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Karma and the Art of Butter Chicken

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Raised by Buddhist monks in Delhi after his mother’s untimely and tragic death, Eshaan sets out on the challenging quest to feed and nourish the hungry so they do not suffer her same fate. His attempts to achieve this monumental goal are constantly thwarted. And when his former girlfriend returns from Europe with a handsome fiancé in tow, his life becomes even more complic Raised by Buddhist monks in Delhi after his mother’s untimely and tragic death, Eshaan sets out on the challenging quest to feed and nourish the hungry so they do not suffer her same fate. His attempts to achieve this monumental goal are constantly thwarted. And when his former girlfriend returns from Europe with a handsome fiancé in tow, his life becomes even more complicated. A sliver of hope appears in the form of a local TV cooking competition. Winning would offer the solution to all his problems: money for his mission and the chance to impress the girl he loves. But to win this competition, Eshaan first must face a secret that has the potential to destroy his life and his dreams. Can a young life that has been defined by a crisis ever really thrive? Will Eshaan’s pain-filled spirit ever hear the songs of salvation that the Universe sings for him, or will his demons ultimately win? Celebrated food writer Monica Bhide dishes up a page-turning story of sacrifice, determination, and an honest exploration of the human spirit. Set in contemporary India and seasoned with gentle love, dramatic loss, enchanting poetic verse, and exotic food, Karma and the Art of Butter Chicken will take you to a place where past and present keep uneasy yet delicious company. The cover photograph is by the talented and award-winning photographer, Simi Jois.


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Raised by Buddhist monks in Delhi after his mother’s untimely and tragic death, Eshaan sets out on the challenging quest to feed and nourish the hungry so they do not suffer her same fate. His attempts to achieve this monumental goal are constantly thwarted. And when his former girlfriend returns from Europe with a handsome fiancé in tow, his life becomes even more complic Raised by Buddhist monks in Delhi after his mother’s untimely and tragic death, Eshaan sets out on the challenging quest to feed and nourish the hungry so they do not suffer her same fate. His attempts to achieve this monumental goal are constantly thwarted. And when his former girlfriend returns from Europe with a handsome fiancé in tow, his life becomes even more complicated. A sliver of hope appears in the form of a local TV cooking competition. Winning would offer the solution to all his problems: money for his mission and the chance to impress the girl he loves. But to win this competition, Eshaan first must face a secret that has the potential to destroy his life and his dreams. Can a young life that has been defined by a crisis ever really thrive? Will Eshaan’s pain-filled spirit ever hear the songs of salvation that the Universe sings for him, or will his demons ultimately win? Celebrated food writer Monica Bhide dishes up a page-turning story of sacrifice, determination, and an honest exploration of the human spirit. Set in contemporary India and seasoned with gentle love, dramatic loss, enchanting poetic verse, and exotic food, Karma and the Art of Butter Chicken will take you to a place where past and present keep uneasy yet delicious company. The cover photograph is by the talented and award-winning photographer, Simi Jois.

