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The Almond Blossom Appreciation Society

(Driving Over Lemons Trilogy #3)

3.98  ·  Rating details ·  1,384 ratings  ·  70 reviews
Life on his farm in Las Alpujarras continues, as Chris's daughter teaches him about the needs of a teenager in Spain. Meanwhile, his own exploits include being rescued by the Guardia Civil, and his founding of the eponymous club.
Paperback, 256 pages
Published June 1st 2006 by Sort of Books (first published May 26th 2006)
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Average rating 3.98  · 
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 ·  1,384 ratings  ·  70 reviews

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Jul 22, 2014 rated it liked it
Shelves: travel-spain
A perfectly pleasant read, especially sitting by a pool on a hot day. But didn't think it was anywhere near as good as the first two in the series.
This had a definite feel of 'leftovers' as if Stewart was digging back into his memory to recount 'amusing' incidences that he hadn't bothered to put in the first two books. One or two amusing chapters, but quite a few dull ones too. I felt a bit disappointed - but at least it was a quick read.
I didn't like this quite as well as his first book, Driving Over Lemons, which tells of his arrival in Spain and purchase and rehabilitation of a farm in Andalucia, but it's still a fun book to read. It's just that this is more a series of loosely related chapters instead of a narrative of a particular time in his life. Still, there are a lot of entertaining stories here, like the time he went to Morocco to harvest seeds of a particular plant to sell to a business in Britain, and the time he ...more
Jun 23, 2018 rated it really liked it
More of the same from Chris Stewart. If you liked Lemons, you'll like this. Self effacing, gentle and thoroughly enjoyable anecdotes from someone who by this stage is now more author than farmer. He's fine with that, and we're fine with that. So now he can enjoy being an author and guiding an unexpectedly posh group of Americans in Granada on an art tour... But the success of Lemons doesn't go to his head - he genuinely seems to love his lifestyle so the majority of the book is at El Valero. ...more
Brigid Gallagher
Mar 26, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I thoroughly enjoyed the third in Chris Stewart's series. The young Moroccan men in his "guests without papers" inspire him to volunteer at "Granada Welcomes," where he becomes a telephonist, and his quest to makes ends meet takes him to Morocco in search of Moroccan Broom or Cystus battandieri... where he will earn a princely sum.
I did not want these and other stories to end.
This book is a very enjoyable sequel to the previously read driving over lemons. I like the way that Chris tells tales of his life, I especially enjoyed The description of the almond blossom aroma.
Sandra Danby
Jan 09, 2015 rated it liked it
Shelves: spanish-culture
The thing I love about reading Chris Stewart’s books is that his portrayal of life in the Alpujarras rings so many bells with our life here. We do not shear sheep, and we are not ex-musicians, but his stories of interactions with his neighbours and daily challenges could happen here. Best in this book for me is the society of the title. The Spanish around here love to walk, early morning or evening in summer, mid-morning in winter, they walk along the country roads in groups or singly. An ...more
Mar 03, 2011 rated it liked it
The third part of the Chris Stewart triology of his life in Spain. Love his travel books on Spain - a lovely personal account of his life there.

