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on 4 January 2012
First of all, I haven't read `The Olive Farm' but I will now- to find out how actress/author Carol and her film-producer partner Michel initially came to purchase their own piece of Provencal paradise! Lucky them- I am very envious they own such a wonderful home in such a glorious location, though thankfully I don't think you have to read the first book to get hooked on this one as I got into it straight away.

I was first drawn to this book by the seductive picture of the beautiful landscape on the front cover and was hoping it would be a bit like Peter Mayle's type of writing with French food, scenery and customs depicted and thankfully it was very reminiscent of that, only a bit more personal. Despite the difference in countries it was actually more similar to `Under the Tuscan Sun' (one of my favourite travelogues) with the Mediterranean lifestyle practically seeping from the pages, funny anecdotes and glorious descriptions of food and the surroundings interwoven in the text. It's not all bright and sparkly though- there are frustrations depicted with maniacal French bureaucracy as well as small-town corruption, which I found fascinating to read about.

Though the book mostly recounts Carol and Michel's journey in trying to have their olive oil specially certified with an AOC, it does touch on other subjects; their unusual wedding in Polynesia, water-divining, bee-keeping and vegetable gardening amongst other things. I particularly enjoyed the details of the vegetable gardening and cooking as these are my hobbies too. It is all recounted in a very down to earth, chatty manner which I welcomed and thankfully didn't seem at all preachy when it went into details of aspects of local history either- or the wealth of detail included about olive farming. There's nothing worse than a travelogue reading like a textbook.

Other reviewers have said that perhaps Carol comes across as a bit `celebrity' or a bit smug but I didn't really feel this through the writing at all, though she does talk about Cannes and its festivals in a lot of detail as well as acting parts she has taken on and a few famous people she encounters in some of the exclusive South of France resorts- to be fair, she's a well-known actress and runs her own Olive Farm in one of the most beautiful parts of the world, I would probably be a bit smug too! Good luck to her, she's been through a lot of tough stuff, some of which was encompassed in this book and was really upsetting to read about.

