Let Them Eat Cake

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Overview

Lexi Stuart is at a critical crossroads. She’s done with college but still living at home, ready to launch a career but unable to find a job, and solidly stalled between boyfriends.

When a lighthearted conversation in French with the manager of her favorite bakery turns into a job offer, Lexi accepts. But the actual glamour is minimal: the pay is less than generous, her co-workers are skeptical, her bank account remains vertically-challenged, and her parents are perpetually ...

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Overview

Lexi Stuart is at a critical crossroads. She’s done with college but still living at home, ready to launch a career but unable to find a job, and solidly stalled between boyfriends.

When a lighthearted conversation in French with the manager of her favorite bakery turns into a job offer, Lexi accepts. But the actual glamour is minimal: the pay is less than generous, her co-workers are skeptical, her bank account remains vertically-challenged, and her parents are perpetually disappointed. Her only comfort comes from the flirtatious baker she has her eye–but even may not be who he seems to be!

So when a handsome young executive dashes into the bakery to pick up his high profile company’s special order for an important meeting–an order Lexi has flubbed– she loses her compulsion to please. “What am I going to do?” he shouts. “Let them eat cake!” she fires back with equal passion and a nod to Marie Antoinette. And then, something inside Lexi clicks. Laissez la révolution commencer! Let the revolution begin! Instead of trying to fulfill everyone else’s expectations for her life, Lexi embarks on an adventure in trusting God with her future–très bon!

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
“Let Them Eat Cake is a delicious read! Byrd brings a fresh, insightful approach to women's fiction as she stretches out a welcoming hand to twenty-something readers. Bon Appetit!”
–Robin Jones Gunn, bestselling author of Sisterchicks Say Ooh La La! and The Christy Miller Series

“An engaging tale with as many layers as a croissant…and shaped just as lovingly.”
Siri L. Mitchell, author of Kissing Adrien

“If a good book were as loaded with calories as a French pastry, this one would have added pounds to my hips. Let Them Eat Cake--a sweet, satisfying story of searching for one's place in life and inviting God along on the journey.”
Tamara Leigh, Author of Perfecting Kate

“I could not put Let Them Eat Cake down. As a twenty-something myself, I felt as if Lexi and I were old friends. Sandra Byrd had me laughing and crying all the way through the entire book. I can’t wait for the next one.”
–Shannon Kubiak Primicerio author of The Divine Dance and co-author of Life. Now.

“This realistic, slice-of-life story undertakes the challenging decisions Lexi must make about her future–whether she will follow her passion or find a job that pays the bills. Not shying away from tough issues, Sandra Byrd's vivid characters draw readers in and encourage them to follow their dreams.”
Natasha Neuroth, Internet Product Editor, Christianbook.com

“Sandra Byrd’s Let Them Eat Cake is a rich, creamy delight. The characters ring true and the plot simmers at just the right pace. Try it! You’ll like it!”
Lyn Cote, author of Blessed Assurance

“Not every novel fills me up and leaves me hungering for more, but Let Them Eat Cake does. Sandra Byrd has created a witty heroine whose search for significance and desire to follow the Lord equals her charming bonhomie.  You won’t regret settling down with a plate of French pastries and this delectable adventure!”
Angela Hunt, author of The Elevator 

“Sandra Byrd has a crafted a delicious gem for the twenty-something crowd – and their mothers! Seattle’s artsy downtown adds flair to the story’s overall appeal, as do the gotta-try-‘em recipes. Delightful.”
Susan Meissner, author of A Seahorse in the Thames

“Lexi Stuart is in search of a place to call home, a man to love, and that elusive word called destiny. This is a fun, realistic story of a twentysomething who isn't afraid to question her faith and other's expectations in order to discover her place in the world.”
T. Suzanne Eller, international speaker and author of several books, including The Woman I Am Becoming: Embracing the Chase of Identity, Faith, and Destiny

“Sandra Byrd’s protagonist in Let Them Eat Cake is Lexie Stuart, a self-effacing Francophile who narrates the story with a delicious prose, a smattering of French and a grow-as-you-go faith. J’adore Let Them Eat Cake. Merci, Sandra!”
Leslie Gould, award-winning author of Beyond the Blue and Scrap Everything

Let Them Eat Cake is a culinary delight. Sandra Byrd creates a lovely atmosphere in this delightful read with a wonderful surprise ending.”
Rachel Hauck, author of Diva NashVegas

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781410409942
  • Publisher: Gale Group
  • Publication date: 9/3/2008
  • Pages: 393
  • Product dimensions: 5.60 (w) x 8.50 (h) x 1.10 (d)

Meet the Author

Sandra Byrd is a prolific writer of fiction, including the popular Friends for a Season series for teens, and the bestselling Girls Like You and Secret Sisters series for young girls. She is a regular contributor to national Christian publications. Before she began writing full time, Sandra worked in marketing, sales, and acquisitions for an educational publisher. She and her husband have two children, and make their home in Seattle, Washington.
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Read an Excerpt

Chapter One

Chaque personne sait où sa chaussure pince.
Each woman knows where her shoe pinches.

