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4.4 out of 5 stars344
4.4 out of 5 stars
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on 2 September 2014
Now a while ago I read the first book by the author: “Driving over Lemons”, which was an international bestseller. I still have a rather battered copy as I lent it to people quite a bit! I also read “ A Parrot in the Pepper Tree” and “The Almond Blossom Appreciation Society” by the same author which were also hugely enjoyable. They are all about life as lived on a small farm in a remote area in Andalucia in Spain. When the author and his wife bought the farm way back then there was no running water and no electricity. This book, his latest, is another extremely enjoyable read. The author is willing, in the most charming and humorous way, to share some of his life with you. There are anecdotes of wild boars, visiting famous tv chefs, a search for a 4B pencil, a tuna dishes judging competition, an encounter with some sort of faith healer, a raging torrent of rain resulting in the nearby river destroying their eco system etc etc. If there would be no mention of his very early stint in the pop group Genesis of course I would be disappointed - it is all fun. And in a way if you look at the charming photographs of his family, he and his wife cold easily pass for an ageing rockstar with his rockchick wife and their pretty daughter!

I find the contrast between the lighthearted, optimistic and humorous tone of the book and the hard physical work it must have taken to get the farm going in this isolated and difficult part of the world, intriguing. I always find Chris Stewart’s books difficult to put down and I was disappointed when it said on my Kindle: you have 1 minute to the end of the chapter and 99% has been read! (Too much information Kindle I must go back to physical books!) I actually thought it was an even better read than the ones which came before. It is also a great holiday read: go and buy, you will not be disappointed!
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on 10 August 2014
This is definitely Chris Stewart's best book. The other are great but Last Days of the Bus Club tops them all. Each chapter is different - a story on its own. It is too difficult to pick out any particular chapter. If any I enjoyed The rain in Spain and the story of the inner city childrens visit was hilarious. The only criticism is the title. It doesn't stick in the mind like the other three books. I bought it on kindle but will definitely buy a paperback to keep re reading.
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on 15 June 2014
I was so pleased when I found out that Chris had another book out... I love his books about life in Spain and this one does not disappoint . I found the chapter on the tuna judging competition very funny.. I think the sherry he drank helped a lot . The tale of the torrential rain and the flooding of the valley was a bit of an eye opener.. I suppose you think everything is all sunshine and roses . Ive not read Chris's other book about sailing but thats on my wish list .
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VINE VOICEon 14 June 2014
Of all Stewart’s books this is my favourite.

A collection of stories and memories covering everything from Christmas flooding at El Valero, labouring as a teenage student, how Hardy's Gabriel Oak influenced his decision to become a shepherd, and Laurie Lee his ultimate move to Spain.

It’s fifteen years since his first book about the trials, tribulations and uncertainties of building a farm in the Alpujarra Mountains of Andalusia, but his enthusiasm for nature and living a frugal and sustainable lifestyle remains undiminished.

And he tells a good story, bringing everything about Spain to life. You feel you are there with him. The smells, the colour, the heat, the people and the food, whether he’s writing about family, pets, neighbours, sheep, celebrities (Rick Stein’s visit), 4B pencils or flooding.

His passion for food recurs throughout the book too. Growing fruit and vegetables- enjoying sweet Washingtonia oranges, tips on cooking wild boar, lamb, and making nettle soup etc.

Maybe a cookbook next?
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on 14 July 2014
I hesitate to give this book its lowest star rating so far, if only to avoid the good kicking that normally leads to in "unhelpful" votes from friends, family (I'm sure that won't be the case here), and die-hard fans who hand-out 5 star reviews unquestioningly . . .
Leaving Amazon politics to one side, I was seduced into reading this after hearing the author on the radio, and had always meant to read one of his books. Maybe it was unfair to start with the fourth (and last?) part of the trilogy (author's joke), because this book refers back constantly to the earlier books, and Chris Stewart's story is no longer that of the outsider struggling with an unfamiliar culture, landscape and property, he is now the recognised local celebrity bogged-down by signing books, opening the local fiesta and judging tuna competitions. So there's a general absence of jeopardy, save for some torrential rain, a few lost sheep and impenetrable Spanish bureaucracy. Most disconcerting for the new reader though, is the way each chapter just sort of fizzles out rather than arriving at the expected punchline that defines this genre of book. Once you have come to terms with this though, you can relax into the amiable descriptions of landscape, family and friends - the people, in fact, who are probably right now reaching for the "unhelpful" button.
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on 1 September 2014
I bought this because I had very much enjoyed the earlier books. I am very disappointed with it though. The author is scraping the barrel here and seems to be writing any old thing that comes into his head. It is dreary and has no punch and little humour. Don't be lured into parting with good money for this sad offering.
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on 30 July 2014
Amusing anecdotes but seems to be pieced together and does not flow as well as the earlier books. Still worth a read but maybe a book to far.
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on 10 March 2016
This is the fourth book of a trilogy! Work that one out. I have read the other three books, Driving Over Lemons, A Parrot in the Pepper Tree, and The Almond Blossom Appreciation Society (The Lemon Trilogy) and would give them all 5 stars. I really wanted to give this the same but I felt it wasn't quite up to the standard of the others. That said it's still a nice read and I would recommend it to you, it's just personally I thought it was the weaker of the four.
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on 8 June 2014
I love the style of Chris's storytelling; he is a natural raconteur. I downloaded the book this morning and had read it by early evening. My only criticism would be that it is not long enough - I want more! His stories stick in my mind they are so well described as to be visible in my imagination almost as if I were there.
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on 26 November 2014
It was chris stewart who has played a large part in our decision to invest the rest of our lives in spain. He has a very realistic view and this final...and I think it should be the final, book rounds things off nicely. Engaging as always, honest, funny, sad. Thanks chris, for all the inspiration you have given us..we too love the little corner of the spain we have found. Courage was bolstered by your endearing books, last days....now to our first days.
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