Tempted by Trouble
The surprise gift of a vintage ice cream van complete with health certificate and upcoming bookings is the impetus for this remarkably enjoyable novel set in England. I say remarkable because during the first chapter when I realized the truck was probably going to become a character, I had misgivings. Only the fact that Fielding, whose writing I usually enjoy, was the author kept me going.
Lovage Amery, nicknamed Elle, is the quintessential good daughter. She has single handedly kept her family together after her mother’s death. And her family is no small undertaking. She has a grandmother who is helpless and two younger sisters, one who has turned Goth, works at an animal shelter and thinks strays should be brought home, and one who reluctantly is pursuing a college degree. Family is Elle’s life.
Sean McElroy, on the other hand, the bastard son of a baronet who was the opposite of warm and fuzzy, is not keen on family, although he does share Elle’s sense of responsibility. Elle’s black sheep Uncle Basil, whom she’s never met, is a tenant of Sean’s and leaves him the responsibility of getting the ice cream van and its accoutrements to Elle, as well as prepping her on how it all works.
This gentle story explores how Elle changes Sean’s mind about family as she makes his world brighter and larger. Sean, in his turn, shows Elle how to let family go and give herself a chance to have her own life. And the ice cream truck is a catalyst for happiness and joy to everyone who interacts with it. Finding out their families’ past histories also lends a hand in freeing up Elle and Sean to come together.
While many of the elements are standard fare in romance, Fielding gives them her particular spin, making them sparkle and making the story feel fresh.