Tuesday 4 June 2013


Book review: Vivien's Heavenly Ice Cream Shop by Abby Clements

My edition: Paperback, to be published on 6 June 2013 by Quercus, 348 pages.

Description: When Imogen and Anna unexpectedly inherit their grandmother Vivien's ice cream parlour, it turns both their lives upside down. The Brighton shop is a seafront institution, but though it's big on retro charm it's critically low on customers. If the sisters don't turn things around quickly, their grandmother's legacy will disappear forever.

With summer fast approaching, Imogen and Anna devise a plan. Rather than sell up, they will train up, and make the parlour the newest destination on the South Coast foodie map.

While Imogen watches the shop and conjures new marketing ideas, her sister flies to Italy to attend a gourmet ice cream-making course. But can their best-laid plans survive their warring family, tempestuous love lives - and the great British weather? One thing is for certain - this summer will be like no other . . .


Ever since I first heard about the delicious concept for this novel (a scoop from the author herself no less) I had been looking forward to the release, and after the stunning cover was revealed last month I could not wait to get my eager hands on a copy. When it fell through my mail box I finished the book I was reading at the time at rapid speed just so I could dig into Vivien's Heavenly Ice Cream Shop straight away - I wasn't disappointed.

Sisters Anna and Imogen McAvoy lead opposite lives; Imogen is a photographer and lives a bohemian lifestyle with her boyfriend in the tropical climates of Thailand, while Anna lives in Brighton and is wholly committed to her relationship with Jon, who has an adorable little son from a previous relationship, and her rising marketing career.

However, when the two young women unexpectedly inherit their grandmother Vivien's ice cream shop at the seafront in Brighton they have to decide whether they want to sell it on or if they are willing to turn their lives upside down by putting all their time and energy into returning the shop to its former glory. The title of the novel may give away which of the two options they pick!

Taking over the helm of the ice cream parlour turns out to be more difficult than Anna and Imogen initially imagined and as they encounter one disaster after another there are times they are close to giving up on their mission and selling the shop after all. Thankfully they have each other - as well as new friends in the form of fellow store-owners on the Brighton seafront - to get them through the toughest of times.

The two sisters each have their separate stories within the novel too. While Anna jets off to Florence to learn the art of making gelato (and encounters some Italian delights on her journey, including a possible new beau), Imogen stays behind and starts to device a plan to expand beyond the Brighton location – both in an attempt to evolve their brand and keep the store afloat.

Vivien's Heavenly Ice Cream Shop is a scrumptious read. You know how sometimes when you're excited for something you inevitably set yourself up for disappointment? That certainly wasn't the case this time around. The beautiful pastel-coloured cover perfectly illustrates the sweet and delectable story within its pages and unable to put the novel down I finished it in a single sitting.

I simply loved everything about the book: the wonderful descriptions of old-fashioned ice creams, the genuine and relatable characters, the inclusion of exotic locations to offset the typical horrendous summer weather in Brighton and last, but certainly not least, the ice cream recipes that author Abby Clements has included as a special treat at the end of the novel.

Delicious and delightful, the uplifting story and quintessentially British confections make Vivien's Heavenly Ice Cream Shop the perfect read for this summer.

Many thanks to Quercus for providing me with a copy of the novel in exchange for an honest review.

Would you like to know more about Abby Clements and/or let her know how much you enjoyed her book? You can find Abby online at the following places:

Website: www.abbyclements.co.uk

Twitter: @AbbyCBooks

Pinterest: pinterest.com/abbycbooks

Tumblr: abbyclements.tumblr.com

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