Catbert avoided catching my eye–never a good sign. He prowled the aisles all day but didn’t stop to say hello or ask about my plans for the weekend. My cubicle had recently been expanded by three inches to accommodate my new cellmate, Celine, who silently typed nonstop. The woman was a machine. I tried not to compare the stack of nutrition labels she had robotically processed since eight that morning with my own paltry offering.

I pulled up another document and studied it. Hmm, I wonder why they used an emulsifier in this recipe? I closed my eyes and thought about it. And was this soft wheat?

I heard a cough behind me and quickly opened my eyes. “Should I help you?” Celine asked in French, eyeing the stack I still had to translate.

“Oh…ah…non, merci,” I answered. “I was thinking about the flour.”

“Bon,” she said. She had a smile like sour milk. I’d asked her to lunch when she first joined us. She’d informed me that she didn’t take lunches, and would I please stop burning lavender candles at the desk. Les allergies.

I glanced at the clock. It was nearly five. In order to get my quota done today, I’d have to stay at least another hour. Again. Celine tidied up her station, turned off her Moroccan music, and bid me a stiff good night. Everyone else began to pour from the room like mice from a hole. I typed faster.

I felt, more than saw, him standing behind me.

“Miss Stuart?” Catbert said.

I turned around and looked up. “Yes?”

“Can you come with me?” He nodded toward his glassed-in office overlooking the cubicles.

“Should I finish these labels first?” I asked, cotton-mouthed.

He shook his head. “That won’t be necessary.”

Uh-oh.

I followed him into his office, and we sat across the table from each other. “Your French is really very good,” he said. “You simply don’t translate enough documents in a day to make it worth your time…or ours.”

“I’m just so fascinated by the business,” I said quickly. “I enjoy seeing what’s going into each product.”

He nodded curtly. “But you are not here to evaluate contents, Miss Stuart. You are here to translate.”

“I see,” I said, feeling desperate and hating myself for begging for a job that I loathed. “I can certainly work more quickly.”

He shook his head. “That’s what the thirty-day trial period was for. I wish you the best.” He handed me my final paycheck and a cardboard box for the few items I had at my cubicle. “I’m sorry.”

I nodded and took the paycheck and the box, not trusting myself to speak for fear of releasing the tears. What was I going to do?

I packed up my half-burned lavender candles, got into my car, and drove slowly in order to collect myself before pulling up in front of my parents’ West Seattle house. I’d moved back in a little over a month ago to find a job and save some money for a rental deposit on my own place.

I left my box of cubicle gear in the trunk, stashed like a dead body. I pasted on a smile and walked into the house. My mother was just hanging up the phone and looked exultant.

“Guess what?” she said.

“What?”

“All the permits are in place, and we’re ready to go.”

“How long until your new place is ready to move into?” I asked, trying to dredge up enthusiasm from somewhere deep within.

“Six months,” Mom answered. “No longer.” She glanced at me out of the corner of her eye.

I’d lived for twenty-four years in a family rife with unspoken conversations and unstated expectations. I knew what she meant. “Get a life, Alexandra Stuart. You have until July.”

I went into “my” room–recently the storage room, before that Nate’s room–and closed the door behind me. Dad had stacked my mail, forwarded from my old apartment, on the dresser. I shuffled through the magazine subscription advertisements and a manipulative plea for alumni donations from the college I’d attended just an hour and a half to the north in Bellingham.

No wedding invitations so far this week. God is good. I opened the last envelope.

Not again.
I’d been overspending on clothes for a job I hated.

Had Dad guessed what this was when he’d stacked the mail? I sat on the bed, lifted the box that held my vase, and rested it on my lap. With the money from my last paycheck I had bought this tiny Chihuly bud vase from a friend who was moving to Spain. I’d always wanted a Chihuly piece, and it was a bargain. If I'd known it was going to be my second-to-final paycheck, of course, I’d have applied it to the final five car payments on my coughing VW.

I set the vase, still carefully swaddled, on the shelf in the corner of the closet. Chihuly would debut in my real apartment. Or maybe in my room at the downtown YWCA shelter. I walked into the hall, shut the bedroom door behind me, and went into the kitchen. My mom stood in front of the stove, wide-checkered apron hugging her postmenopausal curves.

