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The Ice Cream Queen of Orchard Street Free…
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The Ice Cream Queen of Orchard Street Free Preview (The First 3 Chapters):…

by Susan Jane Gilman

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194826,042 (4)None
"A rich literary feast of 31 flavors (and twice that many colors, scents and sounds), Ice Cream Queen is a familiar schmatta-to-silk brocade story of immigrant New York...an upside-down, funhouse treat. You'll lick it up." - USA Today In 1913, little Malka Treynovsky flees Russia with her family. Bedazzled by tales of gold and movie stardom, she tricks them into buying tickets for America. Yet no sooner do they land on the squalid Lower East Side of Manhattan when Malka is crippled and abandoned in the street. Taken in by an Italian ices peddler, she manages to survive through cunning and inventiveness. As she learns the secrets of his trade, she begins to shape her own destiny. She falls in love with a gorgeous, illiterate radical named Albert, and they set off across America in an ice cream truck. Slowly, she transforms herself into Lillian Dunkle, "The Ice Cream Queen" -- doyenne of an empire of ice cream franchises and a celebrated television personality. Yet Lillian Dunkle is nothing like the whimsical motherly persona she crafts for herself in the media. Conniving, profane, and irreverent, she is a supremely complex woman who prefers a good stiff drink to an ice cream cone. And when her past begins to catch up with her, everything she has spent her life building will be at stake.… (more)

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Just okay for me, the main character was so Leona Helmsley-ish that is took me right out of the story. Instead of admiring the story of her rise from nothing to running an empire, I was left rather ambivalent. ( )
  Rdra1962 | Aug 1, 2018 |
Do not let the jacket make you pass over this book. A rags to riches story of a Russian Jewish immigrant, raised by Italian Catholics after being abandoned by her family. The Lower East Side is rich with history. The rise of Malka from living in one room with all her family to becoming Lillian the ice cream queen is a journey that is heartbreaking and funny. Congratulations to the author, well done. ( )
  nanaval | Sep 28, 2014 |
A fantastic debut novel! I couldn’t have loved it more. I almost passed it over because while I actually like the cover art, it confused me as to what type of book it really was. But I am a sucker for a good immigrant story, and the whole ice cream twist seemed like an original idea – and it was. Though definitely very humorous in parts, it is a more serious work than the cover suggests; perfect for readers of literary and historical fiction alike.

Lillian Dunkle is a terrific antihero—and funny as heck. Because of her hard-working, self-made, persevering nature, you just can’t help but root for her no matter what dreadful situations she gets herself into. The setting was absolutely perfect and really captured the feel of an early twentieth century America, beginning with Lillian’s/Malka’s young life in the New York tenements, and up through the years, as both Lillian and the ice cream business must adapt to changing times. All of the supporting characters were well-crafted and fully imagined, really bringing the story to life. A lot of research went into the history of ice cream making—with parts loosely based on Tom Carver and his accidental invention of soft serve—and it shows in every detail.

Usually there is always something I feel could be better, but in this case it is perfect as is. It was the first book in forever I didn’t want to end, and it even made my “favorites” list. I’m not familiar with Susan Jane Gilman’s non-fiction, but I read in the Q&A that she has always wanted to write fiction. She truly has made her place here, and I hope she writes more like this.

Thanks to Grand Central Publishing and NetGalley for providing an ARC in exchange for my honest review. ( )
  conniemcmartin | Jun 21, 2014 |
Malka was super excited to immigrate to the United States. However, once they arrived things quickly turned sour. After being run over by a cart, Malka is abandoned by her family as she lingers in the hospital. Unable to walk, her leg crippled beneath her, she is taken in by the ices man, the one who ran her over. Through their quirky Italian family, she learns about ice cream, a profession that will serve her well in later life. After the family betrays her, she creates her own ice cream shop and quickly gains riches and notoriety.

I thought this was a fabulous book. Now I want to read a book about Malka/Lillian's sister. At times, Lillian's older character seemed a bit stereotypical, but I suppose that's inevitable. Overall, well paced and well written. Highly recommended. ( )
  JanaRose1 | Jun 12, 2014 |
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