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The Olive Branch by Jo Thomas..

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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.


First of all thank you to Headline publishing for providing me with a copy of this book in return for an honest review. This is my first Jo Thomas read and after finishing this book, I can happily say that it won’t be my last.

I love a book that can take me far away from reality for a good few hours and this book gave me that in spades. The story revolves around our protagonist, Ruthie who has accidentally purchased a house in Italy, through Ebay, of all things. As unbelievable as that sounds, it didn’t disrupt the narrative of the story and I quite enjoyed the idea of what could happen from Ruthie’s impulsive decisions. Plus, I sympathised with Ruthie and merely blamed her impulsive move on her ex, Ed. From there the story becomes increasingly entertaining as Ruthie realises that she’s not exactly welcomed into her new home. As well as that she seems to find herself in the middle of a family feud and if that wasn’t hard enough she has to deal with her neighbour, the hero, Marco Bellanouvo and his boisterous family.

I loved the supporting characters in this book, especially Marco’s family. All their colourful quirks added to the already charming story-line. Ruthie is a likable character. At first I really felt that she kept her potential bottled up. Her acceptance of everything and everyone was endearing but I wanted her to grow from that and become her own person. By the end of the book we do indeed see a growth in character, in large, thanks to Marco. Nonetheless, her spirit and willingness to jump into the deep end really brightened the novel for me.  In a lot of romance novels, we see the heroes being portrayed through this cliched formula that I get tired of real fast but Jo does something brilliant with Marco. She makes him real. As real as a guy can get and I loved that about him and how he acted and reacted around Ruthie.

Jo’s style of writing was also refreshingly brilliant. As someone who loves a means of escapism, it was a delight to read about such vivid descriptions of Italy. It was almost as if I was there and that really notched up the entertainment factor for me. The narrative flows from page to page and isn’t too heavy or filled with a lot of drama; perfect for a summer read.

This book essentially has it all from moments of joy to sadness, love to family feuds and enough humour to keep you turning page after page. Perfect read for the summer to indulge in and it’ll guarantee to leave you feeling satisfied and wishing you were going on holiday! Perfect for chick-lit and romance readers!

Overall Rating: 8/10

You can find out more about Jo and her books from the following places:

Official WebsiteFacebookTwitter


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