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Driving Over Lemons: An Optimist in Andalucia (Lemons Trilogy Book 1) [Kindle Edition]

Chris Stewart
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (357 customer reviews)

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Book Description

Meet Chris Stewart, the eternal optimist.

At age 17 Chris retired as the drummer of Genesis and launched a career as a sheep shearer and travel writer. He has no regrets about this. Had he become a big-time rock star he might never have moved with his wife Ana to a remote mountain farm in Andalucia. Nor forged the friendship of a lifetime with his resourceful peasant neighbour Domingo...not watched his baby daughter Chloe grow and thrive there...nor written this book.

Fate does sometimes seem to know what it's up to.

Driving Over Lemons is that rare thing: a funny, insightful book that charms you from the first page to the last...and one that makes running a peasant farm in Spain seem like a distinctly gd move. Chris transports us to Las Alpujarras, an oddball region south of Granada, and into a series of misadventures with an engaging mix of peasant farmers and shepherds, New Age travellers and ex-pats. The hero of the piece, however, is the farm that he and Ana bought, El Valero -- a patch of mountain studded with olive, almond and lemon groves, sited on the wrong side of a river, with no access road, water supply or electricity.

Could life offer much better than that? Driving Over Lemons has sold over a million copies since publication in 1999. The title has been translated into 9 languages.

Books In This Series (3 Books)
Complete Series


  • Product Description

    Amazon.co.uk Review

    All Provenced out? Then head further south this year, to the breathtaking mountainous climes of Andalucia. Just don't be squeamish about driving over lemons.

    Chris Stewart, skilled sheep-shearer and sometime Genesis drummer, took one look at the Alpujarr´s, the foothills of the Sierra Nevada, and decided that's where he wanted to be. This is the story of his adventures coming to terms with the terrain, the lifestyle and, of course, the locals, who possess all the rugged, homespun charm you'd expect. Stewart soon discovers all the hidden foibles of his bargain purchase, and spends the following year(rendered here in detail) installing the little luxuries of life like, say, water.

    However, just when you're worrying that all this might degenerate into a rose-tinted "Englishman finds nature" idyll, Chris's wife enters the fray. Nonsense-free, straight-talking and relentlessly unsentimental, Ada should be a required resource for all travel writers. Ada gets bored with the fake machismo of pig-killing, Ada sees through the selfless "help" of the natives, Ada calls a peasant a peasant. With her on board, Stewart has the perfect counterbalance to his declared optimism, and Driving Over Lemons becomes a loving but clear-sighted encomium, economically and wittily written, to a wonderful part of the world. --Alan Stewart

    Amazon Review

    All Provenced out? Then head further south this year, to the breathtaking mountainous climes of Andalucia. Just don't be squeamish about driving over lemons.

    Chris Stewart, skilled sheep-shearer and sometime Genesis drummer, took one look at the Alpujarr´s, the foothills of the Sierra Nevada, and decided that's where he wanted to be. This is the story of his adventures coming to terms with the terrain, the lifestyle and, of course, the locals, who possess all the rugged, homespun charm you'd expect. Stewart soon discovers all the hidden foibles of his bargain purchase, and spends the following year(rendered here in detail) installing the little luxuries of life like, say, water.

    However, just when you're worrying that all this might degenerate into a rose-tinted "Englishman finds nature" idyll, Chris's wife enters the fray. Nonsense-free, straight-talking and relentlessly unsentimental, Ada should be a required resource for all travel writers. Ada gets bored with the fake machismo of pig-killing, Ada sees through the selfless "help" of the natives, Ada calls a peasant a peasant. With her on board, Stewart has the perfect counterbalance to his declared optimism, and Driving Over Lemons becomes a loving but clear-sighted encomium, economically and wittily written, to a wonderful part of the world. --Alan Stewart

    Product details

    • Format: Kindle Edition
    • File Size: 2084 KB
    • Print Length: 308 pages
    • Publisher: Sort Of (8 Aug. 2011)
    • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
    • Language: English
    • ISBN-10: 0956308643
    • ISBN-13: 978-0956308641
    • ASIN: B006WB2E6O
    • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
    • X-Ray:
    • Word Wise: Enabled
    • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (357 customer reviews)
    • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #3,066 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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    Customer Reviews

