don't believe for a minute that Jack is out chasing another woman."

"Then where is he?" When she didn't answer, I said, "I don't know either. But he sure isn't here. Even when he's here, he isn't here."

I stood in front of my grandmother's china cabinet and took out one of the crystal wine glasses. Then I put it back and closed the door. Who was I kidding? I fetched a plastic stadium cup from the kitchen and started pouring.

"You think you got enough?" Laine said.

I took a huge swallow and waited a second before I answered. "Nope, I guess not." The taste made me shudder. The truth was, I hated wine. Didn't matter if it was five hundred dollars a bottle or three bucks at the local bait shop, the stuff was equally disgusting to me. But tonight I needed something to take the edge off. I chugged down another huge gulp. It was awful.

"That's not going to help," Laine said.

I made a face and swallowed. "It ain't gonna hurt."

"Tell me that in the morning."

She probably had a point, but that ship had already sailed.

"You know, it's none of my business what you drink or how much you drink —"

"But that's not gonna stop the freight train of your opinion, is it?"

"Aren't we grumpy tonight?" She ignored the dig and kept right on going. "What I was going to say, before you so rudely interrupted, is that we have to be at the ballpark at eight in the morning."

"No," I said. "You have to be at the ball park at eight in the morning. I don't play until one."

"It wouldn't hurt you to show up beforehand," Laine said. "I mean, this is a great cause. You need to show your support."

"I'll be there on time." I tried to shoot her a withering glance, but the wine was already making me fuzzy. "And stop trying to handle me. You know I hate that."

"No one can handle you, Carrigan. I'd sooner try to handle a porcupine."

"Was that a jab at my hair?" I tried to smooth the wild red curls away from my face.

She laughed. "No," she said, "it was a jab at your attitude."

"'Bye, 'bye now." I walked around the bar and grabbed her arm. "You have a cake to see about."

"Are you throwing me out?"

"No, I am making sure you get across the street before the serial killers come out."

"Because that's such a huge problem in Bon Dieu Falls," she said.

"You never know where those Thompson boys are." I opened the door and gave her a gentle nudge.

When I finally got her onto the porch, she turned around and looked at me. "Don't drink the whole bottle."

"I thought what I drank was none of your business," I said. "And besides, this ain't Ella Rae you're talking to."

She rolled her eyes. "Might as well be."

"Go on, go home," I said. "I'll watch you."

She walked down the steps but kept talking over her shoulder. "I am a grown woman, Carrigan. I can walk across the street."

"You got lost in the mall last week, Laine," I said.

"Not my fault," she called back. "They move stores around all the time. You better put that bottle up and go to bed. You need to stop this. It's time to face your problems instead of putting a Band-Aid on them." She never missed a beat.

She said all kinds of other stuff, too, but I turned her off. It was the exact same song and dance she performed after any of my slightly off decisions. I pretty much had the playbook memorized. I watched her walk across the street and into her yard. She waved as she closed the side door to her kitchen. I lay down on my sofa and sipped some more liquid Band-Aid. Laine was right, of course. This wasn't helping. She was probably right about everything she'd said.

But that didn't make me like it. Laine had always adored Jack, even though he'd cheated on me. At least I was relatively sure he'd been unfaithful. Laine took up for him, always insisted that he loved me and encouraged me to hang on and keep trying. But what good was trying if you were the only one making an effort?

She was my best friend. She and Ella Rae were the anchors in my now rocky life. Ella Rae never encouraged me to stay with Jack. She didn't care what I did as long as I was happy. Why did Laine insist that I stay? A better question: How could Laine insist that I stay?

