Love At the Icicle Cafe by Denise Wheatley
Releases 29 December 2020
About: Mina Richards is a California lawyer who grew up loving to bake and helping her Mom out in the family co-owned cafe in small town Gosberg, Germany. Her parents let her know that they, along with the other couple they own the cafe (the Icicle Cafe) back in Germany with, want to sale it so they can fully enjoy their retirement. Mina’s Dad winds up having an accident and physically can’t fly to Germany so they ask Mina to do. Once back in Germany, she meets up with Scott, the co-owner’s son and the chef who has been holding down the cafe. Scott is unenthusiastic about selling. The more the two spend time together, romance ensues.
Love At the Icicle Cafe was my first Denise Wheatley but definitely won’t be my last! This book was an unexpected surprise. I went into it expecting a really sweet holiday read because the cover just screams cozy Christmas vibes; and while it was that, it was so much more. This book isn’t just atmospheric, dreamy winter descriptions and mouthwatering scenes of baking desserts; it’s also heavy and intense from beginning to end.
Mina is in the run for partner at her law firm. Obviously, traveling to Germany physically removes her from her day to day and allows the guy she’s up against to perform his snake in the grass tactics but sometimes I think we have to physically remove ourselves from our day to day to look at our situation and decide if it’s truly what we want. When reading from Mina’s perspective, you understand that she has worked very hard to get where she is but it’s also very obvious that she’s working in an environment that she may find herself continuously in this cycle of maybe next time. Though she is on an entirely different continent, for most of the book, Mina still prioritizes work until things happen and she doesn’t. What I like specifically with Mina’s character is that the author makes nothing easy on her. Even with her romance with Scott; we know it is going to come at a price. Mina finds herself teetering between two worlds; the one she worked very hard to build but wasn’t at her happiest and this new one full of possibilities but is very far away.
Scott and Mina dated briefly in high school so I loved the second chance/childhood sweet hearts aspect to their romance. I loved the close proximity with Mina stepping in for her parents and taking an active role in the cafe. I loved that the cafe symbolizes a place that has come to mean so much to the community and that small town determination to hold onto the small businesses rather than allow structures to be taken over by big corporations.
Overall, this is a quick, really well written holiday romance starring two people of color. I can’t recommend it enough!