30 review for Karma and the Art of Butter Chicken

  1. 5 out of 5

    Mary

    Wonderful storyline and read

  2. 4 out of 5

    Stephanie

    Original (and full) review posted on kitchen frolic. (Note: I was sent an ARC from the author but was not expected to write a review) Orphaned at a young age and raised by Buddhist monks, Eshaan grew up knowing hunger. So his goal in life is to ensure that no one ever goes hungry. But in a world of greed and poverty, his dream seems almost impossible. Eshaan’s kind and generous heart makes it difficult for him to save any money towards his ‘restaurant’, but slowly, with the help of his friends, Esh Original (and full) review posted on kitchen frolic. (Note: I was sent an ARC from the author but was not expected to write a review) Orphaned at a young age and raised by Buddhist monks, Eshaan grew up knowing hunger. So his goal in life is to ensure that no one ever goes hungry. But in a world of greed and poverty, his dream seems almost impossible. Eshaan’s kind and generous heart makes it difficult for him to save any money towards his ‘restaurant’, but slowly, with the help of his friends, Eshaan opens Buddha’s Karma Kitchen – serving free meals to the poor in exchange for their help in the kitchen. Of course, most of the people that come in only want a free meal and refuse to pitch in. Very quickly the venture starts to run out of money and food. In order to raise funds, Eshaan tries out for a popular TV cooking show but he sabotages his chances when he throws out his meal right before the judges even have a chance to taste his creation. While all this is going on, extra turmoil is thrown into the mix when the love of Eshaan’s life, Kitt, returns home from Austria with a handsome and successful fiance in tow. Seriously, this guy just seems to invite bad luck. It is almost impossible not to care about Eshaan and to root for him to succeed. He’s far from perfect – sure, he’s young and handsome, he can cook and sing, he’s kind and generous, but he also has his flaws – he’s stubborn and clings to the past too much, and he gives away more money than he saves (which, I guess is a good thing, but not when you have a goal to open a restaurant). There’s a depth to the characters that makes you want to know them. To laugh and cry with them. To grab them by the shoulders and shake some sense into them. This book is an emotional ride. There’s love and heartache, there’s bigotry and acceptance, there’s tragedy and forgiveness. And throughout it all, there’s the food. Although much of the book focuses on the lack of food, that need, that longing for a good meal, brings food to the forefront. Whether it’s the simple gesture of sharing a hot cup of tea, or creating a simple coconut soup, the message throughout is how important food is – not just as nourishment, but as a way to remember, a way to share and a way to bring people together. As always, Monica’s writing left me wanting more. So it’s a good thing that this is only the start of Eshaan’s adventures – there’s already a sequel in the works.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Mollie

    I finished this book several days ago. I was sitting in a parking lot waiting for my daughter, crying as I finished it. It's taken me awhile to sit with this and explain why I love this book so much. It's beautifully written, which I expected as a person whose read much of Monica's work. I also expected the wonderfully wrought descriptions of India and food. But here is a writer who is coming into her voice. She's always had a strong voice--but THIS fiction voice is not simply strong, but just m I finished this book several days ago. I was sitting in a parking lot waiting for my daughter, crying as I finished it. It's taken me awhile to sit with this and explain why I love this book so much. It's beautifully written, which I expected as a person whose read much of Monica's work. I also expected the wonderfully wrought descriptions of India and food. But here is a writer who is coming into her voice. She's always had a strong voice--but THIS fiction voice is not simply strong, but just may be her true voice. It's an honor to witness it. This book has more heart than any book I've read in a very long time. Bravo.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Marijke Durning

    I enjoyed this book. I was given an advance copy. The story caught my attention and, as with other books I enjoy, I found myself thinking about the storyline when I was doing other things. I liked the characters and I could sense and feel the sights and smells as I read. It was a nice change of pace from some of the books I've been reading. Congratulations Monica. You did a great job. I enjoyed this book. I was given an advance copy. The story caught my attention and, as with other books I enjoy, I found myself thinking about the storyline when I was doing other things. I liked the characters and I could sense and feel the sights and smells as I read. It was a nice change of pace from some of the books I've been reading. Congratulations Monica. You did a great job.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Alison Smith

    It's hard not to like and cheer for Eshaan, the protagonist in this lively story. The book reads quickly, and the characters are interesting, if a little one-dimensional. It's almost like reading another (Don't) Eat, Pray, (Hope for) Love book ~ you'll see what I mean when you pick up a copy. : ) It's hard not to like and cheer for Eshaan, the protagonist in this lively story. The book reads quickly, and the characters are interesting, if a little one-dimensional. It's almost like reading another (Don't) Eat, Pray, (Hope for) Love book ~ you'll see what I mean when you pick up a copy. : )

  6. 4 out of 5

    Bonnie

    I read this during the time that I needed something simple and heartwarming. It explores the human spirit, loss, love and strength to overcome hardship. It is written by someone who knows food and India. I welcomed the heartwarming end and look forward to reading her next book, Kismet and the Art of Redemption.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Elizabeth Ann Besa-Quirino

    The author Monica Bhide takes the reader by the hand and shows you how one can find beauty in sadness and joy in the most unexpected places. Filled with heart-tugging moments. The poetry verses are a bonus and equally beautiful. This book is a must-read.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Kathleen

