“The Ice Cream Queen of Orchard Street” by Susan Jane Gilman

And then it was August. What on earth? Don’t worry, Summer, I’m going to enjoy every last minute of you. Let’s get to our final summer read for 2022, which has been on my reading list for ages.

The Ice Cream Queen of Orchard Street by Susan Jane Gilman was quite a trip. It did not at all go the way I thought it would. Here I was looking for a straightforward story about a Jewish immigrant turned self-made ice cream queen, and while that was most of the story, there were quite the twists and turns. This novel was one wild ride!

Our journey begins with young Malka and her family as they escape the pogroms in Russia. Her mother wants to join her brother in South Africa, but her father swaps the tickets for America. Upon landing in New York, they find themselves utterly lost and without enough work or money to get by. Then, one day, Malka’s father disappears and she suffers an accident by an ice cream vendor. Wrought with guilt, the vendor takes her in and teaches her the family trade: Italian ices. And this begins her journey to reinventing herself as Lillian Dunkle, the ice cream queen of Orchard Street.

This storyline sounds all well and good, but wow, Lillian is not what I would call a role model. In fact, this is a great book for a business ethics class. This lady is seriously shady! But I still enjoyed it. As Lillian would say, “So sue me!”

Have you read this book yet? What did you think of it? Share your comments below or join the chat on Instagram (@rinoutloud)!

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