"You know, people come to Italy for all sorts of reasons, but when they stay, it's for the same two things."
"Love and gelato."
The story narrated in this book is one of friendship, family, and first love. The characters enhanced the concept at the core of this book and the dynamic between each of them was written very well.
Lina, after facing the trauma of losing her mother, flies to Italy for the summer in order to fulfill her mother's last wish. Her mother also seemed to arrange for her to live with Howard, her mother's friend from her days in college. After her mother passes, her grandmother informs her that her mother left out the minute detail that Howard also happens to be her father.
Now in Italy, she finds out that Howard, who refuses to refer to as her dad, lives in a graveyard. Not the ideal place for a girl who just lost her mother. Struggling with her mother's death and trying to accept that Howard is her father, she tries to cope with her situation for the summer.
As the story progresses, the author takes us through Italy in the protagonist's attempt to understand her mother's year in college. After Lina's arrival in Florence, she is handed her mother's old journal, one she has never seen before, which she has never seen before, which is weird because her mother is extremely open about her journals and is well known for her entertaining writing. In an attempt to see Florence through her mother's eyes, she makes her way through the town with the guidance of the journal. And she has come to realise that her mother's college years were unlike anything she imagined.
A romance the seemed to have ended badly, a proclamation that could change everything, and the story of a vibrant woman making her way through life, her mother may have secrets of her own. The journal allows her to finally understand the piece of her mother's life she has never known about, and maybe even why she never knew her father.
Maybe that was just part of the Italian experience. Come to Italy. Fall in love. Watch everything blow up in your face.
Since her mother's journal is inserted into the book, we follow not one but to women making their way through Florence and finding love. Watching her cope with her mother's death and come to peace with her life as it is now is amazing. We watch her open herself to the possibility of a life in Florence and makes a friend through a very unusual set of circumstances.
Now that I have finished reading this book, the title seems to the most endearing thing about it because a story with such depth can only be described by Love and Gelato, and anything else wouldn't seem right. The characters were amazing, the description of the city was perfect, the relationship between the characters and the city was written lovingly and overall there is nothing I would change about this book.
I'm undeniably, inexplicably, explicitly in love with this book and I wish everyone who likes contemporary books would read this precious gem of a story because reading this book is, right now, one of the best experiences of my life.