I drank more wine and laid my head back. Laine frustrated me. She made me mad. And above all, she hurt my feelings. She was choosing Jack over me — there was no question about it. She might have thought she was helping me, but she wasn't. I consoled myself with the fact that she didn't understand because she'd never been in a relationship. Not a long-term one, anyway. She had no idea how twisted and complicated things got years into a marriage. Even if you still loved each other, sometimes that just wasn't enough. And if I were completely honest with myself, I wasn't even sure Jack and I had that left. We seemed like two stars that once burned so bright and brilliant, and now the only thing left was an ash so fine you could only see it when the sun streamed through the windows. I made a face at my own morose thoughts. Well, that was depressing

The phone rang again, and my shame meter shot up the charts. No one knew about Cell Phone Romeo except Laine, Ella Rae, and me. For that I was grateful, but I still carried a huge weight of guilt and shame about my indiscretion.

What a stupid word. Indiscretion. That's what all the blue bloods, including my family, called an affair. Why didn't they just call it what it was? One huge, idiotic mistake caused by an enormous amount of plain old ordinary hurt. Only there was nothing ordinary about it.

And when I was alone, I allowed myself to feel it. When I thought about the relationship I'd had with Romeo, it made me want to throw up. Because the truth was, I loved Jack — so much that I sometimes physically ached. I still loved him with that wild and crazy passion that had brought us together in the beginning.

And as close as I was to Laine and Ella Rae, I couldn't bring myself to tell them that. As far as they knew, I was ready to divorce him and move on. In reality, nothing could be further from the truth. If I searched for a hundred years, I'd never love another man the way I loved Jack.

But my pride wouldn't let me show it. To anybody. So I found a way to hide it with an attitude, an ... indiscretion, and a terribly disgusting bottle of — I glanced at the label — Flaming Peach Mist. I was pretty sure the finer homes in the great state of Louisiana weren't serving that same bottle on their hundred-year-old linens. But it was getting the job done in Bon Dieu Falls. And I had the tingly hands to prove it.

Sometimes lately I ripped a page from the Scarlett O'Hara playbook and decided I wouldn't think about unpleasant things today. I'd think about them tomorrow. This was one of those times. I took my wine into the bedroom and glanced at the bedside clock. One a.m. Do you know where your husband is? I took another drink, clicked the remote to an infomercial promising to make me look younger than my thirty years, and stripped. The sheets felt good against my skin. I was asleep in thirty seconds, the concerns of the day drowned in sweet, fermented grapes.

CHAPTER 3

Ella Rae showed up at the crack of dawn. Actually, it was the crack of noon. It just felt like dawn. Laine had been right, as usual. I shouldn't have finished the Flaming Peach Mist. Yet another fine decision ... I was becoming quite fluent in idiot.

Ella Rae didn't care what kind of shape I was in. "Get up!" she shouted. She held the empty wine bottle over my head. "I bet this was just delicious."

The sight of the bottle made me want to gag. "Ugh." I turned over and wrapped my head up in my pillow. "I can't play softball today," I said. "I'll die. I'm not going."

She ripped the covers from me. "Oh, yes, you are going," she said. "And put some clothes on. Nobody wants to see ... all that."

I tugged the cover back over my body. "You've seen me naked maybe a thousand times," I said. "I can't play today. I just can't."


(Continues...)

Excerpted from The Secret to Hummingbird Cake by Celeste Fletcher McHale. Copyright © 2016 Celeste McHale. Excerpted by permission of Thomas Nelson.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

