Title: Love & Gelato
Author: Jenna Evans Welch
Publisher: Walker Books
Genre: YA, Romance, Contemporary
Description: Lina is spending the summer in Tuscany, fulfilling her mother’s dying wish that she should get to know her father. With the help of her mother’s journal, Lina uncovers a magical world of secret romance, art and hidden bakeries. People come to Italy for love and gelato, someone tells her, but sometimes they discover much more.
*Free copy provided by publisher for review…
Review: I can’t believe how much I enjoyed this book! ‘Love & Gelato’ is a YA romance/contemporary novel with a feel-good story. Lina’s mother tells her she wants her to move to Florence to be with her father, Howard, but Lina doesn’t know Howard, her mother never even mentioned him until now.
The story is told in the first person and after a brief prologue where Lina’s mother explains her wish to her, the story begins with Lina arriving in Florence and getting to know her new surroundings. The tale quickly moves forward when Lina finds out about her mother’s journal, the one she kept when she had been in Florence herself, before Lina was born. The rest of the book is a combination of both Lina’s story and her mother’s journal entries, which act like a second story.
I’m surprised by how much I enjoyed reading this. I’m not a big reader of romance novels but this one is just so heartwarming. I felt compelled to keep reading even though there’s not a lot that initially happens compared to some books I’m used to. Although Lina’s story, her situation with Howard and getting to know new people and Florence was exciting to read, I really enjoyed her mother’s journal entries much more. It was like reading two stories at once and the questions that came from every entry just made it more and more compelling. The way Florence is described is amazing. There’s not long paragraphs of description but it’s enough to really make you feel like you’re there and although I’ve never been there myself, this book made me want to visit.
Although the book is a little predictable in parts, I did guess what was happening to Lina’s mother far earlier than Lina did at the start of the book, it was still a compelling read. There were enough twists with the story to really keep me reading on and I found myself engrossed in the tale, especially in the second half when Lina’s mother’s journal entries start to reveal some hidden truths.
The book is both a romance and contemporary novel. I loved the romance in both Lina’s story and her mother’s but there was an equally good almost mystery sort of story about finding out the truth of what happened in Florence all those years ago. That’s why I’d say it’s a good contemporary novel too. I really loved the ending, where everything was so well wrapped up. It was both a very satisfying ending and also one that left a big smile on my face.
There is nothing at all offensive in this book. If you speak Italian you may find one word that’s not exactly swearing but not so nice (if I can put it that way) but there was nothing about this book that is offensive and it’s just a really good, feel-good story.
I’d recommend this book for anyone interested in a summer feel-good read, whether you’re into romance stories or not.
Do you like contemporary orromance novels? Have you ever visited Italy? Let me know what you think in the comments below 🙂