Love & Gelato by Jenna Evans Welch ~ 389 pages ~ published 5/3/16 by Simon Pulse
“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.
What I Thought:
**Warning: Some mild spoilers are in this review!**
I have always been, and will always be, in love with Italy. I have been there twice. The first time was in high school with my choir program, and we took a tour of Venice, Florence, Rome and other assorted towns. Then I went to Venice on my honeymoon five years ago. I am part Italian, so any book or movie that takes place in Italy immediately has my attention! I gave you all of that backstory to make the point that I am basically pre-disposed to love any media that takes place in Italy!
I absolutely loved Love & Gelato! I thought that the story was precious, the love story was adorable, and the descriptions of Italy were vivid (and accurate!). I went into the book, as stated above, fairly sure that I would at least enjoy it, simply because it was set in Italy. While that certainly made me happy, I really was completely drawn in by the storyline.
I liked Lina, although I did find her a little bit annoying at the beginning. I think that this was intentional though, as the things I found annoying were the immature things she said and thought at the beginning of the story, especially in regards to the cemetery and Howard. She slowly grew up as the story went along, so I was able to forgive her early annoying-ness 😉 I have seen a few reviews criticize “how quickly she fell for Ren”, but I felt like it was a fairly slow burn. She might have used the “L-Word” a little quickly, but that is also very true to the fact that she is only 16. I found their love story to be charming and believable.
The storyline with Lina’s mother and the journal was great and well thought out, in my opinion. It really did have me going about who the identity of “X” was. I did find her mother’s reasoning for not telling Lina about her father to be a bit thin, but other than that, I enjoyed this plot device.
If you read this book and don’t immediately want gelato (or at least ice cream), something is wrong with you my friend! 😉 I will say, that is one of the things that I still miss the most about Italy! Can I go back now, please?!
I gave Love & Gelato 5 STARS! I loved the romance, character development, and the descriptions of Italy! If you love a good, clean, contemporary romance set in an exotic locale, then this is the book for you!!
Are you interested in learning more about this book/series? Check out the links below!
Have you read this book? Have you read the sequel, Love & Luck? Are there any other cute, contemporary romances set in exotic settings that I should pick up? Let me know down in the comments!
Love and happy reading,