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The Secret to Hummingbird Cake 4.3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 27 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Great read. Could not put this book down ! I laughed and cried !
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I have never left a review for a book before but this was such a good book. I laughed and cried and stayed up really late to finish. 3 things I rarely do.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This may be the best book I have ever read. I laughed and I cried and I remembered... what it was like to live through the deaths of people I love. What it was like to be angry and sad and so very grateful. The story of these three women broke my heart... and rebuilt it in to something stronger. More loving.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Does start off a little slow but soon turns into an extremely insightful story of hearts meshed together. In the midst of laughing out loud, I found my heart exposed. True to life characters with Louisiana charm!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Enjoyed reading this book, even though parts had me reaching for a box of tissues - other parts had me laughing.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Nice book to just sit down and read. Humor, sadness, good relationships.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book truly is wonderful. I could feel the love as I read it. It is truly the Southern way of life.
vickimarie2002 More than 1 year ago
This was a great book about Southern friendships and life. It's a sad but yet a feel good story. Life never goes as planned and you have to take the good with the bad and just keep on going.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
EpicFehlReader More than 1 year ago
Okay, so why the low rating from me? Basically it came down to the writing. But there were what I'll call "savers" that kept me from hating it entirely. First though, what was problematic for me: 1) The whole cake idea. For a book that features a cake on the cover, even writes it into the title, I mean REALLY pushes the importance of this cake, once I read the actual story... the cake didn't seem all that prominent to me. It's mentioned maybe half a dozen times and always seems to be in passing -- "Hey Laine, you should make one of those cakes" "Yeah, maybe I will" "Hey guys I made one of those cakes." -- that kind of thing. For me, if a book really pushes the importance of food in its plot, I want it to be INFUSED with it --- books like JoAnne Harris' Chocolat, Erica Baumgartner's The School of Essential Ingredients, Laura Esquivel's Like Water For Chocolate... that's what I'm looking for when it comes to foodie novels. 2) I'll admit this one is entirely personal preference, but I just DID NOT LIKE Carrigan. It bugged me that she has this incredibly privileged life but she doesn't seem all that grateful for it and when it comes to friends, she seems to prefer "yes men" type friends rather than people who will give it to her straight. 3) The character building, for Carrigan especially but also for some of the other characters, needs some work. In the case of Carrigan, her personality came off as confusing / wishy-washy. I audibly groaned at the conflicting character traits between pages 16 -17. Page 16, Carrigan states, "Not that I was a wild child, I was no child at all. But I was, well, busy." So I took that as meaning she didn't have much of a childhood, had to mature fast, etc. But then on the VERY NEXT PAGE, Page 17 Carrigan says, "I was a bit rebellious in my teenage years. Okay, I was a lot rebellious in my teenage years. I just liked to test my limits no matter what I was doing. With grades, ignoring curfews, ignoring expectations...Like the rules didn't apply to me..." Sooo you were crazy rebellious and the rules didn't apply to you but you weren't a wild child?? This is the kind of stuff that bugged me. 4) There were virtually NO surprises in the plot for me. Seriously. Like, none. I did read to the end but basically closed the book feeling like the author was trying too hard to be the next Steel Magnolias. Okay, now those few "savers" I mentioned: 1) While much of the writing struck me as over-the-top, cartoonish representation of life in the South, there were a few good quips here and there that entertained me, such as the line, "Do you ever get altitude sickness from the moral high ground, Laine?" :-) 2) While I didn't much care for Carrigan, I did like Laine and Ella Rae. They were given fun personalities and I enjoyed their sense of humor! 3) I liked the moments when Jack would show his sweet, soft side with Carrigan. 4) The story between Mitch and Laine and the unfortunate timing with everything -- forget Carrigan and Jack, I found THIS story the most touching part of the entire book. 5) My very favorite scene in the whole book though was the whole bit with the ladies talking over the coffin, just having a conversation with their heads on the lid, but the way they look everyone else in the chapel thinks they're beside themselves with grief. That whole convo between the ladies had me cracking up as I pictured it!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
THIS BOOK WAS SO GOOD I COULDN'T PUT IT DOWN BUT YET I WANTED TO BECAUSE I DIDN'T WANT THE STORY TO END. I WOULD HIGHLY RECOMMEND THIS BOOK.
MrsTina42MR More than 1 year ago
The Secret to Hummingbird*** Cake by Celeste Fletcher McHale Childhood friends Carrigan, Laine and Ela Rae have known each other since they were 5-years old. Their bond is strong, they go everywhere together and share everything—literally (more than I would even with very close friends). They offer encouragement, support and are brutally-honest when the need arises. When trouble hits one, it affects them all. Even with their closeness there are some secrets that have not been shared. I found the first two-thirds of the book hard to get into. The last third of the book had the most depth to the storyline and held my attention more—parts bringing tears. Of all the characters, I liked Laine and Jack the most, I was not too fond of Carrigan or Ela Rae. The characters experience tragedy, pain, loss, a troubled marriage, misunderstandings, heartbreak, laughter, secrets revealed, forgiveness and love. There was not much of a faith element for a Christian fiction book—was alluded to with one character who was gravely ill toward the end—(and Christian publisher) and some of the language, although miner, I would not expect to read in a Christian book and prefer not to read. ~I received a copy of this book from the Fiction Guild for review, this is my honest review~
Debi_2014andBeyond More than 1 year ago
Not too long ago I received a great package of books from The Fiction Guild, which is a Thomas Nelson/Zondervan book review bloggers program. Today's review is about the book, The Secret to Hummingbird Cake by Celeste Fletcher McHale. This novel follows the adventures of three women, Carrigan, Ella Rae and Laine, who are three best friends. They grew up together in a small town and know everything about each other. They've walked each other through every life event - marriages, relationships, adventures - alongside each other. Their friendship is one of those "once in a life time" true blue friendships and a rare find in this day and age. Along the way, they discover the mysterious secret ingredient for hummingbird cake. The Secret to Hummingbird Cake touches on real topics like marriage, friendship, faith, love, heartbreak, infidelity and cancer. It's "chick-lit" yes, but it's more than that too - it's a story full of pain, tragedy and loss combined with fun and laughter. I ended up reading this novel from back to front in one sitting. With Kleenex handy, I alternated between tears of joy and tears of sadness just as I had been warned I might. If you want to know the secret to hummingbird cake, you'll have to read the book, but in the meantime, in case you've never heard of it or tried it, it's a combination of pineapple, pecans and banana, together with cream cheese frosting! YUM!! I received a paperback copy of this book without cost from the publisher through The Fiction Guild, a Thomas Nelson/Zondervan book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own.
Davisc More than 1 year ago
Carrigan, Laine, and Ella Rae are three real women that have been friends since their elementary days. They are fiercely loyal and devoted to each other, though they are not always likable, especially Carrigan the self-absorbed storyteller. Perhaps that is part of the charm of this story; McHale creates characters so real that even through their flaws the reader feels a connection with these less than perfect, but more than devoted friends. The Secret to Hummingbird Cake is an enjoyable story about friendship, love, life and forgiveness. This story drew me in and kept me through the laughter and the tears until the end. I did truly enjoy the read. I would recommend The Secret of Hummingbird Cake to adult readers.
ReadersFavorite More than 1 year ago
Reviewed by Elizabeth Butts for Readers' Favorite Celeste Fletcher McHale has done the near impossible. I cried while reading. I have always thought people who were brought to tears over written words were perhaps a little overly emotional. Apparently it just takes a great author, and that author is Celeste Fletcher McHale. The Secret To Hummingbird Cake started off a little slow, and I found the main character, Carrigan, a bit whiny. But a big, life shattering event happens, it rocks her to the core, and reminds her what truly matters in life. About one third into the book, it picks up traction and sucks you in like you would never imagine possible. It is about at this point that you realize you WEREN'T supposed to like Carrigan all that much in the beginning. Celeste wrote a plot that was so real. Carrigan and her friends, Ella Rae and Laine, and the situations that they were thrust into (by their choice or not) were so real. There was laughter, there were tears, there was so much feeling wrapped up in this book. I was impressed, also, that there was a Christian theme without an evangelistic feel. The fact that this is Celeste Fletcher McHale's first novel amazed me. I want my friends to read this book. I will be recommending it to my mom (top praise right there). If you've ever had a close friendship with a bonded group of friends, you will want to read this book. My heart is still tight from reading. I felt more emotion from McHale's writing than I ever thought possible.