Back Cover Blurb:
The Almond Blossom Appreciation Society finds Chris and his family still living on their farm, El Valero - but life there never stands still. You will find yourself laughing out loud as Chris is instructed by his daughter on local teenage mores; bluffs his way as an art history guide to millionaire Bostonians; is rescued off a snowy peak
Feb 24, 2008 rated it really liked it
Another lovely memoir by Chris Stewart, a sequel to Driving over Lemons and A Parrot in The Pepper Tree, The Almond Blossom Appreciation Society continues where the last book left off chronicling his life with his family in the Las Alpujarras region of Spain as a small (very small) farmer and sheep herder. These books are not earth-shattering or deep, but they are satisfying and enjoyable, and Stewart's writing is amusing, insightful, and warm.
Feb 03, 2009 rated it it was amazing
The final book in the series, this book leaves you wanting more from the author, in a good way. After the first two you really feel like you have been living this life along with the Author. At the end you feel like there is more to come, but also a feeling of completion at the same time.
Cheris Lifford
Jan 14, 2015 rated it really liked it
This autobiographical trilogy was a nice way to learn more about the Andalusian culture from an English perspective.
Becky Turpin
Sep 03, 2018 rated it liked it
Having read parts 1 and 2 of this lemons trilogy some years ago I thought it was time I read the final part. I'm not sure whether the time between affected my opinion but I did not enjoy this nearly as much. In hindsight reading them closer together would have been better because the background story would have been fresh in my mind, and having established a character for both Chris and indeed his family/neighbours and the place itself I would not have needed to reacquaint myself with them. I ...more
Jul 22, 2018 rated it it was amazing
The third in Chris Stewart's series about relocating to the Alpujarras in Andalucia, the overall mood is light but with a fair amount of serious issues dealt with as well. And Chris Stewart really relocated, to become a sheep farmer in one of the most impoverished areas of Spain. He became fluent in Spanish and he, his wife and daughter are to all intents and purposes Spanish, especially Chloë, the daughter, who was born and raised there. Having a house in Andalucia myself, though further north, ...more
Mar 20, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I may have read this book many years ago but in the intervening period I have visited Spain many time including one holiday to Olvera where the Chris Stewart lives. So, on a second reading I had a far better understanding of where the author is coming from what his motivations are. This is a funny, interesting and enjoyable book, it doesn’t matter if you have never been to Spain, it is still well worth reading. I do find myself wondering how they will get on in their remote cortijo as the move ...more
Julie Stock
Apr 16, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I read this final part of the trilogy in Valencia, which seemed a fitting place to be reading about Chris and his family's adventures. I have loved all of these books so much and it was great to know that life in Orgiva carries on in much the same vein. I can thoroughly recommend these books to anyone - you will feel so heartened about life after finishing this final instalment. This has been such a joy to read.
Jun 08, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Loved this book as much as the previous two. As a farmer in Somerset and growing up in the sixties when farming was just like Chris explains (only wetter and colder) I love the way the book is full of little snippets about life in rural spain with fun and historically interesting facts but in this book he experiences life in Morocco. Great read. Thanks Chris, maybe I'll get to pootle down your way one day.
Samantha O'Leary
I read the first of these memoirs years ago and really enjoyed it, so was delighted to discover the third tucked into the well-stocked bookshelf of our holiday rental cottage set right in the mountains that Stewart writes about. The immediacy adds extra charm, but I'd recommend his writing no matter where you are!
Alyson Walton
Jul 11, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Lovely, easily read book. Maybe I should've started with the first in the series but I intended to read these too.
No great plot twists or storylines but that isn't what a book like this about. You match the pace of the Spanish setting and just enjoy.
Adrian Chapman
Aug 28, 2018 rated it really liked it
It's always hard following two very successful books, but Chris has worked hard to keep the momentum up and make this another enjoyable read, perhaps a bit more serious than the first two in parts, but still a good read that keeps you entertained.
Deborah Hinds-Wood
A Spanish Adventure

I have lived in Spain for 17 years and read the other books. Chris and his family had a much harder time but there are parallels. We too live in the country in the mountains and we don’t see ourselves ever moving from here. Great fun and an excellent read
Luke Beretta
Dec 04, 2019 rated it liked it
Good escapism, a little hard to finish though.
Mar 03, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fic-a-list
Like the walking bit and seeding picking in Morocco bit.
Claire Wood
Aug 18, 2017 rated it really liked it
Reading this while in Andalucia is just wonderful- an easy, entertaining read.
Oct 26, 2018 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: abandoned, e-book
Abandoned 20% through. Somehow not as interesting as the first two books in the series. Maybe it gets better later though, so still worth considering, especially if you've already started the series.
Feb 23, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: travel, memoir
This is the second Chris Stewart memoir I've read. I have purchased two more from used bookstores. They don't seem to be all that popular but I have found them to be such good reads! Some of the blurbs inside the front cover use words like "endearing, enchanting, self-deprecating, funny, affectionate" and this book like the first one, Driving over Lemons, was all of those terms. How can a writer make me interested in gathering seeds or skiing down slopes or picnicing with friends or teaching his ...more
Jul 02, 2016 rated it liked it
I had to read this book which is number three in the series Stewart has been writing about the Las Alpujarras areas of Spain. He lives in the mountains south of Granada where my daughter and family are going to live next year. She found these books and we have been devouring them because they are so enjoyable to read and give us a feeling for that part of Spain.

