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 while it’s big on 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 looming, Imogen and Anna devise a plan to return Vivien’s to its former glory. 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, her sister flies to Italy to attend a gourmet ice cream-making course. But as she works shoulder-to-shoulder with some of the best chefs in the industry, Anna finds that romance can bloom in the most unexpected of places…
Anna and Imogen might be sisters, but they couldn’t be more different. Anna is concentrating on her marketing job, in the process of moving into her own flat and ready to settle down with her ready-made family of boyfriend Jon and his son Alfie, whilst Imogen is living in a beach hut in Thailand, enjoying the freedom that comes with having no fixed address and working on making her photography dreams come true.
However, the sudden death of the girls beloved grandmother, Vivian, brings the sisters back together and when they discover they have inherited her Brighton sea-front ice cream shop, Sunset 99’s, their lives change in more ways than they could imagine. Can they go against all odds and make a success of the newly named Vivien’s Heavenly Ice Cream Shop on their own?
A book about ice cream is a guaranteed winner in my eyes. That’s all you need to know… Truthfully there was much more to this book than a 99 with strawberry sauce. It does seem to be a classic template for a chick-lit novel with two sisters inheriting a shop and then taking on the challenge of running it; but I didn’t find this novel a cliché at all. It was original, had some fantastic characters, lots of laughs and I challenge you to read this novel without craving an ice cream of some sort…
Anna and Imogen were both great characters and I really liked them both for different reasons. We get to find out about the girls lives away from the shop too, with Anna going on a ice-cream making course in Italy. I really enjoyed reading about the recipes she attempted and thought that Abby Clements described Italy so realistically. I could almost smell the pasta and pizzas… I loved learning more about Imogen too, she is a real free spirit and you can’t help but love her for trying, although not all of her ideas go to plan. The girls had a really strong relationship, and the importance of families is a huge theme running through this book, especially when you see how close everyone was to Vivien and how much of a legacy she has left.
I am now definitely an Abby Clements fan (and that’s not just down to her love of sausage dogs, although I must admit Hepburn is up there with my favourite characters in this book!) I’m now really looking forward to reading Meet me Under the Mistletoe and I can’t wait to get started on Amelia Grey’s Fireside Dream.
I found the story of the girls initially re-opening the ice cream shop and coming up against hurdle after hurdle a really good read. It was not at all predictable and at times it really did look doubtful as to whether Anna and Imogen would succeed. There’s plenty to keep you gripped, but it’s a pleasant, relaxing story too. This book was completely intended for a day at the beach, it’s perfect to lose yourself in, just make sure you there’s a Mr Whippy van in the vicinity…
She is the author of Meet Me Under the Mistletoe and Vivien’s Heavenly Ice Cream Shop (Quercus). Her favourite summertime treat is a waffle cone with a scoop of pistachio and chocolate, with hazelnut sprinkles.