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Olive #2

The Olive Season

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"I scan the terraces, planted with row upon row of ancient olive trees. It is April, late spring. Here in the hills behind the Cote d'Azur the olive groves are delicately blossomed, with their tiny, white-forked flowers. Beyond them, perched halfway up the slope of the hill, our belle epoque villa comes into view. Abounding in balustrade terraces, nestling among cedars and palms, facing out at a south-westerly angle, overlooking the bay of Cannes towards the sun-kissed Mediterranean, there it is, Appassionata, awaiting us..." THE OLIVE FARM told how Carol Drinkwater and partner Michel fell in love with and bought an abandoned Provencal olive farm. Now, in THE OLIVE SEASON, Carol is pregnant and their ever-loyal gardener is leaving to oversee the marriage of his son. Often unassisted, and with new challenges to face, Carol takes on the bulk of the farm work alone. Water is, as ever, a costly problem, and she goes in search of a diviner who promises almost magical results. But, as the harvest season approaches, dramatic events cast dark shadows of their olive farm.

337 pages, Paperback

First published January 1, 2003

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About the author

Carol Drinkwater

52 books396 followers
Carol Drinkwater is an Anglo-Irish actress, author and filmmaker.

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5 stars
408 (33%)
4 stars
454 (37%)
3 stars
281 (23%)
2 stars
44 (3%)
1 star
14 (1%)
Displaying 1 - 30 of 79 reviews
Profile Image for Cathrine ☯️ .
618 reviews338 followers
December 29, 2016
Combine the following ingredients:
—a Polynesian-like wedding in Aitutaki
—the birds and the bees and a life beginning
—a walk on the red carpet at Cannes
—a dinner party on the Côte d’Azur
—the Russian mafia
—a life ending
—chèvre sprinkled with nuts on a warm baguette
—fruit and more fruit
—an eclipse of the sun
—gourmet handmade marshmallows (surely only in France)
—a water diviner who only drinks champagne
—olives and more olives
And you have actress/writer Carol Drinkwater’s reflections on life at a formerly abandoned olive farm in the south of France.
If my dreams came true I would be there now drinking wine and eating olives and cheese while the bees hum and make honey just for me. But since I live in reality, I vicariously do so from the comfort of my home (sans the challenges the author faced) by using my imagination and inspiration derived from her enchanting real life tale in passages like these:

“The sky, the light, the land are a delicate chromatic tapestry; the chalky earth is as pale as faded butter or goat’s cheese, the sloping fields are a deep, inviting amethyst and the cloudless blue sky seems almost in reach. My head out of the window, I inhale the piquantly aromatic herbs, brush plants and trees…What a paradise for bees.”
Profile Image for Jessaka.
889 reviews121 followers
March 29, 2021
Sometimes, I think it is best to not read sequels. While I give this book four stars, it lost some of its charm due to certain circumstances. Real life never remains charmed.

Carol marries Michelle and becomes pregnant. This part of the story was fine, but then she began having a lot of visitors to the farm, not family, but people she knows, and while she was exhausted, she spent time entertaining them, even cooking for them. I didn’t care for some of her visitors and have never enjoyed entertaining people myself unless they were family. I always take any friends that visit me out for dinner, as I do with my family unless they are willing to help cook.

I especially like her interactions with her workers, who are fun to be around, and I liked listening to their plans to keep bees and buy more olive trees, and whether they do this or not, it makes for a good story.

I have to add this: I am on her third book, and it is bumming me out, which could vry well be affecting this review.
Profile Image for Nina Draganova.
996 reviews56 followers
September 3, 2018
За разлика от първата книга, в тази липсва страстта.
Тонът е минорен.
Авторката скача от тема в тема.
Наблегнала е на факти.
Но като цяло и се възхищавам за абсолютното отдаване на това с което се е захванала.
За любовта към живота и насладата от всяко едно нещо , което прави.
Определено французите са тези от които трябва да се учим.
Защото животът е да се живее. И изисква време.
Profile Image for nimrodiel.
230 reviews6 followers
May 20, 2008
I'm finding myself gorging on these books. They have been a fabulous way to relax after the last few stressful weeks of the semester. I'm loving reading about the further adventures encountered by Michele and Carol as they retore more of their farm to production of first class olive oil.

