on May 15 2019
Giovanna Tonioli is a successful stockbroker with a famous sports star boyfriend, but things aren't as sweet as they seem. When life in the city of Bath goes from Vanilla to Rocky Road, she takes herself off to Italy for an 'Eat Pray Love' style tour of all things gelateria. What she doesn't expect to find on her travels is one smooth, hot dollop of temptation that she just can't shake.
How will her spiteful twin sister react when Giovanna returns to open a rival ice cream parlour? Will Natalia get her just desserts? Or will things become even stickier? All's fair in love, war and ice cream. Isn't it?
*Marian Keyes meets Paulo Coelho meets Nigella*
The Ice Cream Parlour is a mouthwatering tale of fate, family, love and jealousy - with a delectable drizzle of alchemy besides.
I’ve been a fan of Isabella’s work for some time now and I was disappointed when I heard no one wanted to pick up book 4, the gelato one. A few weeks ago, Isabella announced that she would self publish it and I’m so glad she did. She offered to send me an ARC when I missed out on joining the blog tour which filled up in 24 hours. Of course I accepted, but I had no idea what I was getting into.
If you’ve ever eaten real Italian gelato, you probably know what I’m talking about. It’s May, but it feels like early March. Low temperatures and lots of rain. Not really the weather for eating ice cream. Especially in my case.
I’m a weird one (and proud to be). I don’t know if it’s really a thing or not, but I react strongly to the cold. It’s partially because of my illness (cold weather causes pains), it’s also something else. Whenever my husband opens the freezer and something scrapes the ice on the cooling elements, I get shivers all over my body. The same goes for people biting ice cream. When I see or hear that, I get cold. You can imagine I was cold often reading about the delicious gelato flavours Giovanna comes up with.
Isabella has a gift for writing food related stories. You only have to look at the titles to know how big the role is of those dishes. They’re a character themselves and the main characters, Giovanna in this case, have an intimate relationship with them.
Halfway through the book I was thinking, when is the movie coming out? Giovanna was traveling through Italy and she visited places I’ve been, and I instantly wanted to go back. I miss the food, and the weather. I don’t miss the men. People always look at me weird when I say I don’t like Italian men. Read this book and you’ll know why. While I hadn’t been conned, I felt that Italian men often crossed lines they weren’t supposed to, and thought it was completely acceptable. (Yes, I know that not all men are like that, but still. I’m cautious around Italian men.)
Giovanna’s journey is relatable on so many levels. Maybe not literally, but I’m sure everyone knows what it’s like when something you love is taken away by someone close to you. Or when you finally let go of other people’s expectations and do what you love. I did. That’s why the character of Giovanna will stay with me for a long time. Nellie’s advice on soulmates is another thing I can relate to. I won’t spoil it here, so just read it.
This isn’t your standard romantic novel. It’s about more than just love and relationships. When you think the story is over, you’re pulled into another layer, and another. The fast pace in the second half of the book and the interesting characters are sure to keep you reading.
The Ice Cream Parlour receives five stars. How could I not? There’s so much to love in there. An adventure that’ll keep you reading. Definitely my recommended read for your summer holiday. Buy ice cream and read it. It’ll increase the immersion tenfold. Don’t forget to read my interview with Isabella where she hints at her next book’s morsels.