Stewart is a good writer and paints a clear picture about his life on the farm where he lives with his wife and daughter. The first
Sep 22, 2010 rated it liked it
When Chris [an ex-member of Genesis, I think] arrived in the Alpujarras, fifteen years ago, he could never have imagined the locals would invite him to join an Almond Blossom Appreciation Society, or that his daughter Chloe would be teaching him about teenage Spanish social life; nor that he would be spending time shepherding Bostonian art trustees around Seville, or working in an immigrants' advice centre in Granada, spurred into action by the arrival of four young Moroccan `boat people' at El ...more
Anthony Lewis
Jan 18, 2016 rated it really liked it
3.5 out of 5
Again an enjoyable read from Chris Stewart. This is his third book about his life on his farm El Valero in Las Alpujarras and his writing remains an easy and very enjoyable read. The anecdotes are engaging and often humorous and always written with warmth and generous enthusiasm for the telling of the tale.
I enjoyed the book a lot, however it lacks some of the freshness that made the first two instalments such a joy and pleasure to read. This book does not quite meet those heights
David Grieve
Jun 19, 2016 rated it it was ok
More of the same but not as good. Feels like he is now dredging up stories that weren't interesting enough to get into the excellent first two books. Shame really as I really enjoyed Driving Over Lemons and the follow up was almost as good. It may be me but the stories seem to be getting more cloying and saccharine as well. I got two thirds of the way through and then had had enough. Having said all that, some amusing passages but not enough to sustain the narrative.
Rob Innis
Jan 01, 2015 rated it really liked it
Read his earlier books a long time ago and recently came across a copy of this, (his 3rd) and thoroughly enjoyed reading this delightful book on simple country life in Andalucia mountains, Spain. Entertaining and charming an easy enjoyable read for anyone interested in Spain and this style of life amongst the farmers and 'campo'.
Oct 15, 2007 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: followers of Chris Stewart's travel writing
This is even better than the first two and gives an even further insight into living in a foreign culture, battling with certain slang phrases that, when translated, mean absolutely nothing in English (and we thought our phrases were odd!). Well worth a read and looking forward to any future books by Chris Stewart.
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Christopher 'Chris' Stewart (born 1951), was the original drummer and a founding member of Genesis. He is now a farmer and an author. A classmate of Tony Banks and Peter Gabriel at Charterhouse School, Stewart joined them in a school band called The Garden Wall, and they later formed another band with schoolmates Mike Rutherford and Anthony Phillips, called Anon. This band eventually became ...more

Other books in the series

Driving Over Lemons Trilogy (4 books)
  • Driving Over Lemons: An Optimist in Andalucía
  • A Parrot in the Pepper Tree
  • Last Days of the Bus Club
“nothing like it. The temperature on the north side of the Sierra Nevada stayed” 0 likes
“like this for perhaps twenty-five years, and I hadn’t exactly been an ace back then. I found myself looking down a vast, broken plain of snow, steeply inclined. It seemed to go on down for ever until the slope itself was lost to view in a boiling sea of cloud impossibly far below. Now, I’m not a nervous person at all, but my legs and knees, which were already quivering from the muscular exertion of the climb, began at that point to quake, literally, with fear. Nearly everybody had already set off, and were little more than dots far below by the time I had steeled my courage sufficiently to launch myself down the slope. I reckoned no harm could come to me if I just kept it slow, but within seconds I” 0 likes
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