For me, the only thing that could have made this book better would have been the inclusion of some of the yummy sounding recipes of the meals that Carol discusses in the chapters. They sounded absolutely delicious! Recommended if you enjoy well-written travelogues or are looking for a novel to take you away to another sunnier place on a dull winter's day. I will be reading more by Carol in future- probably if I go somewhere hot and Mediterranean for my holidays, so I don't feel quite as jealous of her wonderful lifestyle!
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on 23 June 2013
I was not initially enthusiastic about reading Carol Drinkwater's books. I have been sickened over the years by the number of celebrities who have cashed in on their fame and been snapped up by publishers, at the expense of more deserving writers who do not have a name. I saw Carol as an actress, not a writer, but, having now read two of her books, I have to say that she is the exception. I read 'The Olive Farm', enjoyed it very much and surprised myself by making the decision to read 'The Olive Season'. I can't understand anybody who says this is not the better book of the two I have read. The first book in the series was extremely interesting, but this one was outstanding. I do think that anybody attempting to write about such an intimate, personal experience bares their soul to the public and that is a very brave thing to do. People can be very critical and very cruel. There was a danger that, when Carol Drinkwater chose to write about such a personal matter, her description of the experience could have become self-indulgent and distasteful. However, this was definitely NOT the case. She described what she went through in a very under-stated style and it came across as both moving and sensitively written. It was an excellent book in my view. I don't think many writers could handle such subject matter with the skill which this writer has shown.
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on 24 March 2003
I was really looking forward to reading this book after so enjoying "The Olive Farm", within the first few pages however I realized that this was going to be a disappointment. After reading the Olive Farm I grew to really like Carol and Michel, but after reading the first chapters on their wedding, I realized that I really don't like these people. Carol seems terribly self absorbed, and more concerned about her little world that she has created than anything else.
Without giving anything away from the story from those of you who will read it, I was very glad when this book was finished. If you liked The Olive Farm, don't buy The Olive Garden, it will disappoint you.
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on 10 September 2003
```I first became a fan of Ms. Drinkwater when she appeared in "All Creatures Great and Small." Then, in a film with
Hugh Grant and Alan Rickman, she did a scathing star turn. That she is able to write as well, so very well indeed was a revelation, for 'The Olive Farm' made me immediately want to pack my bags and fly to see the verdant countryside she described. I never believed for a moment that a sequel could be so much more engrossing and personal, but 'The Olive Season' is filled with the stories of visitors to the farm, together with the difficulties of bringing the olives to fruit, but it is her baring her soul in dealing with the trauma of a personal tragedy that tears ones heart out that makes this book stand out. She must be a fighter for she went on with her life and her farm, and in the end one knows she will come out on top. A joy to read and to re-read.
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on 22 March 2003
This was a book that gripped me so thoroughly that I did something that I rarely do; I read the entire book one afternoon without putting it down. The emotions that spilled out of the pages were so intense & real. Shock, grief & loss but also hope, love & passion. All set in & around the grounds of her beloved olive farm. We see her true understanding of nature as she nurtures her land through each season with all its inherent problems. Her research into the history & traditions of the French Riviera comes through skillfully & is artfully presented nestled between the everyday happenings & stories which make this book so satisfying. One has the sense of having been given a history lesson without even realising it.
All the characters are sharply drawn & written about with such great humour; her family, her aquaintances & of course Quashia & the indomitable René, all of whom we met in the first book, The Olive Farm.
Raw, open emotions from her childhood coupled with the happiness of her advancing pregnancy are written about in such a powerful & intense way that it allows the reader to completely identify with the events as they happen. However nothing prepares us for the turn of those events which she recounts with such grief & sadness, but we are left at the end with a great sense of hope & uplifting.
This is powerful writing & is one of those books that you envy people for not yet having read, for the pleasure they still have to come
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on 7 October 2003
This is an extraordinary and fascinating follow-up to The Olive Farm.The reader is drawn deeply and inexorably in to the world of the author, confronted with her personal struggles and entranced by her pastiche of growth and decay in the world of nature, a metaphor for her life. Passages of great lyrical beauty are punctuated by memories of sadness and wrenching trauma. Carol Drinkwater has managed to take the story of the farm and weave into it a stunningly honest and brave treatment of the background to her search for life and love.Yet, the profound message one comes away with is of expectation, hope and a peace that is hard won, like the fruiting olive trees there are good seasons and not so good but there is always the wonder of what the next one will bring. This was her search for Elysium.
I look forward to what the next book will bring.
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on 18 July 2003
Anyone expecting more of the same from Carol Drinkwater after reading, 'The Olive Farm' is in for a surprise - one which they may or may not like.
Whilst the same characters reappear and the story of the Olive Farm continues, there is much deeper and more personal content covered in this book.
The author describes her attempts to deal with a tragedy in a lot of detail and whilst digging around inside herself, reveals a host of other demons that she has been wrestling with since childhood. She certainly wrote this second tranche of the Appasionata story for cathartic reasons as much as anything.
I did enjoy it and read through it pretty quickly, noticing along the way that there are plenth of hooks in there for a third installment.
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on 26 April 2014
Carol completely captivated me with tales of her home and olive farm in France. She is an excellent writer - she made me laugh and also cry with her at her lowest point. I would completely recommend this and her other two books to anyone I didn't want them to end. A marvellous read.
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on 17 May 2003
This book is a disappointing sequel which I found incredibly hard going. The flowing style of The Olive Farm is gone, focusing on the author's past / wedding / pregnancy more than the events of the Olive Farm.
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on 18 October 2013
I love this series. Carol is such a descriptive writer that you can imagine yourself in at the places she writes about. It really transports you from your every day work into another. I cannot read enough of her Olive books
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