My rating: 3.5 of 5 stars
Publication Date: May 3rd 2016
Publisher: Simon Pulse
Point of View: 1st Person & Feminine
Recommended Age: 12+
Genres & Themes: Young Adult, Mystery, Contemporary, Romance, Summer, Family, Italy, Adventure
“I made the wrong choice.”
Lina is spending the summer in Tuscany, but she isn’t in the mood for Italy’s famous sunshine and fairy-tale landscape. She’s only there because it was her mother’s dying wish that she get to know her father. But what kind of father isn’t around for sixteen years? All Lina wants to do is get back home.
But then she is given a journal that her mom had kept when she lived in Italy. Suddenly Lina’s uncovering a magical world of secret romances, art, and hidden bakeries. A world that inspires Lina, along with the ever-so-charming Ren, to follow in her mother’s footsteps and unearth a secret that has been kept for far too long. It’s a secret that will change everything she knew about her mother, her father—and even herself.
People come to Italy for love and gelato, someone tells her, but sometimes they discover much more.
‘‘You know, people come to Italy for all sorts of reasons, but when they stay, it’s for the same two things.’’
‘‘Love and gelato.’’
WARNING: Love & Gelato may trigger a dizzying yearning for gelato. I repeat, Love & Gelato may trigger a dizzying yearning for gelato. Beware, readers!
It may also make you crave to find love in Italy…
This contemporary novel is exactly what I needed after finishing a frightening thriller novel – Behind Closed Doors. It took my mind off negative thoughts about life and marriage.
It’s a romantic and mysterious story starring a very lively American girl who is sent to her father’s house in Italy by her grandmother after her mother succumbed to cancer.
The theme of family is ever present. When Lina arrives in Italy, she is given her mother’s journal for when she studied photography there.
Lina not only wants to understand what happened between her mother and Howard – why they are not together anymore – but she also wants to feel closer to her mother by doing so.
It’s very heartfelt. I especially enjoyed the snippets of her mother’s life in Italy. While her story is indeed saddening, there is good that comes out of it.
Lina also meets a charming male fellow living next d—field to her. Ren is sweet and respectful and open and generous – I took a like to him. While there is a mild love-triangle situation going on, it’s easy to discard it from one’s mind.
So that’s the good part. The no-so-great part is the cluelessness and confusion. If there’s one thing I’m annoyed with is when a character refuses or can’t see the obvious in front of her and has to go through great lengths or experience painful events to discover what was always crystal obvious.
In other words, I dislike clueless characters, and Lina is definitely one of them. Furthermore, the whole ‘‘who is my father?’’ situation didn’t need to be that complicated. And it’s not that it’s complicated per se, but the author made it so. She deliberately confuses us!
To some extent, I love being played with and being able to guess things for myself, but when someone is actually making me walk circles over and over again—no, thank you.
I had fun with Love & Gelato. The setting is gorgeous, the main characters are heart-warming and the adventures pretty darn diverting. It’s not impressive, but it sure is a pleasant summer read.
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