    Glorious characters all centered around food, healing and hope. Great read.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Monica Mahajan

    This Book by Monica Bhide , is a beautiful story ....of endearment and the will to change the world .. its a classic eg. of MLK quote .. take the first step even if you cant see the entire stair yet. Eshaan veer Singh is more of an element than a character and element of goodness , the urge to do good / to heal souls. He tugs at your heart .. and stay with you long after you have finished reading the book ... the Eshaan in all of us wants to help heal this world ... what is astonishing is that . This Book by Monica Bhide , is a beautiful story ....of endearment and the will to change the world .. its a classic eg. of MLK quote .. take the first step even if you cant see the entire stair yet. Eshaan veer Singh is more of an element than a character and element of goodness , the urge to do good / to heal souls. He tugs at your heart .. and stay with you long after you have finished reading the book ... the Eshaan in all of us wants to help heal this world ... what is astonishing is that ... he shows you it can be done in the simplest ways.. FEED the hungry ... Do what you can , when you can and how you can ! I recommend this book, you will come out on the otherside with your own Eshaan in your heart!

  10. 4 out of 5

    Pam

    I'm so thankful I won this book through the Goodreads Giveaways. It came with a window to a culture and life I was mostly unaware existed. I see the news, and I know many Indian Americans, but the book took me to the streets, homes, monasteries, heat, poverty, heart and people in Delhi. I loved the experience. It's an uplifting, beautiful story of overcoming trauma through caring, friendship, and good food. I'm so thankful I won this book through the Goodreads Giveaways. It came with a window to a culture and life I was mostly unaware existed. I see the news, and I know many Indian Americans, but the book took me to the streets, homes, monasteries, heat, poverty, heart and people in Delhi. I loved the experience. It's an uplifting, beautiful story of overcoming trauma through caring, friendship, and good food.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Robin McCool

    While it was a slow start, once the action really got going, it was impossible to put down. With lots of plot twists and turns, it was a thoroughly enjoyable read!

  12. 5 out of 5

    Eugenie

    Wonderful book I loved the characters in the book and the meaning of food (or the lack of) in their lives. The main character, Eshaan, comes to realize that feeding people is not the most important to do, but to give them hope that life can have meaning.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Nancy

    Karma and the Art of Butter Chicken, by Monica Bhide, is a fun and enjoyable read. I found it a perfect summer escape. Eshaan, an orphan, lives in Delhi with Buddhist monks. His dream is to open a kitchen to feed the poor. However, things don’t always go as planned. I found the characters delightful, and the story kept me turning the pages. Bhide’s writing made the setting and culture come alive.. I am very grateful to the author and the publisher for the Kindle book I received through Goodreads Karma and the Art of Butter Chicken, by Monica Bhide, is a fun and enjoyable read. I found it a perfect summer escape. Eshaan, an orphan, lives in Delhi with Buddhist monks. His dream is to open a kitchen to feed the poor. However, things don’t always go as planned. I found the characters delightful, and the story kept me turning the pages. Bhide’s writing made the setting and culture come alive.. I am very grateful to the author and the publisher for the Kindle book I received through Goodreads Giveaways.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Carrie

    I won this book from Goodreads Giveaways. Thank you. This book....I felt every emotion, smelled each smell, heard each sound, saw every sight...all as if I was right in the middle of the story. Beautifully written. I can't wait for the sequel. I won this book from Goodreads Giveaways. Thank you. This book....I felt every emotion, smelled each smell, heard each sound, saw every sight...all as if I was right in the middle of the story. Beautifully written. I can't wait for the sequel.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Deb Ellison

    Such a beautiful story about love, loss and the best parts of human nature and kindness. Loved, loved, loved it!!!

