This post may contain affiliate links, which means I’ll receive a commission if you purchase through my links—at no extra cost to you. Please read full disclosure for more information.
This spoiler-free book review of A Winter in New York explores the Holiday rom-com magic behind this sweet, swoon-worthy Christmas book. I share my favorite book quotes from A Winter in New York, frequently asked questions, a brief synopsis, book club discussion questions, similar books, other books by Josie Silver, and more!
Content warnings: Emotional and domestic abuse; grief; cancer mentioned; death of a parent mentioned; stalking
Thank you to NetGalley and Random House Publishing Group, Delacorte Press for gifting me this complimentary book. My review reflects my honest thoughts.
A Winter in New York Book Review / Summary
- #1 New York Times bestselling author Josie Silver
This swoon-worthy holiday romance book follows Iris, a young chef who makes her way to New York City to begin again in her late mother’s footsteps.
Since escaping an emotionally abusive relationship and navigating the loss of her mother, Iris is desperate to make a new home for herself in New York with her own memories. But first, she explores her mother’s—visiting all the beloved places Iris heard about growing up as a child.
One gelateria, in particular, stands out. Iris is sure it’s the same place her mother talked about her whole life: the same shop found in an old photo of her mother’s.
What was so special about this place, and why did Iris’s mother have the special secret-recipe gelato written on a napkin that she kept for all those years?
Eager to find out more, Iris steps into the family-run gelateria and meet Gio, a handsome and quiet man who’s been working in his uncle’s shop since he was young.
Iris soon discovers that Gio’s uncle, the sole keeper of their family’s gelato recipe, is in a coma, and Gio is desperate to figure out the recipe.
Reader, you may think the answer is simple, but Iris’s mother’s secrets complicate everything. Iris can’t be as honest as she’d like, which unravels into quite a pickle. She offers her services as a chef to help Gio recreate a flavor, hoping to discreetly share the recipe without exposing her mother’s secrets.
But secrets, like her feelings for Gio, can’t stay hidden for long. The more she tries to keep her beautiful life in NYC together, the more the lies catch up to her.
It’s also about the discernment of preserving someone else’s story and telling it the way it’s meant to be told—with precision, dignity, and tenderness.
My Thoughts on A Winter in New York
This holiday romance book has everything you could ever want in a rom-com; although, admittedly, it’s less com and more rom. There are heavier themes in this book than your average wholesome, cheesy Hallmark story.
In fact, Josie Silver plays off this at one point: “Fresh starts are for Hallmark movies, not real life.”
If you’re a sensitive reader, definitely consider the content warnings. The emotional abuse toxicity storyline felt incredibly palpable.
It was an intense part of Iris’s past, and her interior thoughts really brought that part of the story to life and added a looming quality and tension.
The romance was perfection. A slow-burn, well-executed, makes-your-knees-turn-to-Jello kind of romance. I adored Gio.
I would have loved to see a little more depth to him, but the romance in general? Their banter, tension, and overall connection? Definitely a 10/10.
I mean, the fact that he affectionally calls her “little spoon” in Italian? Are you kidding? Too cute for words.
Bobby, Iris’s best friend in the city, makes the found-family element of this story so incredibly sweet. I loved how protective he was of her, and Iris’s love for him was too pure.
Also, I loved the whole Belotti family. I did think it was a little fast how everyone accepted Iris into the day-to-day operations—no questions asked? Really?
But in general, I loved the characters, and Iris was a very likable main character, in my opinion. The nostalgia with music and food . . . it was just so good.
I loved the flashback chapters with Iris’s mother, Vivien, from the eighties. I just really wish we’d had more of them! If there were dual timelines the whole way through it would have made everything more interesting.
The Setting and Premise
Does it get any better than winter and Christmastime in NYC? I loved everything about the setting . . . ice skating in Rockefeller Center, a barren Coney Island, Joni Mitchell in the park, the Radio City Music Hall Christmas Spectacular, the window displays at Macy’s . . . everything was just quintessential holiday magic.
And, did I crave vanilla gelato the whole time? Yes, yes I did. The gelateria added so much to the cozy winter vibes.
But, listen: the premise was a little lackluster for me. I loved how it started, and I loved how Iris was connected to Vivien the whole time, but it also felt a little contrived.
