The Olive Branch – Puglia – Jo Thomas

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Why a booktrail?

A tasty treat to be devoured with a spoonful of olive oil in a crumbly old farmhouse in Puglia. Careful what you buy on ebay…and watch out for goats…..

Story in an olive

It’s something most of us have done at some point – sat in front of a computer fuelled by alcohol. What most of us haven’t done however is to then go on Ebay and buy an Italian farmhouse.

Well Ruthie Collins does just that and before long she is thrown head first into a way of life, a raging family feud and the art of olive oil growing. Ruthie of course knows nothing of what to expect and even less about olive oil. Marco Bellanuovo, the rather handsome neighbour does however. The farmhouse has been in his family for years and Marco is at the heart of the feud and his mother’s apron strings. Marco and his family are suspicious of Ruthie’s motives and Marco is particularly keen to test her being there.

Ruthie is not about to crawl back to England. No she is there to fight for her dream.

Place and setting

ITALY-SMALL

Alberobello MArco works here Trullo Antichi Sapori Address: Via Monte San Michele, 37, 70011 Alberobello,Italy Gorgeous shop selling all kinds of italian foods and in a trullo style building - a traditional Apulian dry stone hut with a conical roof. Puglia Where the novel is set The real olive oil experience - http://www.lacropolidipuglia.it/#_=_ L'Acropoli di Puglia Trento, 180 | ang. via Votano 5, 74015 Martina Franca, Italy Ostuni  where the expats are said to live Torre Canne, Province of Brindisi, Italy Where she and Ed travel to
Alberobello
Marco works here
Trullo Antichi Sapori
Address: Via Monte San Michele, 37, 70011 Alberobello,Italy
Gorgeous shop selling all kinds of italian foods and in a trullo style building – a traditional Apulian dry stone hut with a conical roof.
Puglia
Where the novel is set
The real olive oil experience – http://www.lacropolidipuglia.it/#_=_
L’Acropoli di Puglia
Trento, 180 | ang. via Votano 5, 74015 Martina Franca, Italy
Ostuni
where the expats are said to live
Torre Canne, Province of Brindisi, Italy
Where she and Ed travel to

Well of course Puglia just jumps from the page. And that’s just the high kicking goat called Daphne..

The author evokes vivid images of an idyllic Italian community – a village with a street market where the lemons on the trees are like  ‘big gold cricket balls’ dripping from the branches.

And then there’s the countryside – the hills, the rugged landscape and the animals (goats and chickens abound), the crumbling farmhouse, ramshackle buildings…

Right at the heart of the novel is the Bellanouvo family – with Marco  beaten down by his Italian Mama ( who is as flamboyant and a dab hand in the kitchen as you would wish)

But it’s the smell and story of olives that will have you licking your lips..

Let the oil sit on your tongue and you will find the flavours work like a balloon, first at the tip of your tongue and then expanding to touch the sides.

It’s a good every day oil. You should get the taste of tomatoes, apple and then pepper

Ruthie’s Italian skills don’t help her to explore this new world since the dialect and way of talking here is not what she learnt! What she does learn however is the Italian way of life, olive farming and the art of olive oil tasting. She makes rather too much piccalilli and uses this as a peace offering in the village – much to their amusement.

The joys of living the dream coupled with the harsh reality. The farmhouse in question is fraught with problems but the jovial, heartwarming and utterly chaotic Italian family community more than make up for it.

Bookish musings

A joy for all the senses.

Like being at the heart of the Mama Dolmio Advert with the larger than life characters, italian greetings sprinkled all over like the herbs on a good lasagne, this is life in Italy evoked for your taste buds.

I knew nothing of olive oil and farming and this was fascinating in the extreme! The hard work involved in working on a farm, orchard and mending the ornate Trullo roofs – such craftsmanship!

This world the author has created is a fascinating one which warms your heart and puts you at the heart  of the Italian family bosom. You can hear them shouting and waving their arms even off the page which makes for one very funny read.

Oh and be careful of goats…they tend to have characters of their own and pop up everywhere at the most awkward of times!

A olive oil fused gem of a book with a duck poo aperitif…

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3 thoughts on “The Olive Branch – Puglia – Jo Thomas

    1. Constantly searching on line, book recommendations and spending most of our lives in book shops! Have you read the Montalbano series by Andrea Camilleri? we’ve got one on the blog and are adding more very soon.

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