Reviews of my favorite books written by expatriates, journalists, and diplomats on what it's really like to live abroad

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Book Review: The Olive Farm by Carol Drinkwater

I do not want to be a TV star. The thought of it appalls me. Having to learn all those lines; to appear perfectly groomed and glamorous in public; to live on locations far from home and my garden; to constantly seek my next gig and the one after that....

But, oh, you know I would make the sacrifice. I would. If it meant I could have Carol Drinkwater's villa and olive farm in the hills of Southern France above Cannes.

The way she tells the story, you can't hate her. You can't be nasty and jealous. Because, although she is famous and beautiful, as well as appearing in one of my favorite BBC series ever (Jame's Herriot's All Creatures Great & Small), Carol is so sweet and warm. The sort of a person you'd want as a girlfriend, or failing that, a favorite Aunt.

Plus, life was not easy. She and her husband only just scraped together the funds to buy the old half-ruined farm, and then they both worked like crazy for years to pay a looming mortgage, fix the generously leaking roof, fend off destructive wild boars, and somehow fill the ancient pool. This may be a dream home, but it's a home that's hard won and all the more beloved for it.

If you have fantasies about olive trees, paths of lavender, a distant view of the sea, and plenty of friends laughing around an outdoor lunch in the Mediterranean sun while dogs pant at their feet, this is your book. May you enjoy it as much as I have. Maybe even more.

You'll adore this book if you:
- yearn to renovate an old stone villa.
- love to garden (or at least fantasize about gardening.)
- want a behind-the-scenes look at how TV mini-series are actually scripted and produced.
- dream of the sunny south of France (even if you can't afford it.)

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