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

3.37  ·  Rating details ·  247 ratings  ·  39 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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3.37  · 
Rating details
 ·  247 ratings  ·  39 reviews

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Jan 04, 2008 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.
Feb 04, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I loved this book. Surprising plot twists abound, but not everything turns out happy and the way you want it to. I have always loved the bakery setting in a book, as the authors often describe how it feels to them to bake something, sink their fingers in, describe how something turns out that they themselves have created. This baker’s life is baking, and when she begins having trouble with creating, it makes her entire life tumble. This book is very much about life, love and family, and how to i ...more
Jun 17, 2018 rated it it was ok
Shelves: summer-reading
I wanted to like this but just didn't. The way the characters spoke just did not sound natural, too formal. Overly descriptive at times well. The boyfriend's movie does not sound interesting. Did not care for the ending. I enjoyed the setting and talk about the pastries. I almost stopped reading it a few times but kept going because I curious as to how the whole thing would come together.
Nicole-Anne Keyton
Jun 01, 2014 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
Jun 17, 2011 rated it it was ok
Shelves: bc-copy
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Salli Bauer
Jan 24, 2010 rated it it was ok
This book was pretty formulaic, but I enjoyed that it took place in Seattle in the Wallingford district.
Oct 15, 2017 rated it really liked it
I enjoyed the main character’s journey of discovery. Very descriptive (maybe too much?) writing and some unexpected turns.
Apr 18, 2008 rated it really liked it
Yum, yum! An exquisite Indian expat novel about baking.
Elizabeth Kennedy
Mar 07, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: literature
This is a beautifully written book about the sorrow that can fill ones life and the choices you make- do you let it's insideous nature fill up your soul, or do you acknowledge it and let the light in? how does personal tragedy from long ago affect what you are living through today? Could it be exacerbated by the fear of losing something loved now? Would it, as in this example, affect the cakes you make? Loss seems to be a theme in this book, loss of relationships in particular, but the glorious ...more
Mathis Bailey
Dec 16, 2017 rated it really liked it
A charming read. I read this 350 page novel in two days. The writing was smooth, suspenseful and whimsical that dazzles the senses. The food descriptions and traveling experiences were engrossing and spot on . It definitely took me on a culinary adventure to Japan, India, and Paris. The ending could've been better but it was tied up nicely.

The story is set in Seattle and centred around a 30 year old woman, Sunya, who's getting over a broken marriage and the abandonment of her Buddhist father. T
Oriyah Nitkin
A quick and delicious novel. Descriptions so rich you can feel and taste them. Is the ending predictable? I was torn.
Patti Anton
Jun 01, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Amazing beautiful and dreamy. A great book
Angela Johnson
Dec 15, 2018 rated it it was ok
Let's see...can we name drop everything in Seattle any more than the author does here? You're not originally from there are you, sweetheart? Irritating in it's own right. The author's writing style is stilted and not especially flowing. Predictable plot. Ok-ish, story, I guess. I finished it, anyhow...which is probably why I gave it 2 stars. The love-interest's movie plot sounded ludicrous and god-awful. And the utterly asinine and inexcusable reason for her father abandoning her...??!! Whatever ...more
Oct 02, 2011 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
Aug 31, 2014 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
Aug 19, 2008 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
marissa  sammy
Jul 12, 2007 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
Nov 12, 2014 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
Jennifer Reid
Mar 26, 2011 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
Jun 27, 2010 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.
Oct 12, 2009 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!
Apr 23, 2008 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. :)
Karen Hood
Mar 09, 2014 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 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.
Cindi (cheesygiraffe)
Jun 06, 2008 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.
Jul 19, 2009 rated it really liked it
Very fun read - love and pastries and travel - what's not to like?
Dec 11, 2010 rated it liked it
The author adds an interesting ingredient to baking skills in the story-that of mindfulness...
Not a very realistic kitchen.
A bit predictable.
But there is a good message.
Jul 21, 2010 rated it really liked it
About an Indian baker in Seattle who starts her own pastry could I NOT like it?!
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Bharti Kirchner is the author of eleven books—seven critically acclaimed novels and four cookbooks and hundreds of short pieces for magazines and newspapers. A recent novel, Goddess of Fire, was shortlisted for the Nancy Pearl Award.

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

Bharti has written for Food &a