  16. 5 out of 5

    Elizabeth

    Monica Bhide's novel, that is reminiscent of a Bollywood Movie, (I could almost imagine the dance sequences!) is a fun light read, in spite of its underlying serious message reminding us of the inordinate number of people in the world who go hungry and how we well-fed ones treat them. The book is full of descriptions of cooking and various wonderful sounding dishes. It comes with an offer of a Bookclub Cookbook, that naturally, I got (how could I not? it's free...). Of course, considering that B Monica Bhide's novel, that is reminiscent of a Bollywood Movie, (I could almost imagine the dance sequences!) is a fun light read, in spite of its underlying serious message reminding us of the inordinate number of people in the world who go hungry and how we well-fed ones treat them. The book is full of descriptions of cooking and various wonderful sounding dishes. It comes with an offer of a Bookclub Cookbook, that naturally, I got (how could I not? it's free...). Of course, considering that Butter Chicken is in the title of the novel, and that there are wonderful descriptions of that particular dish in the book as well, her recipe for butter chicken is included in the Bookclub Cookbook.      "This dish . . . my mother cooked at the home of a local landowner when I was a child. [...] Now, with your permission, I would like to take a bite before sharing this with you. I haven't tasted it in twenty years."      Only a handful of people watching Eshaan take that first bite understood the significance. It was a rebirth; the son had found his mother again. [...] He put down his tasting spoon then handed each judge a small bowl of the butter chicken: a luxurious dish of spiced chicken in a butter-tomato sauce.      "This, to me, is the dish of hope, because it promises better things ahead and that there is always a way forward. Always." [...]       "The test of a good chef is not how complicated a dish he can make. But how he can make the dish sing with simple flavors and simple ingredients," Judge Singh said -p.325 of novel And if only I could have a sil batta! The cooking show staff had instructed him to bring his favorite utensil, and he had chosen his treasured sil batta. "Possibly the parent idea of the modern day mortar and pestle," Lama Dorje had remarked when he presented the gift to him. Eshaan had smiled at the comparison; he loved his tiny mortar and pestle for his spices. But his sil batta, flat marble stone with a long bat-like stone for grinding, was perfect for making all the pastes and chutneys he so loved creating. -p.167 of novel (view spoiler)[I loved the description of the brittle chili and its red skin on p.138 He was on the terrace of the monastery gathering the red chilies he had laid out on the roof. They had dried and become brittle. It was a worthy lesson, he thought. This brittle red skin had more power to light a fire in someone’s palate than any of the other spices drying on the roof, which physically appeared more robust and powerful. I did find it odd that there was repetition of smashing the bowls near the end of the novel - I'm not sure why this was repeated. For me, it was a powerful enough image at the beginning that it remained throughout the novel. (hide spoiler)] Please see blog from OUR kitchen to read more about KARMA AND THE ART OF BUTTER CHICKEN and one of the dishes we made from the Bookclub Cookbook: http://etherwork.net/blog/karma-beet-...

  17. 5 out of 5

    Ilana

    Karma and the Art of Butter Chicken is the first novel by Monica Bhide, telling the moving story of the orphan Eshaan trying his luck at a popular cooking TV competition. Admirably, the author avoid to fall into the trap of a stereotypical Bollywood-like stories - nothing wrong with Bollywood, but stereotypes in novels are not a sign of talent - and creates a page-turning story where emotions abund and with every twist of the story you feel the need to just jump in the story and start changing s Karma and the Art of Butter Chicken is the first novel by Monica Bhide, telling the moving story of the orphan Eshaan trying his luck at a popular cooking TV competition. Admirably, the author avoid to fall into the trap of a stereotypical Bollywood-like stories - nothing wrong with Bollywood, but stereotypes in novels are not a sign of talent - and creates a page-turning story where emotions abund and with every twist of the story you feel the need to just jump in the story and start changing something. Human emotions are healthy, and I felt myself part of every suspenseful episode of the story, following Eshaan not only when cooking mouth-watering recipes, but also when he has to take decisions or to avoid taking one because he would like to avoid affecting negatively other people's destinties. But even more beautiful than the story in itself are the crystal shaped words of the poetry that Monica wisely chosed to accompany the prose. It magnifies Eshaan's personality and creates even stronger literary effects. The recipes bring elegantly the reader to the reality of senses. A book that makes you hungry, cry and hopeful and that deserves a continuation, because the character are so well profiled that you start by missing them once the book is finished. A special note to the cover by Simi Jois that found the perfect visual expression for the novel. I recommend this book to anyone looking to read quality writing that cannot leave you indifferent. Disclaimer: Book offered by the author in exchange of an honest review

