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Review: The Ice Cream Queen of Orchard Street

March 3, 2015

The Ice Cream Queen of Orchard Street

Lillian Dunkle (née Malka Treynovsky) immigrated to the U. S. with her family when she was very young.  Shortly after their arrival she was crippled in an accident and abandoned by her family.  She was taken in by an Italian ice cream maker and his family and quickly learns the business.  When she marries, she helps her husband, Albert, build an ice cream empire.  There’s a problem, though – she presents herself as someone she’s not – and her past finally catches up with her.

I had high hopes for The Ice Cream Queen of Orchard Street by Susan Jane Gilman – I’ve enjoyed her memoirs in the past and know she can write.  For the most part, I did enjoy her first novel, but I did have a few issues with it.

I liked Lillian even though she was somewhat annoying.  She gave me a feel of what it was like to be an immigrant in the early part of the 20th century and shows just how tough it was for a woman to be successful in business at that time.  For me, though, her story was too long, and some of the details felt pointless so, after a while, I found my mind wandering.

I listened to the audio version of the book which is narrated by the author.  She has a pleasant voice but I didn’t feel she was a good choice – there wasn’t a lot of expression in her voice and I found myself zoning out from time to time.

Review copy provided by Hachette Books. I am an Indiebound Affiliate.
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15 Comments leave one →
  1. March 3, 2015 5:48 am

    I started this but abandoned it early after I too found the main character annoying.

  2. March 3, 2015 7:29 am

    Too bad. I’ll skip this one…

  3. March 3, 2015 7:45 am

    I guess I’ll skip this one too. It sounds like it is a nice story but somehow it isn’t calling to me.

  4. March 3, 2015 8:06 am

    Thanks for your candid review. I’m sorry you didn’t enjoy this more.

  5. Diane (@bookchickdi) permalink
    March 3, 2015 8:55 am

    I haven’t read this one, but my friend said the same things about it that you did.

  6. March 3, 2015 12:17 pm

    Kathy, thanks for your honest review of this audio memoir.

  7. March 3, 2015 2:19 pm

    I haven’t read this author before. Sorry this one didn’t work for you.

  8. March 3, 2015 2:42 pm

    Too bad, I am drawn to this one by the cover.

  9. March 3, 2015 4:50 pm

    I listened to her book Undress Me in the Temple of Heaven but not sure if you narrated AND when I found out I had listened to an abridged version I was a bit mad. WHY do that do that?! oh well. I still want to read her nonfiction.

  10. Patty permalink
    March 3, 2015 5:37 pm

    Hmmm…not a good thought about this one!

  11. bookingmama permalink
    March 3, 2015 6:56 pm

    Maybe this one would have worked better in print???

  12. Literary Feline permalink
    March 4, 2015 12:04 am

    The premise sounded good. I am sorry it wasn’t better.

  13. Beth F permalink
    March 4, 2015 7:32 am

    I don’t know why they let authors read their own work; it is rarely a good idea. I have this on my list–I’ll keep my expectations low

  14. March 5, 2015 11:28 am

    I was drawn to this one by the title and the cover but hadn’t heard much about it. Thanks for the tip on the audio- I’d probably give it a try in print.

  15. March 6, 2015 11:48 pm

    Cute cover – too bad it wasn’t successful.

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