MDWag32 More than 1 year ago
Being from the south myself, I found myself laughing and relating to the quirky ways these women interacted with each other in The Secret to Hummingbird Cake. Those not from the south may not believe just how realistic this book is regarding the devotion between friends here. In the story, when one devastating bit of news hits all of the women and their spouses, we begin a very emotional journey with these ladies to maintain friendships and to hang on to love. Carrigan will make you want to ring her neck, bless her heart. She's one of the most flawed but most realistic characters I've read recently. She is strong and weak at the same time, and makes rash decisions. Yet her friends still love her. Forgiveness is a huge player in this story. Ultimately, I felt like Carrigan's character could be any of us, because we are all imperfect and we all make mistakes. It's the forgiveness she receives from her closest friends and from her husband that mirror the forgiveness and redemption we find in Christ, and I hope that readers catch on to that. This book is fiction for adult women, not necessarily teenagers, I don't think they'll be able to relate to the depth of this story. While in the Christian lit category, it's definitely not preachy. There are a handful of words sensitive readers probably won't like, but they're relevant and true to the characters personalities. Carrigan and her husband love each other, and we read about their heartbreak and they're struggle to make things better. I do recommend this book if you can handle those types of elements, and enjoy realistic scenarios and characters. If you do not, than this book is probably not for you.
Blooming-with-Books More than 1 year ago
The Secret of Hummingbird Cake By Celeste Fletcher McHale They've been friends forever. Seen one another through the hard times and Hummingbird Cake has been the favorite comfort offering Laine has always given. Carrigan, Ella Rae, and Laine are as close as three friends can be. They'll tell it like it is and offer a shoulder to cry on when needed. But these three friends are about to face a foe they've never before had to face. Life isn't always good but there are moments that make the pain worth it. This is a story about friendship, secrets, and life. And through it all is the sharing of a well-loved cake ~ one whose secret is a well guarded secret, or maybe not. Life and friendship is a series of choices, both good and bad. And the choices that we make today will be with us for all our tomorrows. If we are blessed those closest to us will see past the bad ones and stick with us through it all. I have to admit the cover of this book is quite lovely and yet deceptively simple much like the synopsis of this book. There is more to this book than one would first suppose from the back cover description. If you are looking for a perfect life you won't find it between these covers, but you will find a friendship I think we would all love to call our own. And the secret to hummingbird cake, well you'll just need to read the book to find out. I was provided a copy of this book by the Fiction Guild in exchange for my honest opinion and thoughts.
luvnjesus More than 1 year ago
How many times have we wanted to pick up the telephone or talk to someone who has passed away? Treasure those relationships that are special! Ms. McHale did an awesome job giving each character distinct personalities. A book about unconditional love, deep friendships that are more like sisters and the normal up's and down's of everyday day and relationships. Wish that I had friendships like the character do. Always remember God does answer our prayers on His time not our's the same way He answered Carrigan's. It's not good-bye, it's see you soon. I finished the book in one day.
J4Life5 More than 1 year ago
I recently watched a movie described as "Beaches for a new generation". It was an okay movie, but as I was reading this book I thought, "They should make this book into a movie and it would definitely be the Beaches for a new generation". There is so much to love about this book. Not only is it a story about lifelong best friends, but it is also filled with real life - real life problems, mistakes, hurts, forgiveness, and redemption. This is one of those very rare books where I had no idea where it was going to end up. It seemed like it could have gone in a couple different directions, and I wasn't sure which way it would go. Ultimately, it was a lovely story of three friends. I haven't tried the recipe for Hummingbird Cake yet, but after learning the secret of Hummingbird Cake, I can't wait to try it. I will make sure to add in the the secret ingredient. If you want to know the secret ingredient, make sure to read the book! I received a complimentary copy of this book from Thomas Nelson Fiction Guild in exchange for my honest review. All opinions are my own.
Deb-Krenzer More than 1 year ago