“What time will they be here?” I lifted the lid on the homemade spaghetti sauce my Italian family calls “red gravy.” A thick tomato steam, flecked with dried summer twins, basil and rosemary, rose into the air. Mom chopped fresh mozzarella and dressed it with balsamic vinegar. I could taste the tang on my lips even now.

“About seven. You can use my curling iron if yours isn’t unpacked yet.”

Subtle, Mom.

They say trouble always visits in threes. My hypochondriac lawyer brother, his très successful lawyer fiancée, Leah–who graduated from high school a year after I did–and my outspoken Nonna were coming to dinner. At least Nonna posed no problem to the job conversation.

No, absolutely not true. Nonna was always stirring up trouble. “Can I help with anything? Make some shortbread for dessert?” I asked. “I perfected a new recipe with vanilla beans before Christmas–the cookies I gave away in tins. Everyone said they were great.”

“No thanks, honey. I have it all under control,” Mom said.

“What’s a mother for except to cook for her family?”

“All right. I’m going to run to the mall for a minute,” I said.

Mom nodded absently, tasting the sauce.

When I’d escaped to my car, I sat for a moment and sighed before turning over the motor. I loved my mother, of course, but I missed living on my own. I headed toward the discount Supermall. My cell phone rang, and the caller ID flashed the name of my best friend, Tanya.

“What are you doing?” she asked.

“Going to the mall.”

“What’s in your wallet?”

I dug it out at a red light. “One hundred and fifty-six dollars, a Tully’s Coffee card, and a creased photo of Greg with a nose ring penciled in.” Greg and I broke up almost a year ago. Everyone said I should be over it.

“No way.” Tanya laughed. “Don’t spend too much.”

“I’m not going to buy a lot,” I said, wincing at how pathetic I sounded. “I just need time to think. And I can use the clothes for job hunting.”

“Job hunting? You have a job.”

“Uh-oh, light’s green. I’ll call you later. Bye!” I hung up.

I parked in front of the Rack. Even if I couldn’t afford Nordstrom, I could afford their remainders discounted at Nordstrom Rack. I tried on a pair of slim black pants that hid the extra pound or two hitchhiking on my hips, and some black pumps with a skinny-yet-sturdy heel. I headed to the register, and the clerk took out a marker.

“Wait,” I said.

The shoes hung in midair. The ten people in line behind me let out a collective, irritated sigh and shifted their feet.

“Yes?”

“Do you have to write that number on the bottom of the shoes?”

“Yes. It’s loss control. Company policy.”

“Can you make it small?” I asked. The clerk wrinkled her nose but wrote it small. Okay. As long as my feet stayed flat on the floor, no one would know my shoes were discount. I paid, left, and drove home. Now that the retail therapy was over, I felt sad again and blinked back tears. But I managed to put on a happy face and get out of the car, wondering what I’d say at dinner if they brought up my job. I couldn’t let on.

Nate, Leah, and Nonna arrived precisely at seven. At the store I’d felt so chic in black pants and a white shirt, but now I felt like a hostess at Bakers Square. Even though I was unhappy living with my parents, it still felt good to be back home and near my crazy friends and family again.

“How are you?” Leah said, hugging me. I hugged her back, warmly. It wasn’t her fault that she was pretty and successful, or that she had graduated a year behind me and was already clerking at a law firm in town, or that, to top it off, she was a Pied Piper to children and small pets everywhere.

“Really good to see you, Leah,” I said, meaning it. Hey, if I never found another job, maybe I could nanny their kids!

“Hey, sis,” Nate ruffled my hair, the same rich dark brown as his. But I scored the blue eyes and dimples, for which I offer a hearty thanks to all recessive genes everywhere.

Nate and Leah kicked off their shoes, and Nonna slipped off her loafers after brushing a feathery kiss on my cheek. As soon as everyone had gone into the dining room, I turned Leah’s shoes over, hoping to see a scribbled number on their soles. Nothing. Just soft leather. Real leather.

I am so pathetic.

I followed them into the dining room, where we all sat in the same seats we had used our whole lives, with Leah as an addition, of course.
“So.” Nate looked at me, twirling ribbons of linguine around his fork. “How’s the new job?”

Everyone looked at me, smiling. There had been vast relief when I’d finally scored a job. I knew there’d be major disappointment when they found out I’d lost this one. I’m all about postponing pain.

“The company is interesting,” I said evenly. “They translate nutrition labels from English into French so they can be used in Canada too. It’s a Canadian requirement that all labels are published in both languages.”

