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The Olive Season

(Olive series #2)

3.93  ·  Rating details ·  996 ratings  ·  66 reviews
Carol is pregnant and their ever-loyal gardener is leaving to oversee the marriage of his son. Often unassisted, Carol takes on the bulk of the farm work alone. But, as the harvest season approaches, dramatic events cast dark shadows over their olive farm.
Paperback, 337 pages
Published May 3rd 2006 by Orion (first published January 1st 2003)
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Average rating 3.93  · 
Rating details
 ·  996 ratings  ·  66 reviews

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Cathrine ☯️
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 f
May 20, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Recommended to nimrodiel by: oi-reader
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
Juliann Wetz
Aug 17, 2012 rated it liked it
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'
Aug 21, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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 newcomer ...more
Diane Will
Nov 10, 2012 rated it it was amazing
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 re
Oct 01, 2011 rated it liked it
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.
Nov 18, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: gardening
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. ...more
Apr 01, 2007 rated it it was amazing
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.
Lyn Barton
Aug 03, 2014 rated it did not like it
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. ...more
Jan 11, 2017 rated it it was amazing
These books invoke the south of France perfectly for me. Drinkwater's world is real and poignant. ...more
Shelley Quezada
Apr 04, 2012 rated it it was ok

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 famou
Sep 16, 2017 rated it really liked it
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 ...more
Jul 08, 2018 rated it really liked it
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 emotio ...more
Jan 08, 2008 rated it really liked it
Shelves: adult-nonfiction
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Feb 01, 2016 rated it really liked it
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. ...more
Hilda Hansen
Mar 12, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 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.
V.F. Gutierrez
Apr 26, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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 .
Jul 20, 2017 rated it liked it
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.
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 ...more
Mar 29, 2021 rated it really liked it
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 entertai
Penny Harper
Jun 01, 2020 rated it really liked it
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. ...more
Feb 26, 2019 rated it really liked it
Beautiful book as she describes the land and the farm. A little slow but overall a good read.
Sue Brown
May 09, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Another excellent read, following on from The Olive Farm.
Sep 16, 2011 rated it it was ok
Shelves: nature-travel, memoir
I was actually interested in finding, in this book, a date for the olive harvest. I did find it (far toward the very end!) but mainly the book was a tour-de-force regarding the author's professional life as an actress in England, and the story of her and her husband's miscarried child. While that of itself makes for poignant and sad reading, I thought the author does well when writing about places. She would do well as a travel writer! Some of the characters she takes on to caretake her farm are ...more
May 13, 2013 rated it liked it
This book took a while to read, but it was like a slow journey along the life of owning a piece of property and trying to reshape it to fit a dream. Carol goes through a miscarriage in the writing of this book and she is very open about the experience and the pain the came from that. She begins to find healing through the working of the olive grove, and she and Michel end up purchasing another 200 trees to achieve certification of their olive oil. I loved reading about the pressing and the storm ...more
Deb (Readerbuzz) Nance
Maybe because my expectations were not high, but I found The Olive Season as engaging as its predecessor. In The Olive Season, Carol Drinkwater continues the story of her development of an old olive tree farm in the south of France. Drinkwater marries and soon becomes pregnant. Her pregnancy is difficult, however, and much of the book consists of her worries about pregnancy and writing and her olive farm.
Rebecca Ocauleigh
A birds eye view into one woman's life as an olive farmer, mother, naturalist and the struggles of obtaining the AOC designation in France for their olive farm (see Encore Provence, page 177 - Discovering Oils) - this read makes me want to leave my day job at a technology company and farm the earth and feel the dirt under my fingers. For now I will happpily enjoy my Louis Jadot Beaujolais-Villages 1999 and dream. ...more
I really enjoyed this second book in the Olive Farm series and maybe slightly more than the first one. I do enjoy the way she writes and I'm looking forward to reading the last one in the trilogy. The writing really does transport me to her corner of Provence and the Olive Farm and I feel a little sad leaving them behind. I really enjoyed catching up with the various friends and neighbours that she includes and describes so well in these books. Great reading for these wild winter days. ...more
Marie-Louise Fitzpatrick
Apr 22, 2012 rated it really liked it
Enjoyed this series a lot - real time-out reading. She's great at making you feel the sunshine on your skin and the dusty earth in your sandals. Be prepared to spend a few days salivating for good bread and cheese, wine and honey! There are moments in this one and book three when tragedy shakes the idyll and Drinkwater's not afraid of laying that out on the table amongst all the loveliness of Provence. ...more
Diane C.
Nov 05, 2012 rated it really liked it
What I love best about this book and The Olive Farm is finding out what it's really like to live in the south of France, in a rural area we all dream of. Carol Drinkwater frankly talks about the challenges of all types that she and her husband Michel face, the local characters, everyone's strengths and weaknesses.

Would recommend this and the first book to anyone who can't get to the south of France yet (or possibly ever), it's the next best thing to being there.
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Carol Drinkwater is an Anglo-Irish actress, author and filmmaker.

Other books in the series

Olive series (7 books)
  • The Olive Farm: A Memoir of Life, Love, and Olive Oil in the South of France
  • The Olive Harvest: A Memory of Love, Old Trees and Olive Oil
  • The Olive Route: A Personal Journey to the Heart of the Mediterranean
  • The Olive Tree
  • Return to the Olive Farm
  • The Illustrated Olive Farm: A Newly Written, Illustrated Companion to Her Bestselling Trilogy

News & Interviews

When it comes to the romance genre, second books can be a bit like second dates, can't they? You've had that great initial meet-cute with...
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“Ik leer, langzaam en niet zonder pijn in mijn hart, het leven te nemen zoals het is, het eerbiedig te aanvaarden, er een feest van te maken, het te koesteren, uit te zaaien en ermee te werken zo lang me de tijd gegund is. Maar in het verloop van de tijd zal er steeds weer nieuwe schade ontstaan die hersteld moet worden, nieuwe wegen en omwegen die bewandeld moeten worden op de roetsjbaan van ons leven en ons gekwetste hart.

Zo is het, zo ziet het patroon van mijn leven eruit. Er komt geen diepe filosofie aan te pas en het is ook geen geheim. Het is heel gewoon de weg die je vol vreugde inslaat als je op een kruispunt in je leven staat. Maar in de stofwolken die ik zelf had opgeworpen, heeft het me wel veel tijd gekost om die weg te vinden. Maar goed, zoals Christophe van de perserij al zo kort en bondig opmerkte: 'Het leven kost tijd'.”
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