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Carol Drinkwater was our Guest Editor in May 2011 - click here - to see the books that inspired her writing.
Carol Drinkwater is a multi-award-winning actress who is best known for her portrayal of Helen Herriot in the BBC television series All Creatures Great and Small. She is also the author of over twenty books, both fiction and non-fiction. Her quartet of memoirs set on her olive farm in the south of France have sold over a million copies worldwide and her solo journey round the Mediterranean in search of the Olive tree's mythical secrets inspired a five-part documentary film series, The Olive Route. Carol lives in the south of France where she is writing her next novel.
Author Photo © Michel Noll
A striking and compelling family drama where the past takes a ferocious bite into the present. The House on the Edge of the Cliff explores relationships, how they can alter, move with fluidity, ever-changing almost without realisation. The house in question sits on the edge of a cliff in France, a character in its own right, a sanctuary, utterly bewitching, and yet full of history, of memories. When Grace was 16 an event occurred which has affected and remained with her ever since, when the past suddenly rears its head, danger beckons. We first meet Grace in the present and within the first few pages, I became as hooked as a hooked thing can be. Heightened, in fact, frantic emotions dance across the page and left me feeling breathless. Time then begins a slide backwards, explaining just enough, setting more questions and encouraging more thoughts to flow. Carol Drinkwater writes with captivating eloquence, I find her books so wonderfully readable, I just slip down into the welcoming pages and enjoy. Full of secrets, tense moments, gorgeous descriptions, and emotional interplay, The House on the Edge of the Cliff is a truly beautiful read and one of my picks of the month.
One of Our Books of the Year 2017 | July 2017 eBook of the Month. A mesmerising, haunting, and extraordinarily relevant yet beautifully evocative read. Kurtiz arrives in Paris after a sighting of her missing daughter, as the tale begins to unfurl, humanity at its very best and worst is revealed in several time frames. There is a slight departure in tone from previous novels, however the deep emotion and captivating writing is still reassuringly in evidence for existing fans. Carol Drinkwater explores thoughts and feelings during and after war, and immediately after an act of terrorism, her empathy shines a light on the darkness of the story. The movement in time allows more information to slot into place and the relationships between the characters began to connect like lightening strikes in my mind. ‘The Lost Girl’ is a story about relationships, family, and love during heartbreak, doubt and apprehension, yet rather than oppressive, I found an entirely captivating and beautiful read awaited. ~ Liz Robinson
Seductively beautiful and evocative writing ensures ‘The Forgotten Summer’ is hard to put down. A vineyard in France holds the key to secrets and lies that have been hidden in history. 48 year old Jane finds herself torn, she is desperate for the truth, yet afraid of what she might discover as she explores the mystery surrounding her husband’s family. There were times when the vivid descriptions of the vineyard almost planted me in the fertile soil, allowing an emotional connection with the surroundings. The story seeps under your skin, there is a gentleness to the writing, interspersed with occasionally intense, slicing moments. As you read, you may have your suspicions, in fact Carol Drinkwater encourages your thoughts to explore further afield, helping you to empathise with Jane. Set aside some quality reading time as this is a lovely and entirely captivating, richly bittersweet tale. ~ Liz Robinson
March 2016 eBook of the Month. Seductively beautiful and evocative writing ensures ‘The Forgotten Summer’ is hard to put down. A vineyard in France holds the key to secrets and lies that have been hidden in history. 48 year old Jane finds herself torn, she is desperate for the truth, yet afraid of what she might discover as she explores the mystery surrounding her husband’s family. There were times when the vivid descriptions of the vineyard almost planted me in the fertile soil, allowing an emotional connection with the surroundings. The story seeps under your skin, there is a gentleness to the writing, interspersed with occasionally intense, slicing moments. As you read, you may have your suspicions, in fact Carol Drinkwater encourages your thoughts to explore further afield, helping you to empathise with Jane. Set aside some quality reading time as this is a lovely and entirely captivating, richly bittersweet tale. ~ Liz Robinson
After a devastating car accident, Carole escapes from an oppressive marriage in England to begin again in rural France. Yet she is haunted by the knowledge that Paul, her husband, has tracked her down before and will do his best to do it again… Afraid to share her fears with her new neighbours, Carole nonetheless finds herself drawn to a local farmer, who helps her start to create a new and independent life. But then she learns that Paul is on her trail and closing fast… A Simple Act of Kindness is a story of obsessive love and the damage it can do. A powerful tale from the bestselling author of The Olive Farm and The Girl in Room Fourteen.