My only complaint is that all her talk of the wonderful fresh foods of the region are making me hungry for things like goat cheese with herbs and good olives. Both of which are not a normal part of our diet. But it encourages me to check out some more offerings at the market on our next shopping trip.

See where this book travels to next, at: http://www.bookcrossing.com/journal/5...
5 reviews3 followers
August 17, 2012
I'm trying to figure out what made this memoir work. Most memoirs I read have some sort of gimmick -- they've travelled to a remote spot of the earth, or lived among different people, or have gone through a remarkable event, etc..
But while this one was set in the Provencal area of France, and seems to center on Carol and her husband making their olive farm work, that isn't what the book is really about.

We're thrown into the minutiae of her daily life; yet this doesn't read like a diary. I can't figure out why we (the reader) care about her life. I can't say I especially cared for her. She's not someone I'd like to meet, and she doesn't seem like someone I'd befriend. Yet, I kept reading, and enjoyed the slow pace of the book and the flow of life on her olive farm.

I have more books in this series and will read them, though maybe not right away.
Profile Image for Nancy.
218 reviews
August 21, 2010
A understated, deeply insightful memoir of the author's life restoring an old Provencal farmstead and developing an olive farm. The memoir includes ample information about life on the Cote d'Azur, but is also deeply personal. Her description of working with the native Provencals as well as the Algerian Arabs who help her and her beloved husband Michel run the farm is never cute, trite, or played for comedy with hapless newcomers playing the fool and quaint locals learning to embrace the newcomers. No, it is a much deeper appreciation of people and place and always done without hyperbole. Quite simply, a beautiful book that deserves wide readership. (Drinkwater, an actress by profession, played Helen Harriot in the BBC adaptation of James Herriot's All Creatures Great and Small.)
Profile Image for Diane Will.
194 reviews8 followers
November 10, 2012
This was as good as her first book 'The Olive Farm'. Once again whisking you away to the world of the meditteranean and olives and sunshine. Carol is now pregnant and their gardener is threatening to leave. The harvest season approaches and she has to tend this with much doubt and apprehension trying to find water to ensure a good harvest. As the harvest season approaches there are dramatic events which may hamper the running of their farm.

A very good read and look forward to the next one.

I read this in 2005.
105 reviews
October 1, 2011
Having read "The Olive Farm" in the long distant past, I found the follow-up in a charity shop. Carol Drinkwater continues her love affair with Provence, and her descriptions of her new home certainly explain why she has found this place so special.
the trials and tribulations of olive growing, along with the life sadnesses she enounters and works through are vividly described, without self pity or over indulgence.
Well worth reading.
3,555 reviews14 followers
November 18, 2012
A wonderful further account of the love a woman holds for her house, her new life and her husband. Life continues at the old farm that Michel and Carol purchased near Cannes. They are struggling with renovations, updating, increasing the farm and their own family. Through the hardships and joys, Carol continues to love the choice of home that she and Michel made. Gives me hope that I'll find a small farm, a niche, someday.
42 reviews
April 1, 2007
I loved this book and prior to discovering it, had never realized that Carol Drinkwater was a writer in addition to being an actress. Her descriptions are lovely and make you want to jump on a plane and fly to France right away.
166 reviews2 followers
November 2, 2014
I'm sorry to say that I found this to be quite boring. The witty anecdotes were infrequent, the long drawn out monologues describing the scenery overdone. Not really worth the effort.
74 reviews6 followers
April 5, 2012

