The Ice Cream Queen of Orchard Street: A Novel [NOOK Book]

Overview

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, than Malka is crippled and abandoned in the street.

Taken in by a tough-loving Italian ices peddler, she manages to survive through cunning and inventiveness. As she learns the secrets of his trade, she begins to ...
See more details below
The Ice Cream Queen of Orchard Street: A Novel

Available on NOOK devices and apps  
  • NOOK Devices
  • Samsung Galaxy Tab 4 NOOK 7.0
  • Samsung Galaxy Tab 4 NOOK 10.1
  • NOOK HD Tablet
  • NOOK HD+ Tablet
  • NOOK eReaders
  • NOOK Color
  • NOOK Tablet
  • Tablet/Phone
  • NOOK for Windows 8 Tablet
  • NOOK for iOS
  • NOOK for Android
  • NOOK Kids for iPad
  • PC/Mac
  • NOOK for Windows 8
  • NOOK for PC
  • NOOK for Mac
  • NOOK for Web

Want a NOOK? Explore Now

NOOK Book (eBook)
$12.99
BN.com price

Overview

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, than Malka is crippled and abandoned in the street.

Taken in by a tough-loving 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.

Lillian's rise to fame and fortune spans seventy years and is inextricably linked to the course of American history itself, from Prohibition to the disco days of Studio 54. 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 is at stake.
Read More Show Less

Editorial Reviews

Library Journal
05/01/2014
At the heart of memoirist Gilman's (Hypocrite in a Pouffy White Dress; Kiss My Tiara) first novel is ice cream entrepreneur Lillian Dunkle, a fascinating character who, like American businesswoman Leona Helmsley, believes that "only the little people pay taxes." At 75, Lillian is bravely facing federal tax evasion charges. The press and the public perceive this as a case of Lillian getting her just desserts, but as the narrative backtracks to her early life, readers learn that Lillian has not always been so rich or felt so entitled. The youngest of four daughters in a poor Russian Jewish family, she is born Malka Treynovsky and touches down on New York City's Lower East Side as a child in the early 20th century. Run over by a horse cart and permanently crippled within three months of her arrival, she is quickly abandoned. When the kindly Italian ices peddler who ran her over takes her in, Malka learns self-reliance. Through grit, wits, and some luck, she builds a prosperous life for herself and her family. VERDICT With its vivid depictions of old New York City tenement life and its tale of the American ice cream business set against the backdrop of the major events of the 20th century, this rags-to-riches saga will appeal greatly to readers of American historical novels. [See Prepub Alert, 12/16/13.]—Sheila M. Riley, Smithsonian Inst. Libs., Washington, DC
Publishers Weekly
★ 03/31/2014
Nonfiction writer Gilman (Undress Me in the Temple of Heaven) parlays her craft into an outstanding fiction debut, which follows an abrasive, unscrupulous protagonist from the 1910s to the early 1980s. In 1913, within months of arriving in New York City from her native Russia, young Malka Bialystoker is injured by a horse belonging to street vendor Salvatore Dinello. Deserted by her unstable mother and shiftless father, Malka is taken in by the Dinello clan out of a sense of guilt. Coping with a now-deformed right leg, she sheds her Jewish heritage in favor of her adoptive family’s Italian ethnic identity, complete with a new name: Lillian Maria Dinello. The Dinellos never fully accept her, however, and after she has reached early adulthood, they pointedly exclude her from their fledgling ice cream business. In retaliation she, along with her new husband, Albert Dunkle, begins a rival company. Lillian, a ruthless, hard-drinking businesswoman behind closed doors, in public provides a friendly, wholesome face for the increasingly successful Dunkle’s Famous Ice Cream. Gilman’s numerous strengths are showcased, such as character-driven narrative, a ready sense of wit, and a rich historical canvas, in this case based on the unlikely subject of the 20th-century American ice cream industry. Agent: Irene Skolnick, Irene Skolnick Literary Agency. (June)
From the Publisher
"Big-hearted . . . . [A] smart, darkly comic story, which is perfect for a summer weekend read. . . .Gilman understands the great sweep of the 20th century, from life in a tenement on Orchard Street, to Italian Communists, Joe McCarthy, McDonald's franchises, suburbanization and, of course, the history of ice cream in America. She blends it in a delicious swirl, and adds a topical spin."—Chicago Tribune ("Editor's Choice")

