Tuesday, February 16, 2021

The Olive Farm by Carol Drinkwater

I am revisiting a great book by Carol Drinkwater as I've started one of her other books in this series.  Expatriates-in-paradise genre – One of my favorites!

I have long been a fan of Irish actress Carol Drinkwater. She was my favorite Helen in the series All Creatures Great and Small, a series I very much enjoyed.  That’s where we got our son’s name, from the character Tristan Farnon.  She left that series in 1985.

When I read the books, after seeing some of the BBC television shows, it was her voice I heard when Helen was speaking.

When Carol wrote The Olive Farm  I was delighted to learn it would be a trilogy. Combining a favorite genre (expat-lit genre) with Drinkwater’s writing style makes for a winning combo. This is the first book in her bestselling trilogy, all of it set on her Provencal olive farm.

Carol met her husband Michel while they were involved in making a movie in Australia . He proposed to her on the first date and they married four years later.  Eventually they bought this gorgeous ruin of a villa built in 1904, located in Provence . The villa is named Appassionata – meaning passion – and very appropriate for Carol and Michel as they fall heels over ears in love with the place.

“I am in the south of France , gazing at the not-so-distant Mediterranean , falling in love with an abandoned olive farm,” Carol Drinkwater writes. “The property, once stylish and now little better than a ruin, is for sale with ten acres of land.”

After investing all the money she has they are able to move into their new home, devoid of electricity and water. French law is a different animal altogether from British and American laws as Carol learns while sifting through the endless paperwork and awaiting the many appointments to sign one or two papers. Finally, Appassionata is theirs!

Carol, Michel and his teen daughters Clarice and Vanessa arrive one extremely hot afternoon, with the promise of a swim in the pool. Alas….no water and the pool is a pit of sticks and branches. Carol struggles to make it a positive experience and tries to speak her limited French to the girls. The stepdaughters can speak English but make Carol work at communicating. Eventually they become a close knit family….. along with a number of stray dogs and good friends among the local citizenry.

The experiences she writes about were fascinating to me and she clearly has a better work ethic than I do. Restoring an old villa like that is hard work. HARD work! They uncovered ancient Roman looking steps and tiles. They found some of their olive trees were over 500 years old…..it’s an expat’s dream IF you don’t mind hard work – both physically and culturally.

Carol took language classes to improve her French, quickly becoming fluent. An engaging book about France , olive harvesting, conquering cultural barriers and love. Above alllove.

If you like the works of Peter Mayle and Frances Mayes I feel certain you would enjoy Carol’s musings about Appasionata and her love of southern France .

To learn more, check out the links below:

Carol Drinkwater
Home Hunts
It Shouldn’t Happen to an Olive Farmer!

FoodCaponata and Tahini Hummus on toasted baguette

The inspired dishes from this book include eggplants, caponata and tapenade. The little bites of appetizers you might enjoy sitting in the shade of Carol Drinkwater’s patio, the hot breeze licking your cheek as you sip an ice cold glass of white wine and nibble bruschetta.

Eggplants from the southern Mediterranean area would have a different taste from what I can lay hands on in Northern Florida but….still a wonderful treat.

An Irish woman starring in a BBC production landing in France.  Very International.

Linking up with Shelleyrae at Book'd Out for the Nonfiction challenge. Genre: Travel

I will be posting about Carol's other books verry soon.

Nonfiction Reader Challenge hosted by Shelleyrae at Book'd Out.  Check out the sign up post and info HERE.



  1. I've never seen the movie All Creatures Great And Small or read the series although the series has been on my tbr list for years. I love both book covers and the Hummus looks good!

    1. Vicki, it's a great series and I love the original show. I will see the new version as soon as our library gets it.

  2. I only have vague memories of the actress to be honest as it’s been years since I watched the original series, but this sounds delightful. Thanks for sharing your thoughts

    1. Shelleyrae, all of her books are good and I am loving reading about the development of their olive farm adventure.

  3. This sounds quite interesting. I never saw the series so do not know this actress, but she sounds like a very talented person.

    1. Carla, she is indeed talented. She write books and has many theatrical credits, probably best known as her character from that series though.

  4. "Expatriates-in-paradise" - love it! I'm also a fan of Peter Mayle and Frances Mayes, so this sounds perfect for me. Thanks for telling me about it.

    1. JoAnn, I am often jealous of people who just go for it and start over in another country.

  5. I happen to have chickpeas cooking in the crockpot to make hummus tonight!
    I own a couple of her books, but haven't read them. Not sure why. I do know that I felt huge frustration reading the Mayle book about French laws and workers. I don't think I could live there, but maybe it is different now.
    By the way, did you know there is a new All Creatures on PBS. I didn't think I would want to watch but I read an article that praised it highly so I gave it a chance, and honestly I love it even more than the original. It is a bit different so you don't constantly compare. And they've brought Mrs. Hall more into the forefront, and I thought it was done wonderfully. In fact, I'm not sure I've seen a better show!

    1. Nan, thank you forn the recommendation about the new show. Mr.s Hall was such an important character so I'm glad to hear she has a bigger role in the new series. I wonder, did they bring in Mrs. Pumphrey and Tricki Woo? :-)


Thank you for visiting. I appreciate your comments!

Normal People by Sally Rooney

  The beginning of the story unfolds in Carricklea, Sligo in western Ireland. Our main characters are Connell and Marianne and they are you...