Care to visit The South of France near Cap D'Antibe, the Cannes Film Festival? Have you wondered what life is like for the rich and not so rich who inhabit that areas of Provence where hundreds of olive trees produce only the finest olive oil that merits the terminology "as certified by the AOC". This is a guarantee that the olive oil produced in this region is of the highest quality. In this her second memoir, British actress turned olive farmer Carol Drinkwater spins a magical tale. Most famous for her portrayal in the beloved British series All Creatures Great and Small, Drinkwater takes the reader behind the scenes as she and husband Michel make amendments to their olive grove seeking to add enough trees so they may actually qualify for the coveted AOC label. Along the way we meet an array of locals who help or hinder them in this quest. Drinkwater suffers a number of personal trials along the way but comes out a stronger person. For the reader who cannot get enough of the English speakers making a life as "strangers in a strange land" , this memoir and her other two books The Olive Farm and Olive Season can stand beside Peter Mayle's romp through Provence or Frances Mayes experiences Under the Tuscon Sun,
Profile Image for Fay.
419 reviews
September 17, 2017
I am a big fan of Carol Drinkwater both for her acting and writing. I enjoy both her fiction and nonfiction. The Olive Season only added to my admiration. I was so drawn in to several of the central events in this book. She had a personal tragedy to deal and really drew the reader into her emotional as well as physical response. As the title implies, all this was happening during the olive season, which is long and demanding, to say the least. Living in the countryside of France has a pace to be admired at times, but the seemingly casualness of the pace makes it hard when your farm needs some immediate work; indeed, it makes the running of an olive farm increasingly difficult at times. Carol's descriptions of these experiences are detailed and in some cases, charming. She makes life on a French farm appealing despite the roaming wild boars coming for a visit or the hail storm that is not kind to your harvest or the hungry birds stopping by ... and those are just challenges Mother Nature offers. As she tells us, the first squeezing of the olives makes it all worth it. She also left me anxious to read the third book in this series and hoping that she continues to write for a long time to come.

Profile Image for Janet.
129 reviews5 followers
July 8, 2018
I love to travel and learn about other cultures and history. And I love food. This book provides both but with the personal touch. Drinkwater and her partner Michel discover the allure of a Provencal olive farm in Southern France and begin dreaming of a precious AOC rating. All however, is not what it seems when working to produce the finest olive oil and claim the coveted award. Drinkwater and Michel must endure endless paperwork on all government levels, which drain them financially and emotionally. To add to their insanity, they find they must plant an additional 200 olive trees; provide additional water and care for a water diviner; find a beekeeper; and then with explosive emotional turmoil, find themselves expecting a baby. Read how this couple survives the endless nightmare they call their dream regardless of the insouciant local challenges. Enjoy this and other books Drinkwater has written about her experiences in Southern France.
Profile Image for Molly.
1,468 reviews9 followers
January 8, 2008
This picks up where Olive Farm left off. Carol and Michel eventually marry...and that is one of the most entertaining vignettes of the book! Appasionata continues to thrive, albeit up against hard odds. But somewhere towards the end, Carol suffers a miscarriage...from there on out the writing changes. And, indeed, she does mention that writing about her daughter helped her to heal. In many respects it appears that this is a book more for Carol than for her readers. I will definitely be requesting the next book in the series, The Olive Harvest.
This entire review has been hidden because of spoilers.
220 reviews4 followers
February 2, 2016
This book was so much more than expected! I thought it'd be another "I moved to Provence, married a Frenchman, now we're growing olives..." tra la, tra la book. There were bits and pieces of that, but there were also bits of Provence history, agricultural nuggets and - most vividly - quite a lot of Ms. Drinkwater working through some serious issues in her life. Well done; both the life and the book.
31 reviews3 followers
March 13, 2016
For me, this is a page-turner, yet a book to savor. Miss Drinkwater uses language beautifully, and frequently sends me to the dictionary. Her intelligent, moving account of a year in the life of an olive farm and its people is rich in detail. I especially appreciated her description of a solar eclipse, and marked it to read again come August 21, 2017 when the area where I live will be in the optimal viewing area for a solar eclipse.
Profile Image for V.F. Gutierrez.
Author 6 books18 followers
April 26, 2019
A touching memoir