  18. 5 out of 5

    Debra

    Bhide (and Eshaan, the main character) had me on page one: "He smiles as he realizes he may possibly be the only person ever to enter a cooking studio with a monk by his side." Then, I hate to say, Bhide lost me for a bit. The cast of characters (and I mean there are some characters) is long and I found myself thinking, "Who is this person?" Let me start with the main character, Eshaan. Eshaan was orphaned during his formative years due to an absent father and a tragic loss. Hunger plays a majo Bhide (and Eshaan, the main character) had me on page one: "He smiles as he realizes he may possibly be the only person ever to enter a cooking studio with a monk by his side." Then, I hate to say, Bhide lost me for a bit. The cast of characters (and I mean there are some characters) is long and I found myself thinking, "Who is this person?" Let me start with the main character, Eshaan. Eshaan was orphaned during his formative years due to an absent father and a tragic loss. Hunger plays a major role in the book and although Eshaan was taken in and raised by monks, he continues to obsess about hunger and his loss. Eshaan is dedicated to his dream of feeding the beggars of Delhi in an innovative "restaurant" idea: Buddha's Karma Kitchen. With the help of some dedicated friends, he sees his dream to fruition. Although the setting of the book is a Buddhist monastery, it seems like most of Eshaan's friends are wealthy individuals from Kitt and her father Dr. Sinha to his best friend Loveleen. If I were a Bollywood aficionado, I imagine the first part of the book was like a Bollywood film and I wonder if Bhide was going for a loud and fast-paced vibe. Although there were lots of twists and turns and some implausibility during the second half, I become more engaged. To discuss the final part of the book would give away way too much. I would recommend this book and am looking forward to the sequel. I did enjoy Eeshan's poetic journaling that separated most of the chapters.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Susan Bissell

    I love reading books that take place in different countries, this story takes place in Delhi, India. The author writes in such imaginative details that you can almost taste the food mentioned throughout the story and feel the heat and the fragrance and aroma of Delhi. The main character Eshaan is raised by monks after the tragic death of his mother. His father left him and his mother behind never to return leaving them destitute a few years before the death of Eshaan mother. After starving so ba I love reading books that take place in different countries, this story takes place in Delhi, India. The author writes in such imaginative details that you can almost taste the food mentioned throughout the story and feel the heat and the fragrance and aroma of Delhi. The main character Eshaan is raised by monks after the tragic death of his mother. His father left him and his mother behind never to return leaving them destitute a few years before the death of Eshaan mother. After starving so badly at a young age Eshaan dream is to feed the poor and hopefully nourish them back to health by opening a kitchen in where he and the monks live, but he is always having constant money problems trying to achieve his dream, plus him always giving away his money to the poor. Then the love of his life Kitt returns from Austria engaged and planning her wedding here in Delhi and wants Eshaad to cater her wedding. Eshaad is crushed and deeply hurt as to why Kitt has chosen this man over him. Then a chance opens for Eshaad to compete in a local TV cooking competition, that if he won it, he could win back Kitt and solve all his money problems for his kitchen. But then an ugly secret has reared its head and may destroy his dreams and even his life. I really enjoyed all the characters in this story, each one is fleshed out with all the complexities that will have you either loving or hating them as they add to Eshaad life or try to destroy him.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Erin

    Finely developed characters provide nuanced flavor and nourish the mind, as butter chicken nourishes the body. I have long loved Indian food, and have since I first experienced it while traveling in New Zealand of all places. The subtle nuanced flavors that combine into rich and complex satisfying dishes that nourish the body and soul. That's what this book is to me...the combination of rich nuanced characters that simmer amidst a wonderful storyline just like my favorite Indian dishes. Each per Finely developed characters provide nuanced flavor and nourish the mind, as butter chicken nourishes the body. I have long loved Indian food, and have since I first experienced it while traveling in New Zealand of all places. The subtle nuanced flavors that combine into rich and complex satisfying dishes that nourish the body and soul. That's what this book is to me...the combination of rich nuanced characters that simmer amidst a wonderful storyline just like my favorite Indian dishes. Each person is a delightfully flawed individual (perhaps with the exception of the monks who are held to a higher standard). Bhide explores everyone's dark and their light, and finds a redeeming quality in nearly each person. And although I've never been to India, Bhide has succeeded in painting a picture of a place and society that, like the characters, is filled with flaws and redemption. Her writing glorifies yet minimizes cultural differences and highlights that we as humans are all responsible for our own destiny, our own happiness, and that we alone can emerge from the ashes of the problems that threaten to consume us. I am delighted with this well-paced story and very much look forward to the sequel. And of course to exploring the art of butter chicken myself.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Cindy Kerschner

