I never used to be a seasonal reader, mostly because I found most holiday & Christmas themed books to be too Hallmark-y and cheesy. I never resonated with the stories and they just weren't the type of stories I enjoyed reading. 

That changed when I read 'In a Holidaze' by Christina Lauren; it was a fun, beautiful, heartwarming book that really altered the way I think about Christmas books...and I think it changed the way 'mainstream' writers wrote holiday books.

Now, I always feel like there more than enough fun, funny, non cheesy holiday books to read once the sun sets at 4 PM and the Christmas trees go on. 

This year, the first book I chose to crack open and put me in the Christmas spirit was Josie Silver's new book, "A Winter in New York". Josie is no stranger to Christmas/winter themed books, as she wrote One Day in December and I really do love everything she writes.

I received an ARC of A Winter in New York, and it was released on October 3rd, though I didn't finish it until a few weeks ago. 

Spoiler alert: I loved it and it made me cry!

Publisher's Summary

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 recovering from a stroke and can no longer remember it, 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 Thoughts

This was a beautiful book that represented Italian-American culture of New York so perfectly. It wasn't overly cheesy and over the top, but really stuck to the roots of an Italian family run restaurant, and the way our families think about the holidays, traditions, and loyalty. It added a level of interest to the plot.

Iris was so cool, and very strong. I loved being inside her head, though there were a few times that I was getting annoyed with her secret keeping. It was distracting to the plot, even though it was the entire plot.

I loved Gio and his family; they were so warm, kind, and truly deserved the world. They had good hearts and were good people; I think it added an extra layer to the story because at it's core were good people. 

The writing was beautiful, as always. Josie Silver has a way of making pain comforting. Both Iris and Gio were suffering so much but they made the best of it, they opened themselves up and kept on living. There was such a deep connection between them from the start, and even though there were a lot of secrets, their foundation was strong.

Silver makes the message of loss the center of all her stories, and it's always a punch to the gut but the way she wraps everything up in a neat bow warms my heart.

A Winter in New York was a really wonderful story with so many lovely messages, a strong plot, and a very unexpected ending. I was terrified of the way the story would end...or at least, how we would get there, and it was such a nice surprise. 

If you're looking for something heartfelt, thoughtful, and a little cheesy & cheeky, to read this holiday season, A Winter in New York will check those boxes. 


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