Nate grinned and ate another bite. Leah, more sensitive to the vibes, looked up in alarm. She knew I’d neatly dodged the question. Catbert-like, I avoided eye contact. “I guess studying Madeline and Tintin was a great career decision after all, eh?” Nate forked another mouthful of linguine, and Leah elbowed him slightly. I couldn’t decide whether to be glad that someone finally disciplined my older brother or jealous of his and Leah’s intimacy. They were getting married in June.

“I studied French culture,” I said, “and literature. Contrary to popular opinion, the literature goes way beyond the Madeline books.”

“They sure never read up on how to fight a war,” Dad snickered.

“They haven’t won anything since Napoleon.”

Nonna gave him a hard look.

“Excuse me,” he said, pushing his chair back. “I’d better refill the water pitchers for Margaret.” Dad always called my mother Margaret, even though everyone else called her Peggy.

“Would you like to have lunch this week?” Leah asked me. “I only get forty-five minutes, but we can go somewhere close or eat in the atrium of my office complex.”

“Thanks,” I said. “I’d really like that. What day works best for you?”

She thought for a minute. “Wednesday? Do you have enough time to get away for lunch?”

“I have a lot of time at lunch,” I said. More than you know.

“I’ll bring something good for both of us.”

“You sure?” she asked. “I invited you, after all.”

“I’m sure,” I said firmly, not wanting to be the designated charity case.

I hoped I could buy something both classy and cheap. I didn’t want to show up with homemade sandwiches like Red Riding Hood and her picnic basket.

After dinner we talked for a while, mostly about Nate and Leah’s wedding.

“You’ll help me shop for dresses, won’t you?” Leah asked.

I nodded. “Of course! It’ll be fun. I’m glad to be back in town for that reason, if nothing else. I’d like to give you a shower, too, if no one has spoken up for it.”

“I’d love that,” she said.

“I have three possibilities to escort me to the wedding,” Nonna chimed in. “One has a walker, so dancing might be tough. I may have to choose between the other two.”

“Maybe you can give one to Lexi,” Nate teased.

I threw a balled-up napkin at him. “How do you know I don’t have a date for your wedding?”

He raised his eyebrows, but Mom walked in with a tray of cookies right then, which thankfully stopped the conversation.

“Do you?” Nonna whispered. I shook my head and winked. “But I will. Promise.”

“That’s my girl.”

After coffee, Nate got ready to drive Leah and Nonna home.

I gave Nonna a peck on the cheek. Her skin was soft and floury with face powder, like freshly kneaded dough. “Bonsoir,” Nonna said, kissing me back. She was the only one who tried to speak French with me.

“Bonne nuit,” I answered.

As soon as they left, I called Tanya. “Come over,” I said. “I need some get-a-life support.”

She laughed. “I’ll be there in a few minutes.”

I hung up the phone and began to unpack a few books. I opened a bookstore bag and took out the three I’d bought earlier that week. When I was a freshman, I’d decided to buy books at the local bookstore, save the receipt, read them, and return them for credit.

I did it twice before I’d realized it wasn’t right. Things were so tight now. Was it really that bad? I looked at the books on the bed, unwilling to return any of them.

I shredded the receipt and sprinkled the confetti into my garbage can, then started hanging up my new clothes. A knock sounded on my bedroom door, accompanied by a soft “Hey.”

“Help!” I called from inside the closet. “I’ve been swallowed by a shrine to Nate’s childhood!” When I’d moved out, my mom had changed my smaller room into her sewing and craft room. When I moved back in, only Nate’s old room was available.

Tanya came in and helped me lug Nate’s old dartboard out of the closet.

“I barely have enough room for my stuff,” I said. “I’ll put it in the garage. Or he can take it to his apartment with the rest of his stuff.”

“He might want to wait until he and Leah have their own place,” Tanya said.

“Yeah, or she may want me to deep-six it.” I grinned.

“How’d it go tonight?” she asked.

“Dinner was a little rough.” I sighed and plopped down on the bed.

“Nate and Leah doing well?”

“Yeah. It’s not their fault they’re both great. It’s just that I seem so…so…unproductive next to them.”

“You’re not unproductive.” Tanya sat on my floor. She nodded at the open box of books. “Want me to hand these books to you while you put them on the shelf? We can talk while you do. You’ll feel better when they’re up. It’ll feel like your own space.”

I frowned. “I don’t want it to be my space at all. That’s why I hadn’t unpacked yet. And anyway, it can’t be my space for long. In six months, my parents are moving to a fifty-five-and-older community nearly two hours away.”

“You’ll have your own place then, which will really be your own space.”