    In her recent book, Karma and the Art of Butter Chicken, Monica Bhide takes you on a ride back to India’s poorest areas where beggars outnumber merchants and for the most part, it is every man for themselves. Amid all the day to day chaos, a young man named Eshaan works hard to achieve his dream of running a kitchen to feed the poor. In Eshaan’s eyes this restaurant is not charity. Patrons would help however they can to earn their meal. Help in the food prep, gather donations or whatever assistan In her recent book, Karma and the Art of Butter Chicken, Monica Bhide takes you on a ride back to India’s poorest areas where beggars outnumber merchants and for the most part, it is every man for themselves. Amid all the day to day chaos, a young man named Eshaan works hard to achieve his dream of running a kitchen to feed the poor. In Eshaan’s eyes this restaurant is not charity. Patrons would help however they can to earn their meal. Help in the food prep, gather donations or whatever assistance was needed. Karma Kitchen would insure no one starved to death like his beloved mother. Eshaan is given the chance to earn the money needed to keep his dream afloat by way of a cooking contest. Will his talent, drive and support from friends be enough to make Karma Kitchen a lasting ray of hope in his troubled community? Bhide takes the time to develop her characters into relatable people that you can love and in some instances, despise. Karma can be a fickle thing. All the more reason to pursue your dreams with everything you got!

  22. 4 out of 5

    Edward Poetry

    I met Monica Bhide in Washington DC. She had this HUGE smile that warmed my spirit! I was IMMEDIATELY drawn to her welcoming aura. I asked her about her book, "Karma" & instantly, I was compelled to buy it. I'm glad I did. Read Karma in 1 day. Enjoyed the rich culture that was presented in this book. The underlying tones of spirituality & practicality merged beautifully. The book also made me EXTREMELY hungry! --that should be expected from an accomplished cook/author. I can't wait for the seque I met Monica Bhide in Washington DC. She had this HUGE smile that warmed my spirit! I was IMMEDIATELY drawn to her welcoming aura. I asked her about her book, "Karma" & instantly, I was compelled to buy it. I'm glad I did. Read Karma in 1 day. Enjoyed the rich culture that was presented in this book. The underlying tones of spirituality & practicality merged beautifully. The book also made me EXTREMELY hungry! --that should be expected from an accomplished cook/author. I can't wait for the sequel. Awesome job Monica!

  23. 4 out of 5

    Rita

    A wonderfully optimistic novel about love and purpose in life. I always learn so much about the Indian culture from Bhide's fiction. I can see this as a Bollywood film. A wonderfully optimistic novel about love and purpose in life. I always learn so much about the Indian culture from Bhide's fiction. I can see this as a Bollywood film.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Beth

    A simple but pleasant book. Fun characters!

  25. 4 out of 5

    Anne

    A sweet story that has me anxious to try Butter Chicken.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Nicki