"Entertaining . . . . A rich confection . . . . Although this is Gilman's fiction debut, she knows how to tell a sweeping story...Lillian Dunkle is sometimes sympathetic, sometimes reprehensible, but always fascinating. And that, darlings, is all that matters in telling a good story."—Dallas Morning News

"A tasty summertime treat. . . . 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.... Ice Cream Queen is polished yet pointed, deceptively cheery but shaded in the sinister - an upside-down, funhouse treat. In short, the kiddie-cup conclusion? You'll lick it up."—USA Today

"An epic novel about a tough, determined immigrant girl who suffers more than her fair share of licks-but who grows to become the greatest ice cream maker in America."—The Missourian

"Magnificent . . . Distinctive, delicious prose...[A] fascinating ride through history...Gilman is a marvel at researching, and The Ice Cream Queen of Orchard Street luxuriates in long chapters that gift its readers with pure delight. The fun of history, when writing about it in the context of fiction, is the creativity afforded the author and, clearly, Gilman has plenty of it. So don't wait! Dig in and ask for a big, heaping scoop of The Ice Cream Queen of Orchard Street. And make sure you have real ice cream handy. You're going to want it. Gilman makes sure of that."—Bookbrowse.com

"A compelling, haunting story of an immigrant. . . . So well written, so rich in detail and such an honest story. . . . Like an ice cream sundae in that it begs to be enjoyed slowly and appreciated for each new taste and texture."—Deseret News

"We all scream [for] Susan Jane Gilman's novel, The Ice Cream Queen of Orchard Street."—TIME

"Like a glittering mound of ice cream on a sizzling mid-June afternoon, Susan Jane Gilman's fiction debut will be a sweet delight to any summer reading list. In The Ice Cream Queen of Orchard Street, Gilman wields a playful pen to craft a charming American odyssey staring feisty, irreverent protagonist Malka Treynovsky....A lush cultural history."—Bustle (June 2014 Best Books list)

"Suspenseful and bittersweet. . . Gilman, who has a gift for realistic dialogue, has composed an incredibly engrossing read."—Real Simple

"An outstanding fiction debut. . . . Gilman's numerous strengths are showcased, such as character-driven narrative, a ready sense of wit, and a rich historical canvas."—Publishers Weekly (starred review)

"An ambitious and lavish immigrant rags-to-riches-to-rags first novel rife with humor and moxie."—Booklist

"With its vivid depictions of old New York City tenement life and its tale of the American ice cream business set against the backdrop of the major events of the 20th century, this rags-to-riches saga will appeal greatly to readers of American historical novels."—Library Journal

"THE ICE CREAM QUEEN OF ORCHARD STREET is a wonderful read, by turns poignant and wickedly funny. This is the immigrant story updated, with a brazenly re-imagined American anti-hero, and delicious all along the way."—Kevin Baker, author of The Big Crowd and Paradise Alley

"The daughter of Russian Jewish immigrants, raised by Italians on New York's Lower East Side, Lillian Dunkle is the archetypical American heroine, and THE ICE CREAM QUEEN OF ORCHARD STREET is the story of America itself. Brash, brassy, and larger than life, it is a scintillating romp of a book."—Joshua Henkin, author of The World Without You

"Gilman mixes two of the world's best creations, ice cream and New York City, with brains, irreverence, panoramic historical research, and a huge heart. Set aside a chunk of time when you scoop this wonderful novel up, because you won't be able to put it back down."—Anne Korkeakivi, author of An Unexpected Guest

Kevin Baker
"THE ICE CREAM QUEEN OF ORCHARD STREET is a wonderful read, by turns poignant and wickedly funny. This is the immigrant story updated, with a brazenly re-imagined American anti-hero, and delicious all along the way."
Ellis Avery
"Picture a scrappy young immigrant who amasses fame and fortune through bone-grinding labor, canny speculation, and the gift of gab, only to wind up a paranoid alcoholic mired in the trappings of luxury, in trouble with the Feds for tax fraud. You pictured a man, right? Gotcha! This is the genius of THE ICE CREAM QUEEN OF ORCHARD STREET: in a novel that condenses the innocence, the calculation, the hope, and the delusions of twentieth-century America into one figure, Susan Jane Gilman taps a heroine to do the heavy lifting. The scope is broad, the writing is sumptuous, and Lillian Dunkle née Malka Treynovsky leaves Kane and Gatsby in the dust: she's a full-steam-ahead geyser tapped into the American life force itself."
Charles Baxter
"This shrewd and lively novel tells us about those chasms between public success and private truths that make up so much of American life. The energetic narrator, the ice cream queen, is a confidence-woman, and her darkly comic story about life in the big city and in the media spotlight will give readers chills."
Library Journal
01/01/2014
After fleeing Russia in 1913 for Manhattan's dismal Lower East Side, 13-year-old Malka Treynovsky is abandoned by her family and eventually sets off across America in an ice cream truck. A debut novel from the author of Hypocrite in a Pouffy White Dress; with a 75,000-copy first printing.
Read More Show Less

Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781455555451
  • Publisher: Grand Central Publishing
  • Publication date: 6/10/2014
  • Sold by: Hachette Digital, Inc.
  • Format: eBook
  • Pages: 512
  • Sales rank: 16,528
  • File size: 810 KB

Meet the Author

Susan Jane Gilman
Susan Jane Gilman is the author of Hypocrite in a Pouffy White Dressand Kiss My Tiara. She has an MFA in Creative Writing from the University of Michigan, and has written commentary for The New York Times, The Los Angeles Times, and Ms. magazine, among others. Her fiction and essays have received several literary awards. Though she lives in Geneva, Switzerland, she remains, eternally, a child of New York.
Read More Show Less

Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 21 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(15)

4 Star

(2)

3 Star

(3)

2 Star

(0)

1 Star

(1)

Your Rating:

Your Name: Create a Pen Name or

Barnes & Noble.com Review Rules

Our reader reviews allow you to share your comments on titles you liked, or didn't, with others. By submitting an online review, you are representing to Barnes & Noble.com that all information contained in your review is original and accurate in all respects, and that the submission of such content by you and the posting of such content by Barnes & Noble.com does not and will not violate the rights of any third party. Please follow the rules below to help ensure that your review can be posted.

Reviews by Our Customers Under the Age of 13

We highly value and respect everyone's opinion concerning the titles we offer. However, we cannot allow persons under the age of 13 to have accounts at BN.com or to post customer reviews. Please see our Terms of Use for more details.

What to exclude from your review:

Please do not write about reviews, commentary, or information posted on the product page. If you see any errors in the information on the product page, please send us an email.

Reviews should not contain any of the following:

  • - HTML tags, profanity, obscenities, vulgarities, or comments that defame anyone
  • - Time-sensitive information such as tour dates, signings, lectures, etc.
  • - Single-word reviews. Other people will read your review to discover why you liked or didn't like the title. Be descriptive.
  • - Comments focusing on the author or that may ruin the ending for others
  • - Phone numbers, addresses, URLs
  • - Pricing and availability information or alternative ordering information
  • - Advertisements or commercial solicitation

Reminder:

  • - By submitting a review, you grant to Barnes & Noble.com and its sublicensees the royalty-free, perpetual, irrevocable right and license to use the review in accordance with the Barnes & Noble.com Terms of Use.
  • - Barnes & Noble.com reserves the right not to post any review -- particularly those that do not follow the terms and conditions of these Rules. Barnes & Noble.com also reserves the right to remove any review at any time without notice.
  • - See Terms of Use for other conditions and disclaimers.
Search for Products You'd Like to Recommend

Recommend other products that relate to your review. Just search for them below and share!

Create a Pen Name

Your Pen Name is your unique identity on BN.com. It will appear on the reviews you write and other website activities. Your Pen Name cannot be edited, changed or deleted once submitted.

 
Your Pen Name can be any combination of alphanumeric characters (plus - and _), and must be at least two characters long.

Continue Anonymously
See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 21 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted July 7, 2014

    I received this book from Netgalley in exchange for an honest re

    I received this book from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.  The book is an interesting tale of a woman's long life: the past and present woven together in ways that don't rely upon chronological order.  The woman's childhood and early adulthood are truly fascinating.  Those portions of the book are  wonderful. The author has created a character that is impossible to forget and one that the reader wants to succeed at all costs.  As the story moves forward in time, and the protagonist ages, however, she becomes far less likeable. There was a woman named Leona Helmsley, who was widely derided as the "Queen of Mean" back in the 1990s, and our protagonist really reminded me of her.  Leona Helmsley left the bulk of her vast estate to her pet, and she did jail time, as our protagonist fears (jail) and plans (leaving money for her pet.) The history and background info of immigration, New York, ice cream, food competition and women's roles were all impeccable and immersing, with a "you are there" feeling.  The author says she wanted to write a book with a difficult and unlikeable protagonist.  That's a difficult choice for the reader and ultimately that made the book harder to read.  It's like spending time at a party with a mean and angry elderly woman;  eventually you want to get up and leave no matter how enthralling her story is.

