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Pastries: A Novel of Desserts and Discoveries
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Pastries: A Novel of Desserts and Discoveries

3.31  ·  Rating Details ·  213 Ratings  ·  31 Reviews
Sunya Malhotra, a young American woman whose parents had migrated from India, is the head baker and owner of Pastries, a warm and cozy bakery in Seattle. Sunya loves baking and has transformed her fabulous cakes and tarts into delicious works of art. The success of her beloved bakery is put in jeopardy, however, when a chain bakery threatens to open up down the street from ...more
Hardcover, 352 pages
Published July 19th 2003 by St. Martin's Press (first published January 1st 2003)
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Food-Related Fiction
129th out of 428 books — 520 voters
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 945)
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Aug 31, 2014 L.m. rated it liked it
It might be unfair of me to rate this book as I somewhat skimmed the last third or so. As such I'm giving it three stars and the benefit of the doubt. The book has it's charms, descriptions of food and some scenes stand out in memory such as Sunya's mother's first meeting with her father. But the book has a sort of formal, a bit awkward tone despite being in first person where one gets the impression that the author is very much the main character, and there's this almost self-revolving, delusio ...more
Salli Bauer
Jan 24, 2010 Salli Bauer rated it it was ok
This book was pretty formulaic, but I enjoyed that it took place in Seattle in the Wallingford district.
Dec 04, 2014 Maria rated it it was ok
I thought this was book was 'okay' however, it wasn't a book that kept me on my toes. The relationship between Sunya and Andrew was quite odd, and wasn't fully explained in the book, with a lot of missing pieces regarding how they truly felt about each other. Also, Sunya's father was hardly discussed in the book, which made it difficult to really emphasize with Sunya and Dee when they discussed their feelings towards him. I wish that Sunya's bakery was discussed in more detail, as it seemed to l ...more
Nicole-Anne Keyton
Dec 30, 2014 Nicole-Anne Keyton rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: summer-reading
Not what I originally anticipated, but that's what I love about reading books for the first time. It's refreshing for me to finally pick up a book I haven't read for the zillionth time.

I picked up three things from this book. The first was my appreciation for local business. Having lived in a city for about a year now, I feel at ease resorting to local cafes for morning coffee and light lunches, thrift stores for my clothes shopping, and local markets for groceries. I don't depend as much on cor
Oct 18, 2011 VeganMedusa rated it it was ok
Shelves: bc-copy
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Aug 31, 2008 Hazel rated it liked it
Recommends it for: foodies
This was a surprisingly entertaining book, about a bakery owner who struggles with losing her baking mojo. Set in Seattle, the author does a good job of capturing the ambience of our fair city during the fall and winter, with detailed descriptions of Wallingford and other local haunts, which is fun.
For a book that would be considered "chick lit," this book has a little more depth and avoids many of the cliches we find in chick lit: a job working for the wealthy who live a lifestyle the protagon
Oct 02, 2011 Katie rated it really liked it
With Pastries: A Novel of Desserts and Discoveries, Bharti Kirchner delivers a story that breaks the mold of both recipe-based novels and East-Asian Indian heritage narratives. Sunya Mulhotra, proprietor of the Pastries Café, panics when a corporation bakery announces its opening just a few blocks from her store. She is already recovering from the betrayal of her live-in partner, and with this added stress, Sunya discovers she can no longer bake—not even her famous eponymous chocolate cake.

As if
Jul 12, 2007 marissa rated it it was ok
I was in the mood for froth, and that's what this book delivered. Although I could tell that Kirchner had some native talent for inventive, concise description, her often overly-formal phrasing sometimes made things as awkward as her heroine, Sunya. And while the story-within-the-story format worked well for certain flashbacks, the added narration of the movie that Sunya's would-be beau is working on was just too clunky to believe. I skipped all of it.