    Set in modern day India,this is the story of a young man's attempts to improve the quality of life for the less fortunate citizen's of Delhi. A quest that would send him on a journey of discovery in which he would learn about the different aspects of human nature and that you can't move on in life until you have healed your mind from the pain of your past. Eshaan Veer Singh knew what it felt like to be constantly hungry and thirsty, when he was a young boy, his beloved mother had died of malnutr Set in modern day India,this is the story of a young man's attempts to improve the quality of life for the less fortunate citizen's of Delhi. A quest that would send him on a journey of discovery in which he would learn about the different aspects of human nature and that you can't move on in life until you have healed your mind from the pain of your past. Eshaan Veer Singh knew what it felt like to be constantly hungry and thirsty, when he was a young boy, his beloved mother had died of malnutrition and had it not been for the actions of a kindly monk, Eshaan would have probably suffered the same fate. Lama Dorje had taken young Eshaan to live at the monastery and raised him as if he was his own son. Eshaan was a very talented cook who had come up with a plan that involved setting up a kitchen in the monastery where people could come and do small tasks in exchange for a cooked meal. Unfortunately,he would swiftly discover that no matter which side of the social divide they lived on, many people are always happy to take but not so happy to give something back in return. Eshaan was such a kind hearted, caring individual and it was heart breaking watching him being taken for granted and his dreams crumbling to dust due to the greedy and thoughtless behaviour of others. Adding to Eshaan's problems was the unexpected return to Delhi of Kitt, the woman he loved and heart breaking reason behind her return. Despite all the set backs and determined not to give up on his plan, Eshaan auditions for a spot on a tv cooking competition. Are Eshaan's dreams destined to come true? What does fate hold in store for his kitchen and his future with Kitt? I loved Eshaan and wise old Lama Dorge, I also liked Eshaan's loyal friends Loveleen, Radio Rani (yes that was her actual name) and Tenzin. I was even surprised that I actually liked a character called Nikolas by the time I reached the end of the book although I still found I had mixed feelings about both Kitt and Gina.  scattered throughout the story was extracts from Eshaan's journal which gave the reader insights into his inner thoughts and emotions.  This beautifully written story has a plot that covers a wide range of realistic and relatable issues including poverty, bullying, religion, discrimination and greed. The story has a cast of characters who are vivid and realistic, some of whom were more likeable than others. The author cleverly and skilfully combines stunning scenery, authentic characterisation, scrumptious sounding food and the good and bad sides of human nature to create a story that is captivating and enthralling. I really enjoyed being a passenger on Eshaan's journey and I look forward to reading more of this author's books in the future.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Veronika Jordan

    I’ve been a huge fan of this author since I was invited to be on the blog tour for the wonderful The Soul Catcher. In fact Monica, knowing how much I loved the book, asked me if I would like a copy of Karma And The Art of Butter Chicken. I said I would be delighted. I had just started reading it when I was even more delighted to be invited on the blog tour, so here I am. Such a thoughtful novel with the most delightful cast of characters – Eshaan Veer Singh, our main protagonist, Dr Sinha who liv I’ve been a huge fan of this author since I was invited to be on the blog tour for the wonderful The Soul Catcher. In fact Monica, knowing how much I loved the book, asked me if I would like a copy of Karma And The Art of Butter Chicken. I said I would be delighted. I had just started reading it when I was even more delighted to be invited on the blog tour, so here I am. Such a thoughtful novel with the most delightful cast of characters – Eshaan Veer Singh, our main protagonist, Dr Sinha who lives near to the monastery where Eshaan lives with Lama Dorje and the other monks, his daughter Kitt, the love of Eshaan’s life, their friend Loveleen, unmarried and pregnant, the oddly named Radio Rani, and too many more to list. However, I must briefly mention one of my favourites – Rani the Dogman – who brings his ten dogs to guard the entrance to Buddha’s Karma Kitchen, because I had this vision, not of a pack of Dobermans and Rottweilers, but a raggle-taggle group of barking, snapping Chihuahuas and scruffy terriers. I loved this book! Such a mix of modern ideas – same-sex marriage (though still frowned upon by many in India), children born out of wedlock, trans people, Bollywood and designer fashion. Then on the other hand we have superstition – particularly from Mr Merry Merha who hates his neighbour Loveleen, not just because she is unmarried and pregnant, but also because she has a black cat which he believes is bad luck. ‘You are a witch,’ he screams at her during one of their weekly arguments. Dr Sinha’s sister Kimi Bua is also superstitious – everything not done according to tradition is not auspicious and will therefore curse the parties involved. Two different worlds colliding at every turn. I dare you not to fall a little in love with Eshaan. He is so kind and generous, if a bit naive at times, and we feel his pain and suffering. We just want him to be happy. But he is his own worst enemy, Can he overcome his guilt and his demons in order to find happiness and fulfil his dreams? Wonderful stuff! Many thanks to @annecater for inviting me to be part of #RandomThingsTours

