08 Jun Summer at the Ice Cream Café by Jo Thomas
Romance, adventure and a taste of summer all wrapped up in a lovely story!
I can’t get enough of summer books! They’re the ideal read for warm days lazing in the garden, and even if the weather’s a bit colder – which it usually is in Scotland! – it means I can at least enjoy the sunshine vicariously, in some pretty seaside place.
As I’d expect from this author, Summer at the Ice Cream Café delivers all my wants from a summer book.
The story opens with 40-something Beca Valentino returning to Welsh seaside town of Swn Y Mor which she left in disgrace over 20 years ago. Having sold her cleaning business she has bought the local farmhouse manor and looks forward to fulfilling her dream of filling it with foster children and offering them her childhood experiences of sunshine, swimming and ice-cream from Valentinos, the ice-cream parlour her grandparents owned.
But though some things in the town are the same – especially the gossip – others have changed, particularly the ice-cream parlour, now owned by Ed Wilde – the man who once broke Beca’s heart, and now compounds his sins by selling inferior ice-cream.
With the help of her old friend Griff, and her first pair of foster children, Beca sets out to turn things around for herself and the town – not least by delivering them the home-made ice-cream they deserve – but there are a lot of challenges to overcome along the way.
Colour and Charm
This book has a gorgeous setting – you can feel the summer breeze on your face, taste the salt water and hear the gentle lowing of the small dairy herd that Beca now owns.
The town is peopled by interesting local characters who add colour and charm to the story, while the main characters are strong and sympathetic. Beca has a propensity to dissolve into tears which I found a bit irritating, but she always manages to pick herself up and sort out the things that need sorted, while fisherman/artist Griff is a good strong hero, always around when needed.
Those foster boys will win over your heart, especially Joe the younger one, whose capacity for happiness is only matched by his capacity for getting into scrapes.
A few twists along the way
The narrative flows beautifully, the romantic elements strengthened and underpinned by the fostering element of the story, which adds depth to the story, and there are a few twists along the way to keep you guessing the outcome. For Ed is not all bad, and Griff is not actually available …
And finally there’s the food – a hallmark of Jo Thomas’s stories. She knows how to tantalise the tastebuds, and this time she does it with ice-cream, home-made in so many flavours. I want to try them all!
I definitely recommend this read – it delivers all the flavours of summer!
Summer at the Ice Cream Café by Jo Thomas is published by Penguin, and out now in paperback and e-book
About the Author
Jo’s debut novel, The Oyster Catcher, was a runaway award-winning bestseller. In every one of her novels Jo loves to explore new countries and discover the food produced there, both of which she thoroughly enjoys researching. Jo lives in Pembrokeshire with her husband and three children, where cooking and gathering around the kitchen table are a hugely important and fun part of their family.