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The Olive Farm Paperback – June 7, 2001

ISBN-13: 978-0349114743 ISBN-10: 0349114749

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 352 pages
  • Publisher: Abacus (June 7, 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0349114749
  • ISBN-13: 978-0349114743
  • Product Dimensions: 5 x 7.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 9.1 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (64 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,152,464 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Following in the footsteps of bestselling authors Peter Mayle (A Year in Provence) and Frances Mayes (Under the Tuscan Sun), Drinkwater has written a memoir of her flight to the good life in southern France. "All my life-long, I dreamed of acquiring a shabby-chic house and renovating it," writes the author, a British actress who starred in the BBC adaptation of James Herriot's All Creatures Great and Small. When she and her husband, Michel, spot a hillside villa with an olive vineyard in a village near Cannes, they defy common sense and become landowners. Never mind that it is moldering and insect-infested, the roof leaks and there doesn't seem to be any running water. Drinkwater's account of paradise regained involves bushwhacking through the intricacies of French property law and battling the elements of nature (wind, rain and fire), to say nothing of the eccentric local population. Alas, the book reads, by turns, like a catalogue of the author's real-estate woes ("We have a leaking roof!") and a ponderous love poem ("We are two embarking on this path together. Newly in love. Thrilled by one another... Investing in love, in one another."). Still, for all its false notes, the book describes life in the South of France with lush, voluptuous appreciation and successfully plays into our fantasies of the Mediterranean "land of liquor and honey." Agent, Ed Victor Ltd. (June 15)Forecast: Many readers will find this idealized portrait of a culture and a way of life most appealing. Drinkwater's book seems poised to attract fans of Mayle, Mayes and others of the expatriates-in-paradise genre.

Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information, Inc.

--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Library Journal

Despite the inevitable comparisons to Peter Mayle's A Year in Provence and Frances Mayes's Under the Tuscan Sun, this is a unique travel memoir of the author's years in the south of France. English screenwriter and actress Drinkwater, best known for her role in the BBC adaptation of James Herriot's All Creatures Great and Small, visited Cannes to attend a television festival several years ago (the exact date is not revealed). It was then that she and her new husband instantly fell in love with an abandoned olive farm in the hills above Nice. Their adventure begins with a deposit of their life savings to secure the ten-acre property. Despite the many obstacles and her eventual realization that this may be her life's supreme folly, Drinkwater remains determined to make her dream a reality. Following her engaging story is like driving the hairpin turns that climb the hills above the French Riviera: the views are breathtaking, the blind corners frightening, and the safe arrival to the top a joyous relief. And the olives? After much work, an astonishing success. Highly recommended. Janet Ross, formerly with Sparks Branch Lib., NV
Copyright 2001 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

More About the Author

Anglo-Irish actress Carol Drinkwater is perhaps still most familiar to audiences for her award-winning portrayal of Helen Herriot in the BBC series All Creatures Great and Small. A popular and acclaimed author and film-maker as well, Carol has published nineteen books, and one Kindle Single, for both the adult and young adult markets. She is currently at work on her twenty-first title.
When she purchased a rundown property overlooking the Bay of Cannes in France, she discovered on the grounds sixty-eight, 400-year-old olive trees. Once the land was reclaimed and the olives pressed, Carol along with her French husband, Michel, became the producers of top-quality olive oil. Her series of memoirs, love stories, recounting her experiences on her farm (The Olive Farm, The Olive Season, The Olive Harvest and Return to the Olive Farm) have become international bestsellers. Carol's fascination with the olive tree extended to a seventeenth-month, solo Mediterranean journey in search of the tree's mythical secrets. The resulting travel books, The Olive Route and The Olive Tree, have inspired a five-part documentary films series entitled The Olive Route.

Carol has also been invited to work with UNESCO to help fund an Olive Heritage Trail around the Mediterranean with the dual goals of creating peace in the region and honouring the ancient heritage of the olive tree.

