Sunday, March 24, 2019

Book Review: "Love & Gelato" by Jenna Evans Welch

"You know, people come to Italy for all sorts of reasons, but when they stay, it's for the same two and gelato."

Lina is only in Italy because of a promise she made to her mother on her deathbed.

She isn't moved by the country's beauty—she's having too difficult a time dealing with the fact that she's going to be living WITH HER FATHER (about whom she never knew anything), much less living in a house in the midst of a famous cemetery, because he is the caretaker.

Why didn't her mother ever tell her anything about her father? What could have happened 16 years ago that would have been so bad that she not only fled Italy, but she never returned, and never made contact with the man again? All Lina wants is answers, and what she knows she doesn't want is to spend time getting to know Howard, umm, her father, or settle in—she's ready to head back to the U.S. and move back in with her best friend, Addie.

But little by little, Italy's charm starts to wear her down, and so does Ren, the handsome Italian-American boy who lives not too far away. And when Lina gets her hands on her mother's journal from the time she spent in Italy, she's determined to find everything she can about why her mother kept so much a secret from her, and why she left this magical place and a man she was supposedly in love with.

"Maybe that was just part of the Italian experience. Come to Italy. Fall in love. Watch everything blow up in your face. You could probably read about it on travel websites."

The deeper she gets into her mother's journal, the more confusing things become. It looks like her mother was an expert at keeping secrets, and if they're revealed, they could be painful for some. So with Ren as her sidekick, she embarks on a journey to trace her mother's steps and figure out the path her love story took—no matter what the consequences. And along the way she understands just how her mother fell in love with such a beautiful country, and how complicated the line between love and friendship can become.

Having just read a fairly emotional book, I was looking for something lighter and fun. Love & Gelato totally hit the spot—it was sweet, well-written, and I fell totally in love with it. It was a YA novel that certainly didn't feel like one, and yet the characters spoke like teenagers, not like sarcastic comedians.

Jenna Evans Welch's prose made this novel sparkle like the Italian countryside, and her imagery was tremendously evocative. There really isn't anything surprising in this novel—not even the "surprise" that Lina discovers—but that doesn't matter. Love & Gelato has so much charm, heart, and romance at its core that I flew through the book, and now I'm sad that it's all over.

If you're feeling like you need a change of pace from brooding thrillers or family dysfunction, Love & Gelato may be just what il medico ordered! I know I'll be reading Welch's new book when it's released in May.


  1. I adored both Welch's books. They were the perfect blend of fun and drama, which made me smile and warmed my heart.

    1. I'll have to read her newer one now, because I loved this one!!