Still, it was a pleasant sunny-afternoon rea
I finished this about a week ago and forgot to journal it. I really loved this book right up until page 314 (yes, for some reason the page number stands out in my mind), which is at least 90% through the book, when an aspect of Sunya's trip (won't say more or I may spoil it) just was not plausible or credible to me at all. * Sigh* it was so good until then - I'm sure endings are the hardest part of a book to write. I did love all the bakery atmosphere and reading about how and what they baked re ...more
Karen Hood
Mar 11, 2014 Karen Hood rated it it was amazing
Shelves: fiction
I love this author's writing! Enjoy the vivis images,Pastries: A Novel of Desserts and Discoveries
Jun 03, 2015 Heather rated it it was ok
A little bit trite...what works are the life wisdoms shared throughout the book. Would like to have more of the book set at the Asanti Bakery where Sunya really does the growth. The love story was annoying rather than believable.
Jennifer Reid
Mar 26, 2011 Jennifer Reid rated it it was amazing
This week I finished a book called Pastries: A Novel of Desserts and Discoveries by Bharti Kirchner in one day. (I couldn’t put it down.) I have this weird fascination with Indian culture, but then mix it in with the art of pastry baking, Japanese culture, finding yourself, etc., it becomes one of those times that you can’t put the book down until it’s 1’30 in the morning, and you’ve finally finished the story. Loved it, loved it. Loved the movie in my head as I read it. There were a few things ...more
Jan 16, 2016 Joy rated it it was ok
Easy feel good story of how a woman overcomes her struggles, and finds the peace & clarity she needs.
Jun 27, 2010 Burton rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I had hoped for better. I was on a restaurant/food reading binge at the time and this was the final of three books. The subplot of the central character’s mother was more interesting than the primary storyline. It was, at times, entirely too predictable. It was apparent what she was striving for but could not grasp either in language or plot. In the end, I had not built a bond with the central character and the ending left me unfulfilled. I was more disappointed than anything else.
Sep 22, 2014 Heather rated it did not like it
DNF. Really slow; disappointed in how focus wasn't on food.
Oct 12, 2009 Bethany rated it really liked it
i really liked this book! it made me hungry but i enjoyed hearing all about the process of making the delicious baked goods. you can definitely tell that the author wrote cookbooks and enjoys food as well!enjoying this book/author led me to search out other things by he and i am now reading darjeeling. it was a bit slower to start but i'm getting into it!
May 03, 2008 Ingrid rated it liked it
Not the best writing in the world, but this book indulged my (not so) secret desire to work in and possibly own a coffee shop/bakery. I could relate to the emotional upheaval of the main character, too. And reading this book was way easier on the waistline than going to an actual bakery. :)
Cindi (cheesygiraffe)
Jun 07, 2008 Cindi (cheesygiraffe) rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2008-read
Very beautiful book. Sunya means emptiness and having been depressed before, more than once, I can see how Sunya herself arrived there. But going to Japan she founds out how to let go and also mets a person she has needed to all her life.
Jan 04, 2008 Jennie rated it liked it
I wanted to like this book, but I detested the ending - the justification her father gives her after abandoning his wife and newborn daughter "for the greater good" - rubbish I say.
Oct 16, 2011 Barbara rated it it was ok
Shelves: chick-lit, novel
The owner of an independent bakery is up against a chain of bakeries....sound a little familiar? I enjoyed the descriptions of the goodies but found the story itself lacking.
Feb 25, 2011 Ekoozmin rated it liked it
I love stories that use food as a backdrop to a romance or a family predicament. This one satisfied my appetite. Light reading.
Jan 23, 2010 Karl rated it liked it
I like reading about desserts more than tea, I guess. Also appreciated the spiritual side of the book.
Dec 11, 2010 Jane rated it liked it
The author adds an interesting ingredient to baking skills in the story-that of mindfulness...
Jul 21, 2010 Jane rated it really liked it
About an Indian baker in Seattle who starts her own pastry could I NOT like it?!
Feb 01, 2008 Amy rated it liked it
This was a fun, light read that made me very hungry for some of the treats mentioned in the book.
Jun 12, 2012 Sarah rated it it was ok
So, so. I loved the stuff about the bakery, but the "love story" was lame.
Not a very realistic kitchen.
A bit predictable.
But there is a good message.
Jul 19, 2009 Diane rated it really liked it
Very fun read - love and pastries and travel - what's not to like?
Oct 09, 2010 Kyra rated it really liked it
I really enjoyed this book, lots of unexpected twists.
Apr 18, 2008 Marie rated it really liked it
Shelves: asian-american, women
Yum, yum! An exquisite Indian expat novel about baking.
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Bharti Kirchner is the author of nine books—five critically acclaimed novels and four cookbooks and hundreds of short pieces for magazines and newspapers. Her fifth novel (a mystery this time), Tulip Season: A Mitra Basu Mystery is due out in 2012.

Her earlier novels include Pastries: A Novel of Desserts and Discoveries, Darjeeling, Sharmila’s Book, and Shiva Dancing.

Bharti has written for Food &a
More about Bharti Kirchner...

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