This was a great story about three best friends who grew up together. One would decide the crazy stunt they'd do, one would say "okay when" and the other one would say "oh, no, not again and follow them and try to keep them out of trouble". They were hilarious together. They would say just what they though and felt and because they had known each other for so long, no ones feelings would get hurt. I laughed continuously throughout this book. Then, life caught up with one of them and offered them a real hard knock. Stage four cancer. It was interesting how the girls went through this process and how each handled it in their own way. I just loved this book!! I laughed, laughed some more, cried, laughed again, cried and repeated the process all over again. Never once wanting to put it down even at the end. Thanks to Fiction Guild and to Thomas Nelson for sending me a copy of this book hoping I would read and review it. Special thanks for the Hummingbird Cake recipe, it sounds deelish!
Cynthia181 More than 1 year ago
I received this book for an honest review from the Fiction Guild. I very much enjoyed this book. When you have 3 close friends that have grown up together to very different women but still close all the same that two of them live across the street from each other. Each of them have had problems but they have been there for each other. One couple are having problems in their marriage, the other's is doing ok, and the third friends is still single but she loves being a teacher and working with the kids at the church bible camp. Then things come to a head when the single friend finds out she has cancer and is dying and doesn't want treatment. The girls rally again to help take care of her and see her through all of her wishes. But within that time Laine wants to go in a dignified way. She finally tells her friends that she had been in love once but gave him up to he could be with his family. Well she finally agrees to see him again before she dies. It is a wonderful story about close friendship, beliefs in God and the overcoming of all difficulties that each of us has to deal with.
Glorysong2 More than 1 year ago
I am so glad I didn't put this book down after the tension/infidelity between a married couple. That is not my kind of read. But...Three best friends do everything together. Carrigan Whitfield, the impulsive one; Ella Rae Weeks, the one ready to fight for whom she loves; and Laine Landy, the good one who calms down the others. This is a story of love, forgiveness and support.
bookstoregal More than 1 year ago
This book leaves me with mixed feelings. I liked some things about it, but there were at least an equal amount that I did not like. The characters were likeable enough, but the story was too sad and full of emotions for me. One character seemed to be a Christian, yet it seemed to me that there was too much leeway about how to get to heaven, when there is really only one way-Jesus! Sometimes sin was called sin, but other times it was like sin was no big deal. The author made it like the characters who didn't really follow Jesus were going to heaven anyway... Now, don't get me wrong, I don't think that every book written by a Christian has to be "preachy" or give the plan of salvation, but I do think that if you're writting about heaven, you need to tell the truth about how to get there! Sorry, but I just can't give this one a really good review.
Gretchen525 More than 1 year ago
The Secret To Hummingbird Cake is a a tough read. The emotional ups and downs of three friends, one who falls ill, pulls at your heartstrings. I think the author has an amazing writing style, produced some really complex and in depth characters, and yet I could not fully get into this book. It was a tough read dealing with some hard issues of life. I prefer to get lost in lighter material so this is purely my own opinion and not anything against the writing style of the book. With all that being said, I did enjoy the back to back banter that went on between the three friends, Laine, Carrigan and Ella Rae. The friendship they have with one another is solid, and a sweet picture of what friendship should be. I think the author did a fabulous job portraying their loyalty to one another and showing their unique personalities right from the very beginning. I also thoroughly enjoyed he small town of Bon Dieu Falls where the characters are from. It's got everything a small town in the South might really have. The pace seems slower there and the company fun. Celeste McHale did a great job creating that sweet small town. I'd recommend this book to anyone who is willing to pick up a tough read that will surely leave you with a lot to think about. This is not a light read but will help you to understand the beauty of friendship, family and love. Thank you to the Fiction Guild for this book in exchange for my honest review.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
A deep and loving friendship between 3 women from the age of 5 years into adulthood. This story encourages you to appreciate the moment. I laughed and I shed many tears when reading this touching story. Yes, one of the women is lost to cancer, but she leaves you with an appreciation of life and those around you.