  28. 4 out of 5

    Donna Morfett

    I'm not really sure what it was about this book that appealed, as its not my normal read, but Im glad I decided to give it a go. It opens with a young man in a cooking competition throwing away his entry before the judge can taste it, as he grew up hungry, and was making a point. However as the book continues, you learn that wasnt really a smart move, as Eshaan is trying to save money to try and open a kitchen to help the poor and hungry of his Indian village. I love Eshaan, he is everything tha I'm not really sure what it was about this book that appealed, as its not my normal read, but Im glad I decided to give it a go. It opens with a young man in a cooking competition throwing away his entry before the judge can taste it, as he grew up hungry, and was making a point. However as the book continues, you learn that wasnt really a smart move, as Eshaan is trying to save money to try and open a kitchen to help the poor and hungry of his Indian village. I love Eshaan, he is everything that is good in the world, he has a big heart, and doesnt understand that sometimes you have to be cruel to be kind. Things become more complicated when his ex girlfriend returns from Europe with a new man. He is stubborn and struggles to move on from his past, much to the chagrin of the monks trying to guide him through life. The writing is very evocative, both the food, and the setting. Having never been to India, I got a really good sense of the sort of place it is, and could sometimes picture myself amongst the people enjoying the meals amongst them. The whole cast of characters were well developed and you cared about them. A real credit to the author, as this isnt always easy to do. Not an author I had heard of before, but one I will look out for in future, after truly being taken on an emotional journey, and being left kind of stunned at the end.

  29. 4 out of 5

    thewoollygeek (tea, cake, crochet & books)

    This is the first book I have read by Monica Bhide but I can definitely say now she will be on my TBR future lists. This book was a delight, the author manages to transport you to New Delhi through her wonderful and rich descriptions. This book deals with so much love, eating disorder, poverty, religion and hate. Eshaan, our main character opens Buddha’s Karma Kitchen to help beggars on the street learn skills to cook and be able to get themselves out of poverty, he does this from his shared pain This is the first book I have read by Monica Bhide but I can definitely say now she will be on my TBR future lists. This book was a delight, the author manages to transport you to New Delhi through her wonderful and rich descriptions. This book deals with so much love, eating disorder, poverty, religion and hate. Eshaan, our main character opens Buddha’s Karma Kitchen to help beggars on the street learn skills to cook and be able to get themselves out of poverty, he does this from his shared pain of loss, hunger and understanding growing up with poverty. Like most things in life, Eshaans hopes and dreams do not go to plan, what follows is a lovely story that will make you fall in love with Eshaan, his altruistic hopes and dreams, you will root for him both in his business and also his love for Kitt (Intertwined in all this amazing plot is a parallel theme and story of love). A fantastic story, one I will definitely return to in years to come. Thanks to @annecater for the free copy of an e-book for an honest opinion and the opportunity to be part of #RandomThingsTours blog tour for this book. All views are my own and freely given.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Joy Becker

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. I was awarded this book as part of a giveaway, but it had been on my TBR list anyway. It is a very sweet story, but it lacked depth and credibility. Let's be honest, does anyone actually know anyone like Eshaan? Other than being desperately in love with Kitt (why???), he never has a negative reaction to anyone. Love interest Kitt has an Indian father, ostensibly grew up in Delhi, but seems to know nothing about India or its culture. Her Austrian fiancée decides last minute that Kitt should be wi I was awarded this book as part of a giveaway, but it had been on my TBR list anyway. It is a very sweet story, but it lacked depth and credibility. Let's be honest, does anyone actually know anyone like Eshaan? Other than being desperately in love with Kitt (why???), he never has a negative reaction to anyone. Love interest Kitt has an Indian father, ostensibly grew up in Delhi, but seems to know nothing about India or its culture. Her Austrian fiancée decides last minute that Kitt should be with Eshaan because she's wearing his cologne unawares? Come on!! Having said all that, the good part of the story is the determination Eshaan has in helping all those around him who are less fortunate, regardless of the cost. That's something we can all aspire to.

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