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Comment: This book has already been loved by someone else. It MIGHT have some wear and tear on the edges, have some markings in it, or be an ex-library book. Over-all it is still a good book at a great price! (if it is supposed to contain a CD or access code, that may be missing)
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The Olive Farm: A Memoir of Life, Love, and Olive Oil in the South of France Paperback – June 25, 2002

4.4 out of 5 stars 86 customer reviews

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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 the Hardcover edition.

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 the Hardcover edition.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 336 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin Books; Reprint edition (June 25, 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0142001309
  • ISBN-13: 978-0142001301
  • Product Dimensions: 5.3 x 0.7 x 7.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 10.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (86 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #293,514 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

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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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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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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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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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I loved this book! Ms. Drinkwater has done what so many of us dream of doing. She found a house in the South of France, and along with her husband, fought to buy it, fix it, breathe life into it. I felt transported to her wonderful farm and cheered her on. I didn't want it to end and hope she writes more about her olive farm.
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Format: Paperback
Carol Drinkwater, actress in my all-time favorite television show, "All Creatures Great and Small," takes us with her on a warm and wonderful journey to the south of France where we experienced first-hand with her the toils, traumas, tears, and triumphs of pursuing one's dream. In this case the initial dream was to make a go of a dilapidated olive farm near Cannes and Nice, and ultimately, it led us on a voyage with the author to find her (and vicariously our) heart's desire. The farm is just a stage -- it is the people, their warmth, caring, and interdependence, that make life worth living. The story is very interesting, with plenty of ups and downs, interesting people and experiences, writing that touches all our senses (I can almost smell those orange-scented breezes), genuinely moving events and realizations, lots of heart and humor, and very importantly, excellent writing. Her descriptions are very clear, the story keeps moving forward at an interesting pace, and there were a number of passages that I re-read several times to fully appreciate her excellent use of language. (Peter Mayle could take some lessons here.) I regretted having to finish the book and stepping back out of Ms. Drinkwater's world, and I hope we will have a sequel to sink our minds and hearts into. It's enough to make me (almost) forgive the actress/author for relinquishing her role in the final episodes of "All Creatures.." I highly recommend this book, I thank the author for inviting us into her world, and I look forward to OF2.
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