Review: The Heavenly Italian Ice Cream Shop by Abby Clements

Tuesday 30 June 2015
Title: The Heavenly Italian Ice Cream Shop
Author: Abby Clements
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Publication Date: 2nd July 2015
Pages: 400
ISBN: 9781471137037
Source: Review Copy
Rating: 5/5
Purchase: Amazon
Full of mouth-watering flavours, sunshine and escapist adventure, The Heavenly Italian Ice Cream Shop will delight readers with a taste for sweet treats and romance. 

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 the town'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.

Some books and characters need a sequel so I was ecstatic when I first read about The Heavenly Italian Ice Cream Shop which is a sequel to Abby Clement's wonderful Vivien's Heavenly Ice Cream Shop. I was even more excited when I received a beautiful review copy. I can't believe it's been two years since Vivien's but I couldn't want to get reacquainted with Anna and Imogen.

Anna and Matteo met and fell in love in Vivien's and after a year and a half running Vivien's ice cream shop together on Brighton beach and raising their daughter Bella, Matteo is starting to miss home. Anna is scared and reluctant to leave behind her family and friends, her life, but she makes the sacrifice for Matteo and together they travel to Sorrento - a place that meant so much to Anna's grandmother Vivien - and open an ice cream shop in the town's cobbled square. Soon everything is going well, until Matteo's overbearing family (namely his mother) arrive... Matteo's mother is somewhat annoying and overprotective but at the same time you know she's probably one of those characters that will change as the story progresses.

Anna's sister Imogen meanwhile is facing a couple of troubles of her own, doubting which direction her future should be going in, and who she will be spending it with. Imogen travels to Italy to visit Anna, and to hopefully reach a decision about her future. I love the relationship Anna and Imogen have as sisters, and also how different they are. Imogen being the more carefree, laid back sister whilst Anna can at times be the more serious, grownup one of the two. Despite having never met Vivien she's a character that lives on through Anna and Imogen and I love how Anna and Matteo move to Sorrento, a place that was so special to Vivien.

Abby Clements captures her settings beautifully and effortlessly, and it's clear to see why Matteo misses his home country so much. I wanted nothing more than to sample some of the delicious ice creams described in the story and devour it walking along the Italian streets. I'm usually quite boring in my choices of ice cream (good old vanilla) but this book - and Vivien's before it - left me wanting to broaden my ice cream horizons!

I took a lot from The Heavenly Ice Cream Shop but the most overriding thing was the message of family and love, and how if you are in love, and have that one person you can spend your life with then you can overcome anything. As Anna and Imogen are about to discover. As the book nears its conclusion it really is the most wonderful ending, a story that leaves you with that warm glow you get from finishing such an enjoyable story. I have no trouble recommending this book, it really is one of this summer's must reads.


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