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on 1 November 2017
Having read most of the series, including the books describing her travels around Europe, I enjoyed this very much. As usual the author manages to convey characters, atmosphere and incidents with humour and sincerity. Most of all she manages toconvey her passion for the earth, for olives, for bees. There is some sadness and much frustration in this book, which leaves you caring about the causes dear to her heart.
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on 11 June 2017
Another excellent read
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on 5 April 2017
thank you
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on 21 April 2017
great read
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on 11 May 2016
Very informative and at the same time very funny. Laughed out loud many times. Love her style of writing and read all 4 of her olive farm books in 4 weeks - unheard of for me. It would be lovely if Carole wrote a follow up of her life over the past few years.
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on 5 September 2012
I can only write about this from my own point of view.
I have grown Veg. commercially,by organic methods and have found it heart-breaking. I can appreciate what Ms Drinkwater is trying to achieve. All I ended up with was a very healthy crop of soil
Carol Drinkwater can obviously write and write rather well. Her descriptions are good if a little overblown.
Like a lot of these type of books, she has had trouble with Builders. Do reliable builders exist? Most of the Ex-Pats seem to have experienced trouble of some sort or another.
I can understand her reluctence to spray her olive trees. I know that most of the chemicals used are highly dangerous and the half truths told by the big Agrichemical companies would make amusing reading if the dangers were not so great.
I often ask myself why I bother to read books like this. The answer must be that I would like to be in the fortunate position to be able to do something like this myself.
So, until the Lottery comes up, I shall continue to do so
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on 15 July 2010
Once again I got a great reading experience: Carol Drinkwater has the gift to describe people, happenings and landscapes so vividly that the reader can easily imagine to be with her, picking olives, discussing with industry representatives, watching bees, waiting for Mr Q,...

I have read all her olive farm and olive history related books - some of them many times. First they gave me ideas and tips for Provencal holidays, then they got me interested in olives generally - a totally new field of knowledge and information opened to me - and now, this new book, continues the olive farm story, but - more importantly - reminds the reader of the state of our world, and what we can do for saving this little planet.

The book is both entertaining and serious. It gives beautiful views but also plenty to think about. It's a great continuation to the previous books - which I have to reread once again.

Waiting for more...
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on 30 July 2010
It was with great delight that I read Carol's latest book on her love affair with Provence and her home at Appassionata.More and more she realizes that she can no longer poison her land, olives, fruits, and most importantly the bees (which have mysteriously died) by using "safe" pesticides. This is her story of the stuggle she has finding alternatives but this is not the only story as woven into this is her deep love for her husband and his family (now that they are Grandparents!)Mr. Q their wonderful Algerian friend and gardener and the friends who come to celebrate and enjoy the hospitality of The Olive Farm! Carol is passionate about the enviroment and our need to nuture it but never preaches. All in all a wonderful book and if you enjoyed Carols other books you will love this- her best yet!
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on 16 August 2010
Once again Carol Drinkwater has filled my soul with the feel good factor. She writes from the heart,but is a careful researcher and historian.
Carol's writing is so descriptive you believe you can smell the flowers, taste the wonderful food, feel the heat of the sun on your face and become refreshed by the cool water of the pool in the early morning.

Carol's journey into the regeneration of our world is bold and gutsy, up against the chemical companies who try to sell her chemicals as organic when in fact it is very harmful to bees.

Return to the Olive Farm is a book for our time, it is a brilliantly written sequel to the other 5 books, all she has discovered comes together and sends out a clear message. "stop messing with the earth!"
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I have a secret to tell.... I have been renting an olive farm in Provence since 2001 when I first read Carol Drinkwater's memoir The Olive Farm .... well, in my dreams, I have!! I know that there is a myriad of travel memoirs out there, all wanting to impart their story of how a crumbling old house was restored to grandeur, usually peppered with a few anecdotes about quirky locals - just to add extra ambiance, n'est-ce pas... however, this series is very special to me as the author really is passionate about her environment and on a larger scale "our" environment which is quite frankly under threat.

"Return to the Olive Farm" opens as Carol returns from a 16 month expedition around the Med in search of the origins of the ancient and mystical Olive tree. She had written two books about her Olive quest and her travels and it is now a delight to return to Appassionata, the Provencal farm she shares with her husband Michel and to renew acquaintance with Quashia, her gardener, who doesn't quite see eye to eye with his boss when it comes to farming methods. I love the passion which Carol obviously has for olive farming and her lust for life and for discovering the natural world.

The main focus this time is on the possibility of having a truly organic olive grove and the many obstacles towards achieving such an admirable objective, given that France doesn't have a particularly strong record in championing the organic way. It is definitely so much easier and less heartbreaking to take the mass pesticide/bumper crop route and you find yourself really rooting for Carol to succeed without all the usual chemical parphenalia. I am in awe of how she keeps on going despite constant setbacks but then that could be the stubborn Irish streak, I guess - speaking as a fellow Irish woman! There's also a wonderfully vivid backdrop of supporting characters such as Madame, the fearsome Asbestos inspector, Michael Latz, the first Organic Mayor in France, Marley, Michel's grandson, not forgetting the honey bees.

So what else makes this stand out from the rest of the heap? I think a lot of its attraction for me stems from the honesty of the writing, the attention to detail, the intensity of the writer's relationship with the land, the willingness to take risks, the constant interest in what other local farmers do, the lack of fear when entering traditionally male-dominated arenas, the ability to deal with recalcitrant, inebriated builders with good humour and grace!! Above all you feel like you're observing a very intimate moment in someone else's life as they fall back in love with a place they'd left behind.

So, I would advise you, allez vite and get caught up with this series if you haven't already done so and if you've already shared in life at Appassionata, then allez vite aussi, snuggle up and get reacquainted!
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