Genevieve Bowles is an award-winning songwriter who visits the south of France to attend the Cannes film festival. The day after the renowned festival's closing ceremony, Genevieve is invited to visit the newly-refurbished Hotel Paradise. Genevieve knows the hotel well – in fact, her past life there has haunted her for over a decade... Twelve years earlier, two travellers have met in Paris. Genevieve dreams of becoming a famous songwriter, while Paul is determined to be a professional photographer. Full of optimism, they hitch south to the Riviera where they answer an advertisement for live-in help at the Hotel Paradise, located on an island just off the French coast. There the young couple are seduced by the tranquility and magical beauty of the hotel and its setting. But the island has a darker side, with a history of bloodshed that fills Genevieve with foreboding. When a stranger arrives who threatens her future with Paul, Genevieve senses that events are about to spin out of control …
Striking, raven-haired Cecile produces the finest lemons on the Riviera. Her ice creams, pies, lemonades, sold on her stall at the internationally famous Cannes market, are as renowned as the Mediterranean city itself. Tourists travel from everywhere to meet her.But Cecile is a woman who no one draws close to, a woman with a secret.Cecile, when she was nineteen and a shy student, travelled south to a lemon festival on the borders of Italy and France. She was intending to let her hair down, to enjoy two crazy weeks of fun. She was not anticipating the enigmatic Italian who offered her a future beyond her wildest dreams. But at what cost?The Girl in Room Fourteen is a heartrending love story set on the warm shores of the Mediterranean.
A beautiful tale of a new life in France; an account of the highs and lows of restoring an olive farm, and the colourful characters met with in a typical Provencal village. It'll make you want to sell up and escape the UK for a sun-drenched life on the continent. The Olive Farm series: 1. The Olive Farm2. The Olive Season3. The Olive Harvest4. The Olive Route5. The Olive Tree6. Return to the Olive Farm
This is the third of Carol’s books documenting her idyllic life in the South of France but despite the title speaking of plenty and abundance, there was no harvest, no husband and no easy life. I admire this woman; with stoic determination and a certain acceptance of life, she soldiers on and writes about it honestly and warmly. A lovely book. The Olive Farm series: 1. The Olive Farm2. The Olive Season3. The Olive Harvest4. The Olive Route5. The Olive Tree6. Return to the Olive Farm
I found this the most absorbing of Carol Drinkwater’s reports from her Provence Olive Farm, a sink or swim account of attempting to free the farm and its inhabitants from the dangerous chemicals needed to bring an Olive crop to fruition, the culprit - the olive fly who can devastate unprotected crops. It is the bees that point the way to the dangers, dying in their thousands, they lead the author on a quest to determine her future, stay or go, fight or give in. An absorbing read that reveals the state of organics in France, the stifling bureaucracy that growers have to deal with and behind the political rhetoric how little help to struggling organic growers is available. The Olive Farm series: 1. The Olive Farm2. The Olive Season3. The Olive Harvest4. The Olive Route5. The Olive Tree6. Return to the Olive Farm Like for Like Reading:Je T’Aime à La Folie, Michael WrightInstructions for Visitors: Life & Love in a French Town, Helen Stevenson
It's 1909. Dollie is swept up in the thrill of the campaign for Votes for Women. Against her guardian's wishes, she marches against Parliament with Emmeline Pankhurst and her fellow suffragettes. But as the movement turns violent, women are imprisoned and endangered their lives with hunger strikes.