“My room at the Y?” I joked. I sat down next to her. “Tanya, I lost my job today.”

“Oh, Lex, I’m sorry. I thought maybe you had when you said you needed to go job hunting. What happened?”

“I wasn’t translating enough labels quickly enough.”

“Are you sad?”

“Sad? A little. I feel like a loser, but I hated that job. I counted every minute I was there. I made no friends and did no meaningful work. Scared? Yes.” I rubbed my fingers over a worn guide to Montreal. Then I handed it to Tanya. “I should have stayed there.

I had my own place. I liked it there.”

“So why did you come back?” Tanya asked.

“I was broke, as always. Once it wasn’t part of a room-and-board agreement with the college, I had no choice.”

“You’d wanted to go to France instead, anyway,” she reminded me.

I nodded. Montreal had been my second choice.

“So what are you going to do?”

“I don’t know. My parents are moving to the retirement house right after the wedding. They’re listing this house for sale soon. I guess I’ll try to find a job and then a place to live.”

“How about teaching?” she asked. “You could so totally get a job at the French American School.” Tanya taught fourth grade and lived with another teacher in a two-bedroom apartment. She had started with a local school district and planned to transfer to a private Christian school nearby, but she’d signed a two-year teaching contract and a two-year lease with her roommate. She was stuck for now.

“You want to know the truth?” I asked.

“Lay it on me.” She handed me a copy of Baudelaire.

“I don’t like kids.” There. I’d said it. The pillars of the house didn’t fall in and crush me. I hadn’t been struck with boils.

“Really? I never knew that.”

“I just never felt brave enough to admit I don’t like them. It’s watered-down blasphemy to a lot of Christians.”

She opened the can of Diet Coke she’d brought. “Well, are you ever going to have kids of your own?”

“First of all, that assumes I’m married at some point.”

“Lots of time,” she said. Tanya wasn’t interested in dating, and I knew why. I’d tried to talk with her about it again a couple of months ago, but she’d shut me down.

“And second, they’ll be interesting to me because they’ll be my kids. I’m just not into kids in general.”

“I get it,” Tanya said. “Teaching is out.” She handed me last year’s stack of Paris Match magazines. “What did you want to do with a French degree?”

I shook my head. “I don’t know. I just like the language and the culture and all. Diplomacy or something.” I thought I’d be married. “I worked for that French import firm for a few months after college,” I reminded her. “I had high hopes when I started.”

“Until they made it clear only family moved beyond receptionist.”

“Uh-huh. Then I tried freelance translation, but there was never enough work to make ends meet. Part of my credit card debt is from then. I ate ramen noodles and eggs.”

“What about the account manager job?”

“Phone sales,” I said. “Totally bait and switch. A grunt in a sweaty cubicle begging people to buy extended warranties on their home appliances before midnight.”

“Didn’t your uncle help you find that last job in Bellingham? Marketing executive?”

“Yeah, but, you know…I lost that job too.”

“I know,” Tanya said. “I’m sorry I brought it up. Does your uncle know you were ‘not a good fit’?”

I shook my head.

“Something good will come up soon. Either a job or a place to live.”

“Or a guy,” I said.

She rolled her eyes at me, and we stood up. I knew she thought it was totally impractical to be thinking about men at a time like this, and maybe it was. But when we were in junior high, there was a questionnaire our friends passed around–I love questionnaires–that asked, if you had to pick getting married or having kids, which would you pick? Tanya wanted the kids. I wanted a soul mate. If I could have both, great. If not…

I hung Nate’s old dartboard on the robe hook on the back of my door. I tore out a piece of notebook paper and ripped it into twenty pieces. I wrote “Guy” on four of them, “Job” on six of them, “Place to Live” on six of them, and “Guy” on four more (hey, a girl needs an advantage!). Then I arranged them on the dartboard, sticking them in the twelve, pizza-slice-shaped sections.

“What are you doing?” Tanya asked.

“It’s biblical.”

“What?”

“It’s the twenty-first-century equivalent of casting lots,” I said.

“Mmm-hmm.”

I threw a dart. I aimed hard for guy but got job instead.

“Two out of three,” I said.

I threw two more darts, aiming for all I was worth toward guy, and got two more jobs. Well, maybe that wasn’t too bad. I mean, I needed a job before I could get a place to live, right?
I closed my eyes and threw a fourth dart.

“Hey,” Tanya said. “I thought you said three.”

Even blind, the last dart came up job. Oh, all right. I’ll be responsible. I felt with certainty that if Nate had thrown three darts, he would have hit job, place to live, and wife once each. Winner takes all. “Give me those darts,” Tanya said. “Maybe something miraculous will come along and release me from my teaching contract.”