    2 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted June 13, 2014

    more from this reviewer

    What a Ride! An Historical Fiction--Entertaining, Full of Strong Women and Humor!

    A special thank you to Grand Central Publishing and NetGalley for an ARC in exchange for an honest review.

    THE ICE CREAM QUEEN OF ORCHARD STREET, a rags- to- riches historical fiction, of a Jewish immigrant, Malka Treynovsky, a determined six-year old girl from a poor childhood, set in 1913----flees Russia with her family, searching for the all American dream.

    What a ride! An exciting journey and fate of one driven, complicated, determined, yet colorful and troubled protagonist ----- encountering misfortune on her way to the dream she yearns for, and then some. . . A heartwarming novel full of crazy, yet engaging humorous characters with a mixture of romance, history, and suspense.

    Within three months of arriving in New York, her Papa abandons her, and her mother blames her for their misfortune-- Malka gets trampled by a horse, leaving her crippled. Abandoned by her parents, fate steps in---the man steering the horse takes pity on Malka, welcoming her into his home and world, where she becomes part of the family.

    This poor, unattractive, smart, yet sarcastic and crippling Malka soaks up everything from Catholicism, and embraces the family business, while at the same time excels at school, and her life begins to change drastically for the better. Fueled by her grief and abandonment, she begins to redefine herself as Lillian, The Ice Cream Queen of America. (Lillian Dunkle)

    Lillian, driven and savvy, creates quite an empire with determination and tenacity, taking Dunkle’s ice cream from a broken down truck to a household name, with her own TV show. But beneath the strong exterior, Lillian is still the crippled outcast of Malka-- abandoned, and bitter—can she believe in herself?

    She does whatever she needs to do to survive (seriously), and assure that her company remains on top. Playing the caring, motherly Ice Cream Queen in the public while scheming, lying and drinking too much in private can only last so long, as the two worlds collide, forcing Lillian to take a good hard look at her life or risk losing it all.

    A well-researched book, inspired by real life events—with a compelling protagonist, as Susan Jane Gilman, notes---the invention of soft-serve, credited to Tom Carvel (American-immigrant rags-to-riches saga), who began selling melted ice cream after a tire on his truck went flat.

    As the ice cream industry was directly affected by the greatest events of the twentieth century and American history, parallels as Lillian’s own life is shaped and her motivations for some of the things which led her down certain paths. (loved the ice cream flavors, interesting facts, and research about the entire industry).

    Susan Jane Gilman created Lillian, likable (not always), and one which readers will feel empathy—(I was totally rooting for her)! As the author referenced, THE ICE CREAM QUEEN OF ORCHARD is a love letter to New York City and to the American dream ,and for all those who have worked so hard to attain their place in society.

    A mixture of past and present, a realistic story of hard work, scheming, the good/bad, and determination of one girl/woman’s life spanning over seventy years----expanding upon the way women are often portrayed in our culture with disabilities—pushing the boundaries (reiterating, “well behaved women rarely make history)”. Highly Recommend!

    2 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted November 5, 2014

    Long...

    Liked reading about early NYC life but so much of it seemed long and too drawn out. Would have benefitted from better editing to move the story along.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted August 16, 2014

    Easy reading

    Really enjoyed the 1st half of the book but the 2nd half seems to be a variation of Leona Helmsley's life. Lost a lot of interest with that.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted July 10, 2014

    This book is magnificent. Susan Jane Gilman is a master story we

    This book is magnificent. Susan Jane Gilman is a master story weaver with perfect pitch—for dialogue, narrative, curlicued paradoxical human responses, and everything that contributes to a literary symphony. 
    The time structure of this book is inspired—weaving from both the past, forward and the future, back to finally sync up in a central present.
    The story of the evolution of Russian Jewish immigrant child Malka Treynovsky into a Jewish Italian American Marie Antoinette/Leona Helmsley/Martha Stewart/Joan Rivers ice cream diva named Lillian Dunkle is both an only-in-the-USA story and a transcendently human tour-de-force of hurt, humiliation, resentment, delicious revenge, regret, and resilience. The historical research alone deserves a standing ovation! Brava and thank you, Susan Jane Gilman.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted January 2, 2015

    Spanning 70 years of the life of Malka Treynovsky, aka Lillian D

    Spanning 70 years of the life of Malka Treynovsky, aka Lillian Dunkle, The Icecream Queen of Orchard Street is an interesting, often hilarious and sometimes touching read. Dreaming of stardom and riches, Malka travels to America in 1913. Little does she realize what obtaining her goals and emerging as The Ice Cream Queen, Lillian Dunkle, would cost her.