July 2010 Editor's Choice. Continuing the story of Carol Drinkwater’s beloved Olive Farm. After returning from 18 months travelling around the Mediterranean Carol discovers that her dream of running an organic farm is threatened by nature and by the demands of market forces. Here she tells of the ups and downs her, seemingly idyllic, life throws her way. Always a joy to read and despite the challenges she still makes you want to run off and find your own ramshackle farm to turn around. Dear Reader,I have been fortunate enough to have published all five of Carol Drinkwater’s memoirs of life on her beloved Provencal olive farm, Appassionata. Often categorised as travel books, they are in fact more like ‘settlement’ books, describing in vibrant prose the love – even the intoxication – you can feel for a particular place. The five titles form a spellbinding series of memoirs, but in this the sixth and final volume, Carol has exceed her own stellar standards.In Return to the Olive Farm, Carol Drinkwater returns with a changed perspective about the cultivation of olives as a consequence of her travels. The responsibilities (and headaches) of property ownership have been waiting for her. What story about France is complete without a baffling and frustrating encounter with the roles and regulations of French bureaucracy, complicated by the additional imposition of rules and regulations required by the European Union? The use of asbestos as insulation, and the couple's inability to overcome obstructions and cleanse the property of a small amount of the material, is at the heart of this story about the poisons we use and are unable to dispense with.This book is more than the story of making a home; it describes the search for solutions. Just as cultivating her olives made Carol a farmer and gave her a new relationship to a small place on earth, her travels to Spain and Lebanon have made her an ecologist, aware of the preciousness of natural resources. The bee colony that has regularly summered at Appassionata has been decimated while she was away. Shocked, she discovers that insecticide sprayed on the olive trees has poisoned the bees and devastated both the health of François, one of the beekeepers, and his livelihood. Can she spray her trees against the destructive olive fly knowing that the chemical is also killing the bees?Uneasiness runs through this last book in the series in which there is the shadow of death in paradise – if the lives of bees and trees can be numbered. The insecticide pooling in the outbuilding near the sprayer gives her pause. Three of her neighbours have died from the same heart problem. You are left to wonder if these deaths are from a kind of poisoning. Carol's desire to avoid spraying leads her into a deal with a young farmer who claims he can bring a parasitical African fly to her that preys upon the olive fly. Tests on the safety of the use of these flies and their effectiveness are now in trials by the government. The question that underlies this all is "Under such circumstances can Appassionata still be home"?Carol and her husband Michel, though frequently disappointed by setbacks, can hardly be called defeated. They have embarked with resolve on a new experiment on their farm, and Carol truly seems to have returned home as the story ends. She is no less in love and may be more settled than in any time in the past. This is a life-affirming story, one in which Carol takes stock of her life and the turns it has taken, and the reader roots for her all the way.Yours faithfully,Alan SamsonPublisherWeidenfeld & Nicolson
This is an unabridged audiobook title. Continuing the story of Carol Drinkwater’s beloved Olive Farm. After returning from 18 months travelling around the Mediterranean Carol discovers that her dream of running an organic farm is threatened by nature and by the demands of market forces. Here she tells of the ups and downs her, seemingly idyllic, life throws her way. Always a joy to read and despite the challenges she still makes you want to run off and find your own ramshackle farm to turn around. This is an Unabridged audiobook title, which includes every word that you would otherwise find in the printed edition. Don’t forget, if the story was meant to be shorter the author would have written less! Click here to take a peek at our selection of Unabridged audiobooks.
The diary of Flora Bonnington, London 1899-1900: 'A day slips away like sand in a sand glass and so we are caught up in this inevitable passage towards 1900. I bought a journal... it will record my journey into the new century. I shall call it 'Twentieth Century Girl' for that is what I intend to be'.
If you have followed Carol through her trials and tribulations of running her olive farm then this is a must. Newcomers will find her enthusiasm for her subject irresistible. Now she knows that new approaches to farming are needed and so she travels through France, Spain, Italy and North Africa to seek the best solutions. The Olive Farm series: 1. The Olive Farm2. The Olive Season3. The Olive Harvest4. The Olive Route5. The Olive Tree6. Return to the Olive Farm
It's 1845 and blight has destroyed the precious potato crop leaving Ireland starving. Phyllis works hard to support her struggling family, but when her mother's health deteriorates she sets off in search of her rebel brother and is soon swept up in the fight for a free and fair Ireland...
Fourth volume in the bestselling olive series by writer and actress Carol Drinkwater. Transporting readers across the olive's ancient paths, celebrating its venerable past, tracking trade routes, unearthing unlikely stories, encountering peoples of today and bygone times, Carol comes full circle, back to her farm in the sun-baked Provencal hills. The Olive Farm series: 1. The Olive Farm2. The Olive Season3. The Olive Harvest4. The Olive Route5. The Olive Tree6. Return to the Olive Farm
Moving on from The Olive Farm, The Olive Season sees Carol and Michel taking on an entirely new challenge: pregnancy. As ever, nothing goes entirely to plan and Carol writes wonderfully of her struggles and triumphs on her cherished olive farm. The Olive Farm series: 1. The Olive Farm2. The Olive Season3. The Olive Harvest4. The Olive Route5. The Olive Tree6. Return to the Olive Farm
Young women talk about what led them to cross the line, and how they both coped with, and learned from, their experiences. The collection also includes young women who have had friends or family in jail, and what it has meant for them.