Sentimental, touching, funny, tragic, aspirational, educational. Just a few of the words of the feelings that your mind will experience while reading this book. Another gem .
Profile Image for Liz.
535 reviews
July 20, 2017
A lovely and poignant memoir about living on an olive farm in Provence. It seems like an idyllic life but also a lot of hard work.
Profile Image for Alexandra.
775 reviews91 followers
September 26, 2019
It's fair to say that I take what previously I would have called a guilty pleasure in reading books about foreigners who go to France (or Spain) and rehabilitate dilapidated farms. It's a guilty pleasure because of course there's a level of exoticising what for the people these foreigners encounter is just their daily life, and a degree of Othering that I'm uncomfortable with. However, I'm not calling such things guilty pleasures anymore. Problematic, perhaps. It is a pleasure; I'll not call it guilty anymore. If I keep the problematic nature in mind, and remind myself that these are deliberately romanticised narratives, then I think I'm doing ok.
The Olive Season is the second in a series. I've not read the first; I found this in a second hand shop, and while I considered buying the first I decided it didn't matter. All I need to know is that Carol fell in love with Michel and they bought a near-derelict farm with a few olive trees. Right, got it.
Basically if you've read one of the Tuscany books you have a sense for what happens here. Water issues! Planting problems! Madcap guests! However things do get awfully real, too, as Carol experiences some very real and significant tragedy. Her honesty in the way she discusses these in the book is bracing, and a bit heart breaking, and could probably be a bit much for those who have experienced similar things. And it's appropriate too, since this is a memoir, not a story of a farm. As someone on the outside of such things I respected the way Carol worked through some of the problems in her writing, and the way she also integrated her discussion of the farm, and what it means to her, and how physically working helped her headspace.
Look, the book is set in Provence, and written by someone who loves the place. Of course it makes it sound like it's a marvelous place to be. There's no denying the hard work that's involved in the olive farm, and Carol doesn't try to downplay it, but nonetheless... she can't, and the reader can't, get away from the fact that: this is Provence, and that will always have certain overtones for the non-Provençal.
I enjoyed this book a lot as a holiday read. I won't go out of my way to find the other books, but if I find them by serendipity I'll happily grab them.
4 reviews
February 10, 2021
Mooi boek! Interessant en leuk voor de afwisseling om over het leven van een vrouw in Frankrijk met een olijfgaard te lezen. Je wordt echt meegenomen naar de prachtige omgeving van haar boerderij in Frankrijk. Erg mooi geschreven.

In het boek volg je het leven van Carol zelf, die het een en ander meemaakt. Het is niet spannend, dus als je een boek waar veel spanning in zit wilt lezen is dit geen aanrader. Als je gewoon een licht boek wilt lezen die niet al te veel inspanning vergt, is dit een aanrader.

Af en toe emotionele gebeurtenissen, maar ook veel luchtigheid en de boodschap dat je moet genieten van het leven. :)
Profile Image for Mike Sumner.
521 reviews22 followers
December 4, 2021
The second in the bestselling Olive Farm series. Another spellbinding memoir that sees Carol and Michel working hard to bring their beautiful Provençal farm back to life with the help of their ever-loyal Arab gardener, a fount of all knowledge with it comes to olive culture. Events occur that cast a dark shadow, which Carol struggles to cope with - the miscarriage of their daughter and the news that she cannot carry full term. Her writing is compelling, revealing very intimate moments in her and Michel's lives. Heartwarming and heartbreaking in turn and well worth a read.
206 reviews1 follower
November 9, 2022
Loved this!

I have enjoyed every sentence, paragraph and chapter of this wonderful series so far. It includes many characters who are of different nationalities, faiths and also attitudes! Such a mix of interesting people make reading this such a pleasure! Carol and her husband not only have such intense love for each other, but for all that surrounds them, be it people, animals, their crumbling house and last but not least, their olive trees! Such passion is amazing and I can't wait to start the next book....read and enjoy!
Profile Image for Penny Harper.
85 reviews
June 1, 2020
I picked this up in a charity shop and read it cover to cover in one day, while sitting outside sunbathing (got a bit burnt I was so enthralled!). Very well written, and the characters and story draw you in. You do end up craving a glass of chilled rose wine and some tasty vegetables and goat's cheese though! I have probably read the first one yonks ago but would like to re-read it now. Currently reading the third in the trilogy.
193 reviews2 followers
February 18, 2023
I love this series… stories of people and places much different than mine. I want to live in the south of France and own olive trees and swim in November and eat veg from my garden and enjoy the season as they pass. The FOMO of a snowy day on a rock in the North Atlantic.

Life takes time.

I own this.
153 reviews
August 10, 2022
Beautifully narrated by Carol. Carol and her partner has purchased an abandoned olive farm in Provence. This is the Olive Season and Carol tells the story of working the farm, mainly alone. There are some dramatic events in the story which I cannot write without spoiling the book.
Profile Image for Lauren.
127 reviews
February 26, 2019
Beautiful book as she describes the land and the farm. A little slow but overall a good read.
Displaying 1 - 30 of 79 reviews

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