Book Review / Josie Silver

Josie Silver | A Winter In New York

The Book: 

A Winter in New York by Josie Silver
Published: October 3, 2023 by Delacorte Press
Date read: October 2, 2023

Rating: 2 out of 5.

The Characters: 

Iris and Gio

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The Plot (from Goodreads):

A young chef stumbles on a secret family recipe that might lead her to the love—and life—she’s been looking for in this stunning novel.

When Iris decides to move to New York to restart her life, she realizes she underestimated how big the Big Apple really is—all the nostalgic movies set in New York she’d watched with her mom while eating their special secret-recipe gelato didn’t quite do it justice. 

But Bobby, Iris’s best friend, isn’t about to let her hide away. He drags her to a famous autumn street fair in Little Italy, and as they walk through the food stalls, a little family-run gelateria catches her eye—could it be the same shop that’s in an old photo of her mother’s?

Curious, Iris returns the next day and meets the handsome Gio, who tells her that the shop is in danger of closing. His uncle, sole keeper of their family’s gelato recipe, is in a coma, so they can’t make more. When Iris samples the last remaining batch, she realizes that their gelato and her gelato are one and the same. But how can she tell them she knows their secret recipe when she’s not sure why Gio’s uncle gave it to her mother in the first place?

Iris offers her services as a chef to help them re-create the flavor and finds herself falling for Gio and his family. But when Gio’s uncle finally wakes up, all of the secrets Iris has been keeping threaten to ruin the new life—and new love—she’s been building all winter long.

My Review:

A Winter in New YorkA Winter in New York by Josie Silver
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

I loved so much about this book: the setting, the premise, the meet-cute, the gelato, and the family history, but the lying and miscommunication really didn’t do it for me. In the prologue, Iris and a stranger fight over the last book at a bookstore, and she angrily says her husband is dead. She doesn’t have a husband, although for some reason she wears her mom’s ring on her wedding finger. Later, of course, this stranger becomes the love interest. He’s also the nephew of her mother’s former lover, and Iris feels like she can’t tell him that she actually knows the secret recipe that will save his family’s gelato store.

Okay, I understand not telling Gio about her abusive ex. I guess I can understand hiding her mom’s connection to the store and not wanting to expose Santo’s secret. But to continue the lie about the dead husband to a widower? What the heck? Why didn’t she just say “I’m so sorry, I spoke in anger to what I thought was a stranger, I don’t actually have a husband.”???

And then the rest of the book constantly talks about how much Gio values honesty and hates lies. Her lies were all so unnecessary! Instead of being able to enjoy the romance, I spent the whole book wondering how in the world Iris was going to crawl out of the massive hole she dug for herself.

You know how she did?

View spoilers
Gio just magically forgave her because he loved her. They didn’t even TALK about her pathological need to lie, or the fact that they bonded over their dead spouses. Zero conflict resolution whatsoever.

There were other things that irked me too, like Santo being an ass to Iris when he finally came home from the hospital and deciding what Maria would want for her. Maria seemed like a lovely down-to-earth character and was happy to welcome Iris into their family. I don’t think she would have been too fussed about her husband’s former lover WHO HE ONLY KNEW FOR TWO DAYS. It’s not like Iris was his lovechild…

Don’t get me wrong, a lot about this book was lovely. If not for all of Iris’s lies, her and Gio’s love story could have been great. I loved Gio’s loud Italian family and Iris’s found family in her roommates. I loved the gelato shop setting (although seriously, how much gelato can these people eat??). I loved the movie references all over New York.

I just couldn’t get over the unnecessary lies.

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