    An absolutely brilliant character study, this book, once started, can simply not be put down. The main character truly tested my feelings towards her. From feeling sorry for the poor, often misunderstood child, Malka, to honestly disliking the end product, Lillian, with her ruthless conniving, this story made an impression on me. Throughout Lillian's growth, transformation into a business woman and the ultimate disintegration of her moral standards; humor, fortunately, is always just below the surface. 

    Lillian Dunkle is such a well crafted character that I found myself rooting for her even while she was doing something devious, silly, or simply wrong. On a profound level I could understand the motivation rooted in her difficult childhood that drove Lillian to be a hard, tough business woman.

    Descriptions of early twentieth century life in New York City make the story come alive. The magic of this book, however, remains in the witty, sometimes poignant narration by the main character.

    Despite its length, The Icecream Queen of Orchard Street is a worthwhile, stimulating, often funny and deeply moving read. (Ellen Fritz)

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted November 1, 2014

     I am utterly enchanted by Susan Jane Gilman¿s novel. This is an

     I am utterly enchanted by Susan Jane Gilman’s novel. This is an immigrant story the likes of which I had never read before. Even the living conditions in Manhattan’s Lower East Side are described better than in many novels I’ve read, filled with the foul smells and ceaseless din of life, with despair and hopelessness. The events in little Malka’s life, the repeated losses and abandonment, the utter poverty and searing loneliness—topped by becoming crippled—would have broken any child. Instead, the story of her struggles, of her resourcefulness and wits is inspiring.




    Rich details fill every page, and the language is fluid. The pace of this novel that spans over a lifetime moves well. The character of her husband, Albert/ Bert, an Adonis-looking yet illiterate, is beautifully drawn and therefore the relationship between the homely, disabled Malka (renamed Lillian,) is believable. We cheer the young couple as they fight to survive in an inhospitable world.




    I do not believe that the author meant for us to love the old woman Lillian has become. She is irascible, demanding, impatient, insulting. Through betrayals, biased against her disability, her inferior status as a woman who built a business that is always viewed as her husband’s—we see her developing into a shrewd business person. But she becomes obsessed with success and with keeping her eye on the competition so she cannot even enjoy the company of her husband who still adores her. When we meet her as an old woman, she acts as if rules of society no longer apply to her. She is an unlikeable character, but again, the author made her authentic. And we never forget for a moment what she had to overcome to get to this place….




    I recommend this book to book groups as there is much to be discussed.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted August 3, 2014

    What a fun book. Enjoyed every bit of it. I found the main chara

    What a fun book. Enjoyed every bit of it. I found the main character to be a blast. I read this book quickly because I always wanted to know what was going to happen. It was well written and made me laugh a lot. This is the 2nd book by this Author that I read and I think this was better than Hypocrite in a Pouffy White Dress. It was a very enjoyable book.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted August 1, 2014

    NOOK CITY JUNIOR HIGH

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted July 26, 2014

    I wish I could have 1/2 my money back. Not sure why this book g

    I wish I could have 1/2 my money back. Not sure why this book got so many good reviews. I don't think it was worth more than 3 stars. The beginning of the book and he early years of the story were interesting and fun to read. The voice of the main character telling the story was annoying. If I read "darlings" one more time I may have thrown the book across the room. I did not find this novel "heartwarming" in any way shape or form. It was somewhat historical and full of misfortune.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted July 26, 2014

    Great read - will recommend to my book club!!

    The book is very well written - characters & settings come alive and the story itself is extremely well crafted and has many surprises throughout.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted July 22, 2014

    love this book

    Excellent read.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted July 15, 2014

    Ali

    My crush is a secret. Shhhhh

    0 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted June 28, 2014

    0 out of 8 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted June 29, 2014

    Jellal

    Hello

    0 out of 6 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted July 14, 2014

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted August 26, 2014

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted November 30, 2014

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted June 15, 2014

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted July 20, 2014

    No text was provided for this review.

See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 21 Customer Reviews

If you find inappropriate content, please report it to Barnes & Noble
Why is this product inappropriate?
Comments (optional)