Iris’s “in” with the Belotti family was a little rushed. Her secrets, at times, felt like they could have just been explained in a simple way.
If you find that you get frustrated when miscommunications can be easily explained or you just can’t stand knowing the other shoe is about to drop, you may want to skip over this one.
But when I read a holiday romance, do you know what I do? I suspend belief. I do. I have much more grace for how a story develops, and maybe that’s on me.
But if you want this to be the heartwarming, cozy, swoon-worthy, hard-hitting Christmas book of your dreams, it can be, if you let yourself fall 😂 .
Favorite Quotes from A Winter in New York by Josie Silver
Life is just so damn complicated, isn’t it, a series of random coincidences and chance meetings that add up to a lifetime. Perhaps in coming here the symmetry between my mother’s life and my own has become too linear. There’s probably a cosmic scraping sound every time our tracks unexpectedly overlap, a shower of dangerous iron filaments sparking through the ether.—Josie Silver, A Winter in New York
The road ahead is a blaze of color, every house almost obscured by Christmas lights and ornaments. Huge golden snowflakes, life-size snowmen, illuminated Santas climbing down chimneys. This is the America of my childhood movie-spun fantasies, Disney-bold and brashly beautiful.—Josie Silver, A Winter in New York
I yearn to understand how the pieces of her life then intersect with my life now, to press a conch shell to my ear and catch the echo of her across time.—Josie Silver, A Winter in New York
He was smarter than to think he could hold on to a lightning bolt without getting burned but, man, did he want to give it a try.—Josie Silver, A Winter in New York
To me she was a pioneer, brave enough to let ambition take the driving seat, strong enough to follow her dreams rather than her heart.—Josie Silver, A Winter in New York
Making music is like watering my soul.—Josie Silver, A Winter in New York
It’s the strength of character and grit that runs through him like a river, a seam of solid gold alongside the steel. There’s vulnerability when he speaks of the people he loves.—Josie Silver, A Winter in New York
Frequently Asked Questions about A Winter in New York
What is the synopsis of A Winter in New York?
Here’s the A Winter in New York summary: A young chef named Iris moves to New York to start over and retrace her late mother’s steps, including a gelateria she loved.
Intrigued that her mother had the secret family recipe for the vanilla gelato from years ago, Iris walks into the gelato shop to learn more.
When she meet handsome Gio, she’s surprised to learn that his uncle, the sole keeper of the gelato recipe, is in a coma, and Gio is trying desperately to recreate the recipe.
For reasons she can’t easily explain, Iris can’t give away her mother’s secret: that she’s had the family recipe for many years. Iris grows fond of Gio and tries to help him subtly recreate the gelato, but her secrets become too much.
Favorite A Winter in New York characters?
I thought Iris and Gio were excellent characters, but the side characters made it for me. I loved Bobby (Iris’s best friend) and Sophia (Gio’s sister) so much.
Is A Winter in New York a Christmas book?
I would call it a holiday romance, for sure. Much of the book takes place in winter, in general, but it covers Christmas and the New Year.
What are the best Josie Silver books?
Book Club Discussion Questions for A Winter in New York
- Ice breaker question: What’s your favorite gelato or ice cream flavor?
- It’s clear from the beginning of the novel that Iris is rebuilding her life. Did anything surprise you about Iris? If so, what?
- How is Iris different from her mother? How is she similar?
- Who was your favorite character? Why?
- What did you think about Iris keeping all her secrets from Gio?
- For much of the novel, Iris is healing from the emotional abuse of her ex, Adam. How does her past influence her present decisions?
- What did you think of Vivien’s POV from the 1980s? What are your thoughts on Vivien and Santos?
Other Books by Josie Silver
Here are Josie Silver books in order:
Similar Books to A Winter in New York
These books explore similar themes or are reminiscent of A Winter in New York in some way:
Buy the Book
If you love a slow-burn and swoon-worthy romance with complicated family history and heavier themes, secrets, tension—and all on the backdrop of a NYC Christmas—you will love this book.
In my opinion, A Winter in New York is the perfect holiday romance. It was so heartfelt and cozy. If you loved it, too, let me know!