She threw one dart, then two. They both hit guy.

“I quit,” she said, disgusted.

“Stupid board.” I took it off the hook and stuffed it back into the closet.

Tanya checked her watch. “I’d better go. Are you coming to church this weekend?”

I shook my head. “Nah. Maybe next week.”

Even girlfriends have unspoken conversations and unsaid expectations. I didn’t push her; she didn’t push me. For a while, anyway.

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Foreword

1. Lexi feels a sense of unfairness for many people in their twenties: they’ve worked hard in school and/or at a job, kept themselves mostly unentangled in sexual relationships, and have generally followed God. Yet they seem further away from many life goals – job, great marriage, a place of their own – than people who’ve lived faster lives. Are you ever frustrated by what seems like a lack of justice in your own life? How do you push beyond it?

2. Lexi and her mother have a complicated relationship. Lexi recognizes the many great things her mother has done for her, yet wants to be free to make her own mistakes and live her own life, which may look very different from the one her mother envisioned for her. Lexi’s mom wants to give her daughter all of the things she herself has never had, and use the wisdom of her years to help her daughter avoid life’s pitfalls. How do mother-daughter struggles take place in your own life? How do you find healthy boundaries with your mother or your daughter (or both!) while remaining emotionally engaged?

3. What happens when your best friend seems to hit life’s jackpot and you seem to hit life’s potholes? Can this friendship be saved? How?

4. Lexi has a dream for her life, but she’s fearful of pursuing it. What holds her back, mainly, is fear of what other people will think, and lack of trust that God will see her through. What unrealized dream do you have for your life? What can you do to bring it about? What holds you back?

5. This book was written for and about the “quarter life crisis” group, people who arrive at their twenties and suddenly have noclear direction for their lives. Do you identify with that? Is that something that you believe happens regularly during our lives?

6. Lexi has gone to church her entire life, but hasn’t really been personally engaged. In this book, she takes time to build a relationship with God outside of parents, church groups, and anything else “other” led. Is your relationship with God dependant on institutions?

7. Do you think people are able to find life guidance outside of reading scripture? Do your life habits reflect your beliefs? Lexi begins, for the first time, to read the bible book by book rather than topically or the “lucky dip” verse method. How does the approach match or differ from your own?

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Reading Group Guide

1. Lexi feels a sense of unfairness for many people in their twenties: they’ve worked hard in school and/or at a job, kept themselves mostly unentangled in sexual relationships, and have generally followed God. Yet they seem further away from many life goals – job, great marriage, a place of their own – than people who’ve lived faster lives. Are you ever frustrated by what seems like a lack of justice in your own life? How do you push beyond it?

2. Lexi and her mother have a complicated relationship. Lexi recognizes the many great things her mother has done for her, yet wants to be free to make her own mistakes and live her own life, which may look very different from the one her mother envisioned for her. Lexi’s mom wants to give her daughter all of the things she herself has never had, and use the wisdom of her years to help her daughter avoid life’s pitfalls. How do mother-daughter struggles take place in your own life? How do you find healthy boundaries with your mother or your daughter (or both!) while remaining emotionally engaged?

3. What happens when your best friend seems to hit life’s jackpot and you seem to hit life’s potholes? Can this friendship be saved? How?

4. Lexi has a dream for her life, but she’s fearful of pursuing it. What holds her back, mainly, is fear of what other people will think, and lack of trust that God will see her through. What unrealized dream do you have for your life? What can you do to bring it about? What holds you back?

5. This book was written for and about the “quarter life crisis” group, people who arrive at their twenties and suddenly have no clear direction for their lives. Do you identify with that? Is that something that you believe happens regularly during our lives?

6. Lexi has gone to church her entire life, but hasn’t really been personally engaged. In this book, she takes time to build a relationship with God outside of parents, church groups, and anything else “other” led. Is your relationship with God dependant on institutions?

7. Do you think people are able to find life guidance outside of reading scripture? Do your life habits reflect your beliefs? Lexi begins, for the first time, to read the bible book by book rather than topically or the “lucky dip” verse method. How does the approach match or differ from your own?

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 20 )
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Sort by: Showing all of 20 Customer Reviews
  • Posted January 29, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    Bon Appétit!

