Tuesday, 30 June 2015

Book Review - The Olive Branch by Jo Thomas

Amazon UK

Title:  The Olive Branch
Author: Jo Thomas
Format reviewed: Ebook
Source: Netgalley
Publisher: Headline Review
Publication Date: 2nd July 2015
Rating: 5 Stars

You can buy almost anything online these days. For Ruthie Collins, it was an Italian farmhouse.

Yet as she battles with a territorial goat and torrential rain just to get through the door of her new Italian home, the words of Ed, her ex, are ringing in her ears. She is daft, impetuous and irresponsible.

But Ruthie is determined to turn things around and live the dream.

First, though, she must win over her fiery neighbour, Marco Bellanouvo, and his tempestuous family...and then there's the small matter of running an olive farm. As the seasons change and new roots are put down, olives and romance might just flourish in the warmth of the Mediterranean sun.

When Ruthie Collins buys an Italian farmhouse on Ebay, her ex partner and her mother think she has gone mad. When Ruthie arrives, having paid for it, having never seen it in person, she starts to doubt herself. And when she discovers that it was sold by a now dead man, without telling any of his family, Marco Bellanouvo definitely has a few words to say to her. 

From a chance encounter with a guard goat, to the Bellanouvo family who are all around the small town in Puglia, Ruthie has to try to make the most of her impetuous decision. Her Italian evening class Italian doesn't even work well in Puglia, as they have their own dialect, so she struggles to communicate, while needing to renovate a farmhouse, and see if running an olive farm is the correct thing for her to do, or if she should go back to England. 

This book is a great mix of a women's fiction story, as well as the sort of story I love reading about in travel writing, of someone starting from scratch in a new country, with very little clue as to the reality, but having to learn fast. 

You learn quite a lot about olives, olive oil and olive farming during the story,  and it all seemed very well researched. There are some scenes where Marco and Ruthie are tasting olive oil, and the the descriptions were making me feel like I was tasting it too. 

I loved The Olive Branch, it was an interesting and enjoyable story, with a fabulous cast of characters, and it was set in Italy. I love Italy in books, and this Italy is no exception, the food descriptions are sublime, and I could do with a dose of warmer weather right about now.  

If you haven't encountered a book by Jo Thomas before, then please take a look at either The Olive Branch, or The Oyster Catcher, as they are both fabulous.

Thank you so much to Headline and Netgalley for my copy of this book. This was my honest review. 

The Olive Branch is out now in ebook, and out on 2nd July 2015, in paperback. 

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