Customer Reviews


26 Reviews
5 star:
 (18)
4 star:
 (4)
3 star:
 (2)
2 star:    (0)
1 star:
 (2)
 
 
 
 
 
Average Customer Review
Share your thoughts with other customers
Create your own review
 
 

The most helpful favourable review
The most helpful critical review


39 of 39 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Stands out from the crowd
"One woman and the creation of a vineyard". Oh no, not another book about Brits moving to France to live their dream! But this one really does stand out from the crowd -- unlike the mediocre Virgile's Vineyard, this book is definitely worth reading.
Curiously, I remember seeing Patricia Atkinson in a programme on Channel 4 in about 1993 -- one of the first programmes...
Published on 28 Sep 2004

versus
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Enjoyed it, but lacked depth
I live in France and I bought this book to see how this person's experience differed from my own. I enjoyed the book and agree that the woman is an inspiration to all in taking on a challenge and excelling at something new, but I did find several things about the book spoiled my overall enjoyment.

I found that there were too many descriptions of moving wine...
Published on 25 Sep 2007 by Zena Lawton


‹ Previous | 1 2 3 | Next ›
Most Helpful First | Newest First

39 of 39 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Stands out from the crowd, 28 Sep 2004
By A Customer
This review is from: The Ripening Sun: One Woman and the Creation of a Vineyard (Paperback)
"One woman and the creation of a vineyard". Oh no, not another book about Brits moving to France to live their dream! But this one really does stand out from the crowd -- unlike the mediocre Virgile's Vineyard, this book is definitely worth reading.
Curiously, I remember seeing Patricia Atkinson in a programme on Channel 4 in about 1993 -- one of the first programmes of that type. She and her husband had moved to Bergerac to live in a beautiful old house and grow vines. But within months the husband contracted a debilitating illness and returned to the UK, leaving Patricia on her own, struggling to cultivate four hectares of vines with no knowledge of French, wine, or how to drive a tractor. She survived, and funnily enough she reappeared on a programme on French television a few months back -- now a respected winemaker who regularly wins prizes and gets her wines into the Guide Hachette.
Not only does she make good wine, she turns out to write quite well too -- recording her fears and insecurities as she struggles along on her own. The winemaking idea had been entirely her husband's, but she is obviously someone who believes that if she has to do something she will do it well, and she discovers talents that might never have been revealed otherwise -- not only learning the numerous skills required to grow grapes and make wine, but developing the physical strength needed to drive tractors, shovel grape debris, prune vines, and heave pipes, pumps and barrels about in the winery. And as if that weren't enough, she turns out to have a remarkably well-developed palate, to the extent that after a few years she is invited to join the official tasting committee for Bergerac AOC wines.
She relates all this with a pleasing humility, and it's clear how her courage, determination and willingness to learn endeared her to her neighbours, who rallied round to help her. By the end of the book she has truly become an integral part of the small community of Gageac. Bravo to her, and eat your heart out, Peter Mayle!
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


