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Let Them Eat Cake: A Novel (French Twist Book 1) by [Sandra Byrd]
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Let Them Eat Cake: A Novel (French Twist Book 1) Kindle Edition

4.4 out of 5 stars 609 ratings
Book 1 of 3: French Twist

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Length: 345 pages Word Wise: Enabled Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
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Book 1 of 3 in French Twist
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Editorial Reviews


"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 The Wedding Dress

"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 Becoming Us. 

"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, bestselling author of Secrets of a Charmed Life 

 "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

"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 Esther: Royal Beauty 

Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.

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.”


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.


“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.


“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 eve... --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Product details

  • File Size : 1140 KB
  • Publication Date : December 4, 2012
  • Publisher : Quaystrokes (December 4, 2012)
  • Print Length : 345 pages
  • ASIN : B00AIRQ54A
  • Word Wise : Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting : Enabled
  • Text-to-Speech : Not enabled
  • Language: : English
  • Screen Reader : Supported
  • X-Ray : Enabled
  • Lending : Enabled
  • Customer Reviews:
    4.4 out of 5 stars 609 ratings