Love and Gelato by Jenna Evans Welch


Goodreads: Love and Gelato
Series:  None
Source: Library
Published: May 2016


Before Lina’s mother dies, she insists that Lina go to live with her old friend Howard in Italy.  Somehow she forgot to tell Lina what her grandmother does–that Howard is really her father.  Lina doesn’t want to live with a man she barely knows.  And she certainly doesn’t want to stay in Italy, even if it is beautiful.  But then she receives her mother’s old journal and she’s suddenly experiencing Florence for the first time along with her mom.  As Lina continues to read, however, things don’t seem to be adding up.  Why did her mom leave Italy?  And who is Howard, anyway?


Love and Gelato is one of those books where there would have been no book had the protagonist simply taken a sensible course of action at the start.  It creates a sense of “mystery” by refusing to have Lina ask Howard about his relationship with her mother.  Instead, Lina chooses to “hear it from her mom first” by reading her mother’s journal.  Conveniently very slowly so that she never has the information she needs in time. The funniest thing of all?  Lina’s not very astute when it comes to putting things together.  The journal tells her everything she needs to know–removing all mystery and suspense from the plot–but Lina conveniently misinterprets everything so the story can progress.

If you are willing to overlook the mediocre plotting, the book still has much to offer. The Italian setting, the sweet romance, and the father-daughter relationship between Howard and Lina will likely melt your heart.  It’s a treat to explore Florence together with Lina and her new friend Ren even if the history lessons are a bit heavy-handed.  Add the gelato and the promise of secret bakeries and  you have a recipe to appeal to the sweet tooth of many a reader!  (Spoiler alert: Unfortunately the secret bakeries are barely in the book, despite the book cover’s suggestion that they play a prominent role.)

The structure of the book ultimately disappoints.  I think the mark of an excellent writer is the ability to create a plot that does not rely on the stupidity of its characters to progress.  However, I’m sure many readers will not mind the plotting as long as they get to see Lina and Ren slowly fall in love.


6 thoughts on “Love and Gelato by Jenna Evans Welch

  1. karen blue says:

    Oh wow! You are really on to something here. How many books would not have been if only the hero or heroine were not stupid? I hate the frustration of a character not asking or not revealing something. It is just so overdone. Great review!


    • Krysta says:

      It does sometimes seem a little immature for a character not to simply ask a question to clarify things. If that’s part of their personality, then I can accept it. But if they are oddly not asking an obvious question simply so the author can create drama, it is harder for me to get into the story.


  2. ashley says:

    I’ve seen mixed things about this book. And, I would be so annoyed if the cover of the book suggested or implied something and that something wasn’t in the book.


    • Krysta says:

      My feelings were mixed but my love of gelato is also very strong…. I don’t think I’m allowed to not somewhat like a book with gelato in it?

      But, yes, covers that promise things that don’t happen! I have a copy of Rainbow Valley that promises the children have to save their pet chicken from the soup pot. There is no chicken rescue episode in that book! I am still confused. Who wrote that summary? Did they read the book? Did just think it sounded dramatic? So many questions.


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