Review of The Heavenly Italian Ice Cream Shop by Abby Clements

Published: 2nd July 2015
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Pages: 400

Blurb:

Anna and her husband Matteo are ready to embark a delicious Italian adventure. After a year and a half running their ice cream shop on Brighton beach and raising their baby Isabella, Matteo is starting to miss Italy. A shared passion for ices means it’s easy to settle on a new business idea – they’ll open a shop in the town’s cobbled square, a short walk from the sparkling blue sea. For a while, life is sweet; but then Matteo’s overbearing family get involved… Anna’s younger sister Imogen feels like things are finally coming together – she’s living with boyfriend Finn in a beach house in Brighton, and her photography is taking off. Then her career stalls, and the lure of Capri – and a man from her past – prove difficult to resist.

Review:

Thank you to Simon & Schuster for kindly sending me a review copy.

The plot follows on swiftly from the previous book Vivien’s Heavenly Ice Cream Shop which sisters Imogen and Anna run together in memory of their Grandmother. With the narrative getting off to an exciting start with a new bundle of joy, I was swept off into utter bliss with two characters who I absolutely adored. When the idea of moving to Italy springs up to Anna and her partner, it didn’t seem like a bad idea to me at all, but it differently brought a twist to the plot.

“That was the thing with Vivien; there had been so many layers to her. Anna was used to hearing snippets and stories from people, lighting up dark corner she and Imogen had never known about.”

I really enjoyed the point of view set up throughout the entire narrative; hearing from both Anna and Imogen allows readers to get to know them once again and to indulge in their very different lives. Part One of the delicious narrative was all about their family turning their grief for Vivien into something exciting and for some family members to take off and explore a little bit more of Italy. I felt as if we were given more of an opportunity to get to know Anna and Imogen’s family in this second book especially with the change to Vivien’s household. Abby’s description was subtle yet effective, it gave me a strong sense of realism; as if I was there in the Brighton Ice Cream Shop with the two sisters.

“Elegant shuttered apartments and cobblestones surrounded them, and as Anna breathed in she could smell the sweet aromas coming from the bakery.”

The bumping of heads between Anna and her Italian mother-in-law Elisa was a great addition to the plot; it added some more in depth realism that perhaps readers can relate to. With the plot jumping from Brighton to Sorrento, Abby did a wonderful job with the vast change of scenery from the miserable rain to the glorious sunshine. As Part Two ends with the sisters almost being reunited, it is clear that Imogen has some serious family business to figure out whilst in the beautiful foreign country – will she get to the bottom of it? When Imogen bumps into an old face, you can’t help but wonder if she’ll do something silly.. Surely not though.

“How do you love someone, say that you’ll be there for them, when a part of you is always wanting to get away?”

As the narrative pulled towards the end, both good and bad things occurred to our two main leading ladies (don’t worry, no spoilers).. But in the light of it all – they had their family and despite all the delicious ice creams in this plot, Abby has made certain that family comes first before anything which I really admired. Overall, this is the perfect book for Summer – filled with laughter, family, friends, ice cream and plenty of drama.

“I’m not one for rushing. I don’t want to be an old fool, Imogen.”

Twitter: @AbbyCBooks

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