    Do not read this book on an empty stomach, especially if you are craving something sweet. This book is filled with tons of food. After reading this, I so craved a cupcake. This book was so informative of bakeries and the French culture that I felt like I worked in the bakery myself. I know exactly how Lexi felt in the beginning of the book. I'm going through the exact situation about having a degree but not being able to find a job. It shows the struggle a lot of grads face when they have studied something they love but find out that society demands something else. Also, the story really shows how it's like to be a 20-something in this time period when you want to live on your but you can't so you're stuck with the parents. In fact I think this is one of the few Christian fiction books that I've read that actually has shown this. It doesn't show everyone being all happy that they are staying together. The story isn't preachy at all, in fact I enjoyed for once how a non-Christian actually is interested in learning about Jesus. This book was tons of fun to read. I loved the little notes and illustrations that would pop up randomly in the book. Loved especially the Wikipedia article. It was like reading one of those chain letter books with the letters and invitations that you get to read. It made the story more exciting, I think all books should have these because it really grabs your attention! This book has become one of my favorites of this year. Extremely recommended to read while eating a croissant with a cafe creme.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted December 9, 2008

    more from this reviewer

    strong character study

    College graduate Lexi Stuart has graduated but has not found a job that she enjoys. That has not been a problem because she lives at her parents¿ home. However, they are moving into a retirement community within six months, which means the clock has run out and she needs meaningful employment. --- Lexi converses in French during an interview with luscious Luc, the manager of L¿Esperance Bakery, who offers her a job there. She accepts although the pay leaves her below the poverty level. While Luc seems interested in seeing Lexi outside the bakery, she finds everyone else thinks the job is beneath her. When she gets into an incident with an executive she declares her liberty from everyone¿s expectations except God while informing the obnoxious customer to let his guests eat cake. --- Readers will smell the delightful odors of a French bakery as Sandra Byrd provides vivid descriptions that will have our olfactory senses in overdrive and are mouths salivating. The story line is at its most tasteful when plot focuses on the activity at the bakery. The romantic subplot feels off kilter as it is too sweet. Still fans will appreciate twenty-four years old Lexi as she learns she can¿t please everyone so she needs to please herself, which will help with discovering what to do with her life now that she¿s not a kid anymore. --- Harriet Klausner

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted February 13, 2013

    more from this reviewer

    jI love sweets so when I first heard about this French Twist ser

    jI love sweets so when I first heard about this French Twist series a few years ago I was immediately intrigued. I'm so happy to have finally had the chance to read the first book, Let Them Eat Cake. Woven into the story are well-placed recipes for sweets and treats like coconut cake and "Boyfriend Bait" and that's not good if you're easily tempted to try these mouth-watering delights for yourself as I am! Reader beware, this book will not help your waistline one bit! Lexi is definitely a talent in the kitchen and I love how it's reflected with the inserted recipes.




    I loved Lexi's journey from being stuck in a cubicle, to perfecting her recipes, to dreaming about a job in Paris.  Even though it's Christian fiction this very much reminds me of the film Sabrina. If there's any romance for Lexi as it looks like there's going to be, hopefully it's just as sigh worthy as one of my favorite classic films.




    Let Them Eat Cake ends with quite the cliffhanger. It will be interesting to see just how Lexi adjusts to her new life and how she copes away from her family and new found friends. Trust me, if you enjoyed her story as much as I did you will want to have book 2, Bon Appetit on hand to read immediately. Let Them Eat Cake is free on Kindle now through February 14, 2013, so if you want to take a chance on this great book you can!

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  • Posted February 8, 2013

    Highly Recommended

    Review of Let Them Eat Cake by Sandra Byrd
    Hmmm… this book makes you salivate through its contents if one is a bit conversant with the French way of life and it is really as crisp and fresh as a buttery croissant that is totally yummy!
    The author brings the French baking alive with all the mouth-watering recipes that the readers just would love to try!
    The plot is intriguing, sweet, simple and so didn't have a lot of twists thrown but it was still heart-warming.
    The book centers around Lexi and her search for accomplishment in her own way and faith in what she believes which led pursuing her career dreams of being a successful French chef and love which came along with it. Her desire for love and when it finally springs on her did not make her to forgo her first dream of a career. That is a plus for this book! Especially since it is written for young-adult and their world of struggles!
    For Lexi, she was faced with the desire to please her family but struggles with it because she knows that their dreams and desires will not bring her the satisfaction in life in which she inwardly craves and this made her to take the decisions she took hoping that the future will vindicate her. We see her struggle in not disclosing the fact that she has lost her job to her family members being tired of disappointing her parents – she bore it alone strongly because for one thing she did not want them to suffer frustration and to mete out pity on her! She knew they meant well! Nonetheless – it was a bold thing to do and frustrating when her hope to be made the Manager of L’Esperance and meet ends-meet like being able to rent an apartment was dashed! But she braced herself up and did not allow her spirit to be daunted! That was a brave thing to do!
    Along the story line, we see her misinterpretations of the affections of Luc, the owner of the bakery, who appreciates Lexi's hard work! If she knew that the ‘ambiance’ of a French man can be righted interpreted as ‘their way of doing things’ and not necessarily flirting with her – it would have helped her to position her hopes rightly but for the English and Europeans - of course – those are rightly ‘flirtatious’ ways!
    But in all the book had rewarding salient lessons imbedded to it – the unfolding of Lexi’s relationship with Sophie, Margaret and even Marianne whom her heart ought to be jealous of but which of course she knew is baseless is a rewarding line that Sandra weaved into the story. The change in Sophie, the character of Lexi to get to know the real Margaret and her courage to face her fears on not being accepted – and even her worries to please which brought her close to Dan.