    Most Helpful Customer Reviews
    84 of 85 people found the following review helpful
    5.0 out of 5 stars A beautiful book that leaves you warm and happy 30 Aug. 2002
    By C Hyde
    Format:Paperback
    When one thinks of English in Spain, you automatically assume Frank Butcher types in tight Speedo trunks loitering drunk in Lineker's Bar and eating fry-ups all day.
    Chris Stewart and his wife Ana are Ex-Pats, but with a difference. Rather than trying to make Spain English, they left these shore to adapt to the Spanish agricultural lifestyle, and enjoy the atmosphere on their new property in Las Alpajurras.
    The book brings together a sentiment of blissful happiness, and you can almost smell the lemon blossom on the front cover.
    I enjoyed this book as much as I did 'Mukiwa', by Peter Godwin, but without any of the poigniancy and heartache felt in Godwin's work.
    A fantastic read, well worth 5 stars.
    Was this review helpful to you?
    52 of 54 people found the following review helpful
    4.0 out of 5 stars A hot Spanish holiday without the jetlag 6 Mar. 2004
    By A Customer
    Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
    I picked up this expecting a variation on the "Year in Provence" theme and found I was totally wrong. The Englishman abroad idea was still the basis of the book however, there the similarity ended. Driving Over Lemons: An Optimist in Andalucia is much more beievable and real. There is no feeling that the stories have been elaborated or embroidered. You sense a commitment to the simplicity of this way of life and that despite the popularity of the novel the family will not be "selling out" on this lifestyle. At the end I felt as though I had experienced the ups and downs of the first years with him. Whilst I came away knowing I would have hated it in many ways I still thoroughly enjoyed this book. Highly recommended and compulsive reading.
    Comment | 
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    25 of 26 people found the following review helpful
    5.0 out of 5 stars A Story As Warm As The Andalucian Sun! 4 Mar. 2000
    By A Customer
    Format:Paperback
    An excellent narrative of Chris,Ana and latterly Chloe and their adventure buying a remote farm and adapting to living in Southern Spain. Not a taxing read by any means and this is indeed to its credit.The writing style of Chris Stewart is simple but sincere.Whether you are sitting at home reading this book in the mid of winter or in the summer sun on your holiday, this is a fantastic book. The subject of this book could have been so mediocre and boring: The reality is a book as fresh as the lemons they drove over! Do not miss it!
    Comment | 
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    42 of 45 people found the following review helpful
    5.0 out of 5 stars Driving over Lemons 4 May 2004
    Format:Paperback
    I purchased this book, purely on impulse, whilst waiting at Manchester Airport. My companion had holidayed on the Costas on a number of occasions, but this was to be my first visit to Andalucia. We had booked to spend a fortnight in what was described in the brochure as "a typical spanish village house in a remote setting amongst the foothills of the Alpujara mountains", and neither of us was at all sure what to expect from the countryside and the people we would be meeting there.
    We quickly settled in to our temporary new home and I opened the pages of "Driving Over Lemons" at the side of our little swimming pool on the outskirts of Durcal, a short drive south of Granada, with high mountains providing a dramatic backdrop.
    Ten minutes or so later I realised with a start that amongst those mountains lay the location of Mr Stewart's book.
    Long before I reached the end of the book I felt "at home" in Andalusia, confident of what I could expect from this wonderful place.
    Oh, this is not a traveller's guidebook, (though the author has, in fact, written those, too). It is a story about a man and his family coming to terms with a dream, and about making a place for themselves within that dream. It is a story of an Englishman learning to live amongst the countryside and the people of Andalucia.
    If you are planning to take a Spanish holiday away from the beaches of Southern Spain, you will find this book, and its sequel "A Parrot in the Pepper Tree" to be as essntial as your sun-lotion, and you must buy a copy!
    If, on the other hand, you are NOT planning such a trip, I suggest that you buy the book anyway! You will find it almost as good as a real holiday in the sun - and as you turn the last page, I'd not be surprised to learn that you learn that you felt the urge to book a trip to see these lovely mountains and villages for yourself.
    A most enjoyable and informative story, and I urge you to read it!
    Comment | 
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    28 of 30 people found the following review helpful
    5.0 out of 5 stars Shows life in rural Spain with love and humour 5 Aug. 2001
    Format:Paperback
    I ordered this book with one of your £5 vouchers that I had won in a competition. This was an excellent read and was full of humour and evoked a wonderful feeling of knowing all the locals personally. As someone who loves the Spanish way of life it only served to make me more determined to get to my goal and move there. Chris Stewart's desriptions of the area and the local people were not airey fairy but was full of love and humour and shows that it is possible for an English family to move into the "wilds" of Spain and fit in, rather than congregating along the coast and only mixing with the ex-pat community. I would recommend this book to anyone and have done! It really was an excellent read and I look forward to the next volume.
    Comment | 
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    16 of 17 people found the following review helpful
    By A Customer
    Format:Paperback
    Chris Stewart can never be discouraged, not even when everything seems to go wrong. Maybe his secret is to discover again those things that really matter in life, and friendship above everything. All this happens in a lovely setting in the mountains, where Nature can be beautiful but also demanding and even merciless. And the cast of characters, in the shape of both long-time neighbours and casual acquaintances, is a countinous source of surprises and enjoyment.
    Comment | 
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    15 of 16 people found the following review helpful
    By A Customer
    Format:Paperback
    Which isn't actually an entirely bad thing. I was recommended this book by a friend of mine, who evidently knows me better than I thought. Chris Stewart, the somewhat knaive eternal optimist, paints a vivid, radiant picture of what life is like for a foreigner living in Andalucia, while his wife interjects every now and again, bringing him back down to earth with a bump.
    This is a fantastic, heartwarming autobiographical tale which will appeal to that little escapist inside all of us that secretly longs to get away from modern life and go and run a farm. Gently amusing, but never trying too hard, this is one of the best books I've read in a very long time
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