This post was originally published at Novelicious.com and is now at WritingTipsOasis.com. WritingTipsOasis.com acquired Novelicious.com in June 2022.
Reviewed by Kerry McKay
Have you ever bought something on eBay on a whim? Perhaps a dress, a pair of shoes or … I don’t know … a dilapidated Italian farmhouse with a ravenous resident goat? That’s what Ruthie Collins does one night after a little too much Prosecco.
Ruthie has broken up with her long-term boyfriend Ed; they’ve sold their shared flat, she has given away her half of the furniture and she’s at a loss over what to do next. In her tipsy stupor, a move to bella Italy seems like the perfect plan, so she clicks ‘bid’ on a property she has never seen. After paracetamol and a few gallons of water the following morning, Ruthie worries that she has made a mistake. With the words of ever-practical Ed still ringing in her eyes – “daft”, “impetuous”, “irresponsible” – she sets off to find out.
Torrential downpour, a territorial goat and a tempestuous neighbour called Marco Bellanouvo await. To make matters worse, the farmhouse needs lots of work and there’s the small matter of learning how to run an olive farm. Can Ruthie turn her impulse buy into the Italian idyll, or will she be forced to return to England with her tail between her legs?
I fell in love with Jo’s debut novel, The Oyster Catcher, and couldn’t wait for the release of The Olive Branch. As expected, it offered glorious escapism (where better to disappear to on a cold winter night than an olive farm in Italy?), lots of funny bits and sizzling romance. The Olive Branch will have you reaching for the olives and saying ‘ciao bella’ as you scour the internet for your own Italian hideaway. Irresistibly charming.