    Though her plans did not work out as she seemed to have dreamt, she nonetheless had the surprise of her life when she had the opportunity to go to France, and be trained as a chef – he dreams seems to before her eyes, yet with it came the CHOICES she had to make in her relationship with Dan! A lesson I must draw for myself here is that at the ‘carrefour’ (a French word for ‘junction’) of every dream there will always be the OBSTACLE to distract one from pursuing ones dream! A lot to learn from Lexi.

    Thanks Sandra – this being the first of your books I read it is great! I am already on to ‘Bon Appétit! Hey but some of the French sentences and translations are ‘rusty’! Work on that! But tell you what ? You did a great job!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 19, 2012

    Loved it....

    This book made me want to learn French and work in a bakery!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 11, 2012

    A fun lightvrea A fun light read- perfect for summer

    See title

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 4, 2012

    No text was provided for this review.

    No text was provided for this review.

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  • Posted October 27, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    Pursue Your Passion.

    Our protagonist is "enticing," "delicious," and full of spice and ambition. Sometimes she may seem "flaky," yet you may see yourself in her as she navigates the employment world after college and is trying to pursue her passion as well as renew her relationship with God. Have you ever seen someone trying to meet other people's expectations? Then you probably will relate to our protagonist. This is a wonderful journey to take with Lexi, filled with sweet treats that offer food for thought. *Enjoyed the storyline since it is believable and told in an entertaining style. *Encourages readers to pursue their passion and dream even though others may not fully support your path, and encourages readers to seek God's guidance.

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  • Posted August 10, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    Let Them Eat Cake Anyway.

    Every time I read a sub par book, I wish more and more that most reviews came with demographics/stats. I picked up this book from the bookstore sales bin after a quick scan through the phone on the spot. 4.5 stars. Why not? It wasn't until I got home that I actually sat down at the computer for faster access on the reviews (it's tricky to navigate on the phone with just a finger.) That's when I realized that the stars were a bit deceiving but I went ahead and read right through all 300+ pages. It's clear that the book is geared toward the 20+ yr old crowd, relating the hardships of post-college life. But with the author's extensive background with teenage novels, the book reads just like one. There was no depth and insightful observances. No convincing epiphanies and satisfying verbage. The only perks of this read: the romanticized peppering of the french culture, the mouth-watering gourmet treats, delectable pastries and cafe cremes of quaint coffee shops. Other than that, the book failed to inspire mixed with bland religious propaganda (another miss to inspire). I'm glad I only spent $4 on this book!*

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 10, 2010

    Not quite sweet enough...

    The book did not quite meet my high hopes, but I still enjoyed reading it! The novel was, unfortunately, a little guilty of the typical Christian fiction blunder: poor writing only emphasized with cheesiness. In 'Let Them Eat Cake' this was most apparent in the unforgivably repetitive typos and the random and unsuccessful attempts at cooking related similes and metaphors- at a certain point, the attempts just became overkill. HOWEVER, dismissing the writing style, the story was sweet and definitely uplifting. As a young adult myself, it is encouraging to know that "someday my prince will come," and I just need to trust God's plan for my life. I would definitely recommend this book as a very quick, easy and fun read.

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  • Posted May 12, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    Lexi Stuart, upcoming pastry chef, debuts in Let Them Eat Cake.

    I was hooked from the first page on this delightful tale of Lexi Stuart. Lexi's graduated from college but looking for meaningful employment. When she lands a job at a bakery, she thinks her dreams are starting to come true. But disappointment comes when she learns she will not be considered for a management position. But Lexi finds later that the Lord has something better in store for her.

    I recommend this book for anyone's personal library.

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    Posted December 30, 2010

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 30, 2010

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    Posted October 2, 2011

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted January 13, 2011

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 2, 2011

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 19, 2010

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted May 7, 2011

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted April 22, 2010

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    Posted May 6, 2011

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