Full of mouth-watering flavours, sunshine and escapist adventure, The Heavenly Italian Ice Cream Shopwill delight readers who enjoy Carole Matthews and Jenny Colgan.
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 Sorrento’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.
Abby Clements is an author whose books always prove to be a treat and The Heavenly Italian Ice Cream Shop is no exception.
In this sequel to Vivien’s Heavenly Ice Cream Shop, we return to Brighton and some well-known faces from that earlier novel. Whilst this is a sequel it can be read as a standalone novel, although if you plan to read both books I would recommend doing so in order.
In the book, we meet Anna and her Italian partner, Matteo. They are living in Brighton with their young daughter Bella and running the ice cream shop. Anna is aware of how much Matteo has had to give up in order to stay with her in Brighton, so when he starts to miss home, she has to consider the possibility of moving her little family to Italy. She is understandably scared about the thought of leaving her home and her family behind, however she is aware of the sacrifices that Matteo has made for her and decides that it is her turn to make similar sacrifices for him. However, Anna draws the line at living with/near Matteo’s overbearing mother and they compromise by choosing to settle in Sorrento, a city with emotional ties for Anna. As soon as they arrange the rental of an old-fashioned ice cream shop in the town square, they are on their way to a new life and a new start. Will Anna enjoy life in Italy?
Meanwhile, Anna’s free-spirited sister Imogen lives in Brighton with her boyfriend Finn. Her dream it to travel the work as a professional photographer and yet things don’t seem to be going quite to plan. Imogen has to make some serious decisions which will affect the direction her future takes.
In writing about Anna and Imogen, Clements has created some lovely memorable characters. The relationship between the two women is beautifully crafted and balanced. They are the polar opposites of each other, yet they have such a strong sisterly bond. Anna is generally the more serious and thoughtful of the two, relishing safety and stability, whereas Imogen is a free-spirit who cannot stand the thought of being tied to one place (and possibly one person) for life. With regards to the supporting characters, there are two who particularly stuck out as being memorable for me – Matteo’s overbearing and overprotective mother and the girls’ deceased grandmother, Vivien, who’s essence is felt strongly throughout the story to the extent that she felt like another character in the book.
Clements has a great knack for settings and beautifully captures life in both seaside Brighton and chic Sorrento. This is supplemented by talk of the delicious creamy gelato and scrumptious creations that Anna crafts for sale in the ice cream shops. I could almost taste those mouth-watering treats!
The Heavenly Italian Ice Cream Shop is a heart-warming novel about love, relationships and family, with a underlying message of the importance of learning about who you are inside and what you really want out of life. The characters are all forced to recognise their priorities and decide where they are willing to compromise and what they can afford to lose. Is being in love enough to overcome everything else?
A delightful book full of adventure, wonderful destinations and delicious ice creams, with a wonderful ending that will leave the reader sighing with satisfaction. This gorgeous summery read is a wonderful treat for all!
About the Author
Abby Clements is the author of four previous novels, Meet Me Under the Mistletoe, the bestselling Vivien’s Heavenly Ice Cream Shop, Amelia Grey’s Fireside Dream, and The Heavenly Italian Ice Cream Shop. In the winter months, she likes curling up on the sofa with hot chocolate and gingerbread. She lives in north London, where she grew up, with her husband and son.