Tuesday, 8 September 2015
Review: The Olive Branch by Jo Thomas
You can buy almost anything online these days. For Ruthie Collins, it was an Italian farmhouse.
Yet as she battles with a territorial goat and torrential rain just to get through the door of her new Italian home, the words of Ed, her ex, are ringing in her ears. She is daft, impetuous and irresponsible.
But Ruthie is determined to turn things around and live the dream.
First, though, she must win over her fiery neighbour, Marco Bellanouvo, and his tempestuous family...and then there's the small matter of running an olive farm. As the seasons change and new roots are put down, olives and romance might just flourish in the warmth of the Mediterranean sun.
I loved Jo Thomas' first novel The Oyster Catcher so I was excited to read this! I have to admit that it took me a little longer to get into this one than her previous stories, I think I was missing the Celtic charm of her first novel, but it soon drew me in. The plot is pretty similar to The Oyster Catcher too, although I didn't actually notice this until the end so it's not conspicuous. A newly single girl moves on a whim to a tight-knit rural community in a foreign country packed with stereotypical locals for a fresh start. To make a living she has to farm, learning her craft from a grumpy but attractive neighbour that she grows to love. Predictable stuff, but I enjoyed it nonetheless - it's an easy read and I raced through it in a couple of days!
Jo Thomas novels read like rom-coms; they have exactly the right balance of drama, comedy and romance to keep you reading and leave you with a smile on your face. As always it's the animal characters that made the novel for me - Daphne the goat was just brilliant! I liked Ruthie, and although she has her cringey moments I was willing her not to give up. A fun read for the summer sunshine, or what's left of it anyway!
**Thanks to Bookbridgr for sending me a copy of this book in exchange for a review!**