by Lucy Fitch Perkins
It is actually Monica's "fault" that I downloaded and read this free ebook from Amazon's kindle shop: She reviewed it on her blog here, and her review made me interested enough in looking for some of the series myself.
This childrens book is set in late 19th/early 20th century Scotland, somewhere in the highlands. There is a small house where a widowed shepherd and his twelve year old twins live, a village with church and school, and of course a "big house", the manor or castle where the lord resides who owns everything, including the shepherd's house.
The twins are of course the book's heroes. The girl does all the household work, with a little help from her brother every now and then. In their free time, they are pretty much free to roam the woodland around them, often with a friend or two.
Their life is perfect for them - but there is talk of the lord of the manor wanting to transform all his land into hunting grounds, not renewing the leases of his tenants, forcing them to find accomodation and make a living elsewhere. It worries the small family and their friends and neighbours, but they feel helpless about it.
One day, the children meet a stranger while they play near the river, a boy their age. They soon include him in their circle of friends, and have many adventures together, even winning an informal "war" against the game keeper with the help of the newcomer.
Then the old lord dies, and nobody knows what is going to happen next. Will the heir carry out the plans and force those who have been living here for generations to seek their fortune elsewhere?
Needless to say, all ends well. I enjoyed the book for its simple and clear message, and the old-fashioned language (it was published in 1919).
# 17: The Heavenly Italian Ice Cream Shop
by Abby Clements
My mother-in-law often sends or gives me books she has enjoyed particularly, and this one was accompanied by the words "You'll love it". And while it certainly was a very pleasant and undemanding read, to "love" it would say too much; I simply did not care enough for any of the characters, and I can not even tell you why.
The author has done nothing wrong - the people, places and situations are described well and most of their actions are credible. Many readers can probably relate to what it means to lose a beloved aunt, mother or grandmother; to start a new chapter in life, moving to a new place or even a new country; to be young parents or new shop owners; to deal with overbearing in-laws and suprise encounters with ex-boyfriends or -girlfriends.
All of this and more happens in the book, and all of it is of course solved to satisfaction, after some obstacles are overcome.
On the cover, it says "The perfect summer read - love, secrets and sorbets!" which pretty much sums it up.
I have only just discovered that this was not my first book by Abby Clements; I read a Christmas-themed one back in 2013. You can find the short review here.
Extra points for good editing - I don't think I noticed any typing or editing errors.
by John Andrews
Out of laziness, I am copying here the summary from Google Books: