ARC Review: Love & Gelato by Jenna Evans Welch

Book Blurb

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 Lina 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 from Lina 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.

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Toot's Review by Stacy Sabala

Carolina, or Lina, loves to run cross country but decides to quit when her mother is diagnosed with cancer. While her mother is sick she starts telling Lina about her friend Howard and living in Italy. Lina is surprised as she has never heard about any of this before. Her mom makes her promise to go live in Italy after she is gone.

So Lina finds herself in Italy living with Howard, surprise, her father. He lives in a cemetery of WWII fallen soldiers. Lina doesn’t even unpack as she doesn’t plan on staying past the summer. Howard tries to give her space to adjust. Lina is in complete shock. Her mother never told her who Howard really was.

Lina comes across Lorenzo, or Ren, while running and they become fast friends. He introduces her to his group and Lina starts meeting new people. Ren takes her around Florence and helps her figure out her mother’s story from her journal. Lina is shocked at how her mother’s life was in Italy. She feels like she didn’t know her at all.

Shocking secrets are revealed in the journal that leave Lina reeling and confused. Her life is forever changed again.

I loved this book. You feel for Lina in the beginning because of losing her mom. Her sadness floats throughout the story. It hits at any moment like in life. This story also takes Lina on a road of discovery. She learns about who her mother really was through her journal. Lina also learns a lot about herself and what she wants.

The journal was a story within a story and was a great way to develop the plot. The reader feels as if they are reading the secret journal. I really liked this format.

When Ren and Lina’s relationship took a hit, you are sad for her. He had been there the whole way. There were several twists and turns to get to the end. It was a great read. I give it a 4 out of 5.

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