Customer Reviews

4.4 out of 5 stars
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I was entertained by the local characters and educated as well.
Marie Mccullough
Nonetheless, for Ms. Drinkwater all is a fantasy come true, as it will be for many readers who yearn to experience the magic of southern France.
Gail Cooke
This book was a gift to me from a friend who knows that my dream is to have an olive farm and vineyard in the south of france.
"meezies"

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

55 of 56 people found the following review helpful By Gail Cooke HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on July 16, 2001
Format: Hardcover
While the allure of a foreign land is a subject often plumbed by such attractive sojourners as Peter Mayle (A Year In Provence) and Frances Mayes (Under The Tuscan Sun), British writer/actress Carol Drinkwater offers refreshingly original musings on her love affair with southern France. She is particularly drawn to a tumble-down villa built in 1904; it is called Appassionata " a musical term meaning with passion."
"I am in the south of France, gazing at the not-so-distant Mediterranean, falling in love with an abandoned olive farm," Ms. Drinkwater writes. "The property, once stylish and now little better than a ruin, is for sale with ten acres of land."
Love, as has been said, is blind. In this case, an unabashed Francophile didn't see the lack of running water, save on a rainy day through holes in the roof, or moldering walls or the legions of insects who inhabit the long abandoned villa. She didn't envision the ponderously slow French property laws, the perplexities of nurturing olive trees, the idiosyncracies of the local residents, the vagaries of nature, or the amount of money needed to make her dream home habitable.
Warmed by the Mediterranean sun she simply thought, "To restore this old olive farm, with views overlooking the sea. To create roots, and with this man......it may be illogical, but it feels right."
She invests all of her resources, including her only insurance policy, in what her friends and parents deem to be a scheme of madness, and stakes her future with Michel, a man who proposed the day after they met.
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31 of 32 people found the following review helpful By F. Evans on September 26, 2004
Format: Paperback
Initially, this book caught my eye because the story takes place in the French town where I was born and raised.

While I found interesting and informative to re-discover my hometown through the eyes of the writer, I was totally captured by the many sides to this book: the story about a foreigner adapting to a different culture (which I can relate to, having made my home in the USA...), a international love story between a French man and an English woman (I am French and my husband American), the author learning to become a stepmother, the huge task of nursing back to life a beautiful property which had been abandoned by its previous owners....

There are lots of stories within the main story... All so well written, I lost track of time a lot while reading this book...

I also, through her descriptions, recognized some of the characters!! (small town... VERY small town!!)

It was a true feast and I am ordering the sequel as soon as I am finished writing this review!!

Get this book, it will literally absorb you into its own world... Getting a glimpse of the South of France without leaving your armchair should be enticing enough... I could smell the lavender in the breeze, hear the ciccadas, and almost taste the local foods I so miss here in the US...

I recommend it to you all without any reservation!
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29 of 31 people found the following review helpful By Britt Arnhild Lindland on September 12, 2003
Format: Paperback
When we came home from our vacation in southern France this summer my sister in law gave me this book. I have read Frances Mayes' books about Tuscany several times and love them so much, I though, oh, just another writer trying to write like her. But I was totally wrong. Carol Drinkwater buys a farm in southern France just like Mayes does in Tuscany, but there stops the similarity.
Carol Drinkwater's style of writing is unique in the way she let us take part in her life. The book is so much more than a book about buying a farm, it is a love story to the man in her kife she has just met, it is the story of how to adjust in the life of being a step mother, it is a story of adapting another country and it's inhabitants. And her writing is so good you just melt into the book, can't put it down, feel you are there at the farm with her.
What I liked most about the book si that it shows several aspacts of the "sweet life". Not everything is romantic, we also meet the shadows of the life of buying the farm. Drinkwater opens her heart to the readers for good and for worse, and this way she makes to book a masterpiece of the love story literature.
Thanks for this book. I have already ordered it's sequel and know that when it arrives I will need to put aside anything else for some reading hours.
Britt Arnhild Lindland
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful By carolann on September 4, 2002
Format: Hardcover
This memoir of Provence reads truer to me than the Peter Mayle Provence books, much as I enjoy them. These people are real, their problems are believable, and almost from the first page you feel as if you have lived in their wonderful ruin of a house in the olive orchard in southern France. I hope Drinkwater is considering a sequel so we find out how her stepdaughters grew up, how the dogs did, and whether they have restored the house yet.
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Tamara on August 9, 2002
Format: Hardcover
I have just finished reading The Olive Farm by Carol Drinkwater and it was nothing less
than fabulous. I found it to be honest, sincere, humorous and incredibly moving. After
reading Ms. Drinkwater's work, I feel as though I know her. I want to visit her and Michel
and help work on their farm, drink wine with them and explore the south of France. It is
as if one were actually there and privy to all their joys, successes, failures and secrets. It
has been a very long time since I have read a book that I wanted more of. I was actually sorry
to have finished it. Bravo Ms. Drinkwater! Bravo!
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