Series: Baldwin Village, #2
Published by Jackie Lau Books on May 21, 2019
Genres: Contemporary, Romance
I hate ice cream. Ever since my fiancée left me at the altar and skewered me in her bestseller “Embrace Your Inner Ice Cream Sandwich: Finding the Positive You in a World of Negativity,” I haven’t been able to stomach the stuff.
Unfortunately, my five-year-old niece is a budding foodie and her favorite place in the world is Ginger Scoops, a cutesy Asian ice cream shop. Since I’ve been looking after my niece a lot lately, I’ve spent too much time there, sipping black coffee, refusing to eat ice cream, and trying not to look at the owner, Chloe Jenkins. Chloe is obnoxiously cheerful, and I can’t stand her.
Naturally, I end up kissing her.
But I’ve sworn off women after the fiasco with my ex-fiancée, and I’m convinced I’m no good at relationships. Still, with Chloe I’m tempted to do the impossible: give love and ice cream another chance…
I loved this book! I’m new to Jackie Lau, but so far I’ve loved all of them.
This is the second in the Baldwin Village series, coming after The Ultimate Pi Day Party. Here we get Chloe’s story. We met her in the first book. As that main character, Sarah, is opening her sweet and savory pie shop, Chloe is opening Ginger Scoops, an ice cream shop specializing in Asian-inspired flavors. The glimpses we got of the ice cream in Pi Day Party were intriguing, and here in Ice Cream Lover we get a deeper dive into them. Frankly, they sound amazing. Maybe not the durian-flavored ice cream, though the flavor is allegedly better than the aroma.
Drew Lum is in a bad place. His fiancée jumped out a window to get away from him on their wedding day, then went on to write a book about finding your inner ice cream sandwich, in which she stated that Drew, who she gave the pseudonym of Marvin Wong, had melted her ice cream. It’s rough. The book went on to gain Eat, Pray, Love levels of popularity and fame, so Drew can’t go anywhere without being assaulted by the sight. And though he hasn’t been outed as Marvin to the general public yet, everyone he knows is aware of the book and his role in it. So now Drew can’t eat ice cream.
Which means his relationship with Chloe is doomed from the start. His niece, however, has other ideas. Drew’s niece, Michelle, is a delight. I am not a fan of kids in books, romance specifically, but she was so fun. A 6-year-old bourgeoning foodie, Chloe’s gourmet Asian ice cream is the only ice cream she will accept. Which means Drew has to keep taking her to Ginger Scoops, and, of course, keep getting to know Chloe.
Their interactions were delightful. They’re definitely an opposites-attract romance, with Drew being a complete grump, and Chloe being all sunshine and rainbows. I will say, I got a little frustrated a few times with her constantly trying to make him eat ice cream. For crying out loud, Chloe, the man has said 40 times that he doesn’t like ice cream. Drop it. But beyond that, I loved everything about them.
Chloe, especially, was a delight. She’s biracial – Chinese and caucasian – and she spends a lot of this book dealing with her identity. She struggles with it, especially since her mother, who was her Chinese parent, dies not long before the book starts. The family she has in Canada is mostly her father’s white family, and they love her, but they don’t really understand the Chinese part of her. Even her father doesn’t get it, telling her confidently that he never saw her mother as Chinese, but just as the woman he loved, which is, of course, a slap in the face to Chloe. She craves knowing more about her Chinese side, but that side of the family is smaller, and not as close. so she feels on the outside with them as well. She feels like she doesn’t quite fit in with either side, and it’s something she deals with every day.
Drew and Chloe balance each other. They’re a great couple, though I think their very compatibility made it a little hard to understand their breakup. It seemed like it was put in because it needed to be put in, but I didn’t really believe it, which is why I rated this one higher. I would have loved to give it 5 stars, but this piece of it needed a little more for me.
However, that certainly will not stop me from recommending all of Jackie Lau’s books, and this series in particular. If you haven’t read anything from her yet, you need to do it immediately.