Monday, September 26, 2016

Love in the Time of Gelato

Monday, September 26, 2016 with No comments
Title: Love & Gelato
Author: Jenna Evans Welch
Narrator(s): Rebekkah Ross
Series: stand-alone
Length: 8 hrs 17 mins
Publisher: Simon & Schuster Audio
Publication Date: August 16, 2016
Source: audiobook & galley received from publisher
Purchase: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Audible

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“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.

If I'd reviewed this immediately after I finished the audiobook, I would have rated it a bit higher. I was still riding the I feel like I've just been to Italy and fallen in love high at that point and had all the heart eyes for this story. But it's been a few weeks now, and while I still appreciate how adorable the story was, I've realized there were a few things that bothered me about it.

First, the things I enjoyed:

  • The setting - I've never been to Italy, but after reading this book, I feel like I have been. It's not the first time I've felt that way after reading a novel, but it's still pretty significant when a book can basically transport you to a place with its vivid descriptions.
  • Howard & Lina's relationship - It may have been a stilted thing of forced parenthood and reluctant teenager at first, but it blossomed into something adorable.
  • The food - Gelato, secret bakeries, a step-in dad who can cook. Yes to all of the above.
  • Ren - Charming, winsome, oh-so-helpful Ren.
  • The journal - Who here among us doesn't think that knowing their parents when they were younger would help us understand them better now? I'm not saying I'd want to read everything from my mom's journal in those days, but I don't think our bond would suffer if we shared some experiences. Also, I think it would be a really beautiful thing to have when she's no longer with me.
  • The story of grief and loss - Lina is attempting to move on, but it's obvious how hard she's taking the loss of her mother when little things trigger memories or remind her of her mother.
  • The mystery - Lina trying to figure out why her mother chose the path she did and why she wanted Lina to know that she "made the wrong choice."
And now a few things that left me dissatisfied:

  • The mystery - Yes, I placed this in my likes. But I also disliked how obvious certain aspects of it were.
  • The overall predictability - So, actually, I guess I just didn't like the general lack of surprise I got from the book, not just how the mystery played out.
  • The love square - Mostly there is a central romance with two other characters just being strung along to add tension to the story. I don't dislike love triangles (or squares) on principle alone, but I'm not a fan when they're this intentional.

I mostly enjoyed this charming, adorable little story. And I think the audiobook narration really aided in my enjoyment because once I started listening, I did not want to stop. I've only listened to Rebekkah Ross' narration on a couple of titles previously, but I definitely think she's suited to voice characters like the capricious, impulsive Lina.

Love & Gelato definitely made me want to venture to Italy, eat some gelato, and fall in love like so many before me. What I expected to be a completely fluffy story turned out to be a gentle tale of loss and love. I definitely look forward to reading more from this author...even if she doesn't incorporate gelato into the story. :P

GIF it to me straight:

About the author:

Jenna Evans Welch spent her high school years in Florence, Italy, where she drove a scooter, danced in fountains, and ate entirely too much gelato. She now lives in Salt Lake City, Utah, with her husband and young son.

Find Jenna:

WebsiteTwitter | Goodreads | Instagram | Facebook


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