19 of 19 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Real Life Stories, 29 July 2003
By A Customer
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
I agree with one of the other readers - I could not put this book down but at the same time didn't want it to end. It is much better than other books in this same genre which tend to be a bit glib for my taste. The author shares a lot of real life stories with us and not just the pretty "up" ones. I felt like I knew the people she was writing about and was really heartbroken when one in particular died. And for her to become a vigneronne without any previous experience is amazing, I was in awe of what she has accomplished. I love this book!
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars one word, 10 July 2004
By 
allen scott (waterlooville, england) - See all my reviews
This review is from: The Ripening Sun: One Woman and the Creation of a Vineyard (Paperback)
...inspirational.
a truly remarkable story from a truly remarkable lady. a bit of peter mayle here, a bit of tour de france there, lashings of fresh air, wine, and great company; who could ask for more? read in one day...tres magnifique!
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An inspirational account of life in a vineyard., 22 April 2003
By 
Phil L (Manchester, UK) - See all my reviews
A must for 'dreamers'- A fascinating and inspiring look at how the author followed a dream, despite setbacks and hard work to achieve the success of a now well renowned wine and vineyard. A well written account of the life in a french vineyard, french village society and coping with the day to day language issues. A great story explained in a most inspiring yet simple fashion.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Magnifique, 14 May 2003
By 
Mr. Samuel T. Owens (France) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
A fascinating book - I read it in a day. The best thing about it is its warts 'n all approach. Yes, there are plenty of passages eulogising about 'la belle vie francaise'. But these are balanced with the reality of wine-making being hard, hard work, plus of course the personal troubles she encountered. You finish the book thinking 'Great on you, girl'.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A truly excellent book!, 20 April 2003
This is one of those books that you don't want to finish, but can't put down. Even more so if you've ever dreamt of moving to France and retiring to a gentle life of making wine.
Not that you would after reading this book! Never before have I read such a compelling account of the absolute hard grinding work required of a vigneron. Patricia Atkinson starts making wine almost by accident, and suddenly the reader's thrust into a maelstrom of wayward tractors (and their numerous bewildering attachments), chaos in the winery, pips, pulp, stalks, skins and incomprehensible French beaurocracy.
There's a warm heart at the middle of a story which paints a complex picture of life, love, death and hard work in what might have been glibly described as a rural idyll but instead is richly coloured and multi-faceted. All the ups and downs, the triumphs and disasters are told with great honesty and modesty - it would surely have been easier to write an idealised version with the author as the all-conquering heroine.
All in all the best book by a Brit living life in rural France I've read - for me easily outclassing Peter Mayle's landmark A Year In Provence. Atkinson's 12 years in Gegeac will be hard to beat!
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars What a woman!, 15 April 2003
By 
William J. Collins (Northern Ireland) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
I awaited with impatience the publication of this book, as I had sampled the excellent wines the author makes, while I was in France last year. The book is an inspiration to all aspiring entrepreneurs, and especially women.
The book paints a wonderful picture of the trials and tribulations of a woman living and working alone in France. The warmth of the French people who took Patricia Atkinson to their hearts, and gave willingly of their time and labour to help her, comes through clearly. An excellent read
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Enjoyed it, but lacked depth, 25 Sep 2007
By 
Zena Lawton "bookaholic" (Pays de Gex, France) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: The Ripening Sun: One Woman and the Creation of a Vineyard (Paperback)
I live in France and I bought this book to see how this person's experience differed from my own. I enjoyed the book and agree that the woman is an inspiration to all in taking on a challenge and excelling at something new, but I did find several things about the book spoiled my overall enjoyment.

I found that there were too many descriptions of moving wine around vats with confusing connecting pipes! I found the descriptions of the complexities of wine making overall interesting - I had not realised it was so complicated - but there was a lot of repetition of these descriptions.

I found that there was a lack of depth in how she dealt with the emotional side of the breakdown of her marriage. Perhaps it was too difficult to write about, or she felt a certain moral obligation to her husband to be discreet. I actually feel that at the start of her second book she is more open about her feelings regarding the separation. At one point I actually realised that she had not mentioned the husband for pages and pages and then there is one short paragraph to say that they were getting divorced.

The final issue I have is in the number of people who are casually mentioned in the book with no real description or introduction. Perhaps it's me - but at times I was confused as to who was who!

I would recommend the book to see a personal account of the complexities and hard work involved in wine making, and to observe a picture of French life that is quite enviable.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An excellent, inspiring read, 6 May 2003
By A Customer
This is a fantastic read for anyone who hopes to get away from the daily grind and instead do something useful with their life... Ms Atkinson is tremendously inspiring and writes this book with a minimum of sentimentality. I've read most of this in one go, and was amazed to learn what went into wine-making (a lot more than I thought) - but my one criticism of the book is that you don't really get to know the author terribly well as she keeps a large part of herself entirely private. Too bad, as I would have liked to know more about what she was feeling. Otherwise, a highly recommended book.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars what a fantastic read, 14 Jan 2006
This review is from: The Ripening Sun: One Woman and the Creation of a Vineyard (Paperback)
I bought this book because I had seen it in France magazine having already read some similar books on moving to france before.
I found the book and Patricia's writing to be very infectious sometimes sad but also happy and certainly reflective of life.
I read this book in about 4 days being unable to put it down once started it certainly is a fabulous read for a winter evening accompanied by a bottle of red wine.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


‹ Previous | 1 2 3 | Next ›
Most Helpful First | Newest First

This product

The Ripening Sun: One Woman and the Creation of a Vineyard
The Ripening Sun: One Woman and the Creation of a Vineyard by Patricia Atkinson (Paperback - 3 Jun 2004)
7.99
In stock
Add to basket Add to wishlist
Only search this product's reviews