book review

Ella’s Ice-Cream Summer (The Ice-Cream Café #1) by Sue Watson


Release Date: May 11, 2017

Ella’s life just hit rock-bottom, but can a summer by the sea mend her broken heart? When life gives you lemons… make ice-cream!

Life hasn’t always been easy for single mum Ella, but she has just hit an all-time low; she’s jobless, loveless, very nearly homeless and, to make matters worse, now the owner of a pocket-sized pooch with a better wardrobe than her.

Packing her bags (and a bigger one for the dog), Ella sets off for the seaside town of Appledore in Devon to re-live the magical summers of her youth and claim her portion of the family ice-cream business: a clapped-out ice-cream van and a complicated mess of secrets.

There she meets gorgeous and free-spirited solicitor, Ben, who sees things differently: with a little bit of TLC he has a plan to get the van – and Ella – back up and running in no time.


*I would like to thank Bookouture and NetGalley for the copy in exchange for an honest review. 

While reading this book, I can’t help missing the Philippines where we don’t need summer as an excuse to buy a cone of ice-cream. It is readily available anytime, anywhere! I kid you not, ice-cream vendors are everywhere, considering I’m living in the mountains! While I can go on and on about it, this is not a post about me. Let me just give a brief summary of Ella’s Ice-Cream Summer.

Ella is living an okay life with her two teenage kids, Lucie and Josh, and mother, Roberta. It isn’t perfect but they are getting by. But all that changed when she suddenly lost her job and her ex-husband is trying to kick them out of the house. Her Aunt Sophia just died and she was told by the solicitor that her aunt left her something. She’d always adore Sophia growing up. She used to spend summer with her family in Appledore and she’s also the one who taught her how to make ice-cream as she has an ice-cream café near the beach. Her daughter Gina has always been someone Ella looks up to. When she turned 12, her mom and Sophia had a falling out and since then she isn’t allowed to go to Appledore anymore much to her dismay. After that, she never set foot to Appledore again. But maybe, now is the right time for her to come back. Maybe Sophia left her half of the café. Her aunt knows how much she loves the café. Lucie is off to Thailand for her gap year and Josh to Nepal for a volunteering program. If anything, she got nothing else left to lose. She set off to Appledore even if her mom vehemently disagree and she doesn’t even want to tell her why. What’s evident is her mom’s dislike towards her cousin Gina. But still, she really thinks that she can make an ice-cream business works. At Appledore, she met Ben, the awkward and clumsy solicitor. Immediately, she developed a crush towards him. He loves to dive and to travel but he’s also the type of guy who seems to be not so fond of commitment. So much for a summer romance. Also, to her disappointment, not only that the café that she loved so much is so much different from what Ella remember. Gone were Sophia’s mouth watering homemade ice cream. The café now sells Magnum and Cornetto! What more, her aunt didn’t leave her the café, but the old rusty ice-cream van that she’s not even sure is still working. With Ben’s advice and support though, Ella give the ice-cream van a makeover and started excitedly her business. Maybe, Appledore can be their new home.

I love everything there is about this book. The plot, the characters, the setting. From start to finish, I am hooked. The story is very predictable. Like, when everything was revealed, it didn’t come out as a surprise anymore because I pretty much guess about it early on. It is just a matter of when the secrets will be revealed to Ella and how will she react to it. But even so, it didn’t take away the fondness I feel towards this book.

I love all the characters in this story, they are all so fun to read and relatable. Ella is a 44-year old single mom and is a really likeable main character. She fusses about her kids everytime but she also let them go and have fun. And though she has some issues with her overprotective and hard to please mom, she is also a wonderful daughter who cares for her mother even if said mother can get crazy at times. Ella loves her family and she will do everything for them. Her perseverance and determination in making her ice-cream business work are quite inspiring. I thoroughly enjoyed reading about her making those drool-worthy ice-cream flavors.

Another fun character is Roberta, Ella’s 78-year old, techie mother. She is hilarious. Her social media skill is so good, she is much better at it than me. She’s on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat and even online dating websites. Her antics are hysterical and left me giggling a lot of times. Even Ben, Ella’s love interest is a joy with his clumsiness. But the real star is Delilah, the Pomeranian in Ella’s care. With her cute little outfits, she stole the heart of everyone and became the face of the business.

I adore the setting, too. Appledore seems like a perfect summer getaway destination and it made me long for the beach. Since it’s all about ice-cream, it is just fitting for everything to take place at the beach and making this a perfect read for the summer. Another thing, I so love the eye-catching cover it actually matches the story pretty good. It’s my first Sue Watson book and I’ll definitely check out her other books. Thank goodness there’s a second book coming out real soon.

Ella’s Ice-Cream Summer is a delicious, well-written story of a middle age woman whose life is starting to fall apart but managed to live her dreams with her positive attitude and sheer determination. A simple yet charming story about family secrets with crazy fun members, mixed in with a bit of romance and a hint of mystery. It’s a tale about how it is never too late to follow one’s dream. A feel-good read and a laugh out loud book that will surely make you crave for ice-cream and will leave a smile on your face after. Obviously, I love this book and I can’t recommend it highly enough.  




(*Photos and synopsis courtesy of Goodreads)

Purchase it on Ella’s Ice-Cream Summer (Kindle)

Purchase it on Ella’s Ice-Cream Summer (Kindle)

Purchase it on Ella’s Ice-Cream Summer (Kindle)

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