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Publisher's Summary

Escape to Italy with The Olive Branch. The irresistibly romantic new novel from Jo Thomas, award-winning author of ebook runaway bestseller The Oyster Catcher.

It's amazing what you can buy online these days: memorabilia, fashion accessories, a crumbling Italian farmhouse...

After a Prosecco-fuelled girls' night in gets out of hand, Ruthie Collins awakes to discover that she has bid for her dream Italian home online - and won. Recently out of a relationship, a new start is just what Ruthie needs. Anything is better than sleeping on her mum's settee.

But arriving in Southern Italy, Ruthie doesn't know the first thing about running an olive farm. And with new neighbours, the tempestuous Marco Bellanouvo and his fiery family to contend with, all Ruthie wants is to go back home.

Life can change with the click of a mouse. But all good things - friendship, romance, and even the olive harvest - take time to grow. Can Ruthie finally put the past to rest and find her own piece of the Dolce Vita along the way?

©2015 Jo Thomas (P)2015 Headline Digital

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

Overall

  • 4 out of 5 stars
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    99
  • 4 Stars
    57
  • 3 Stars
    36
  • 2 Stars
    10
  • 1 Stars
    3

Performance

  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
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    99
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    54
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    27
  • 2 Stars
    3
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    6

Story

  • 4 out of 5 stars
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    95
  • 4 Stars
    45
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    36
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    13
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    4
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  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

For fans of house flipping AND cooking shows!

I started to read this story looking for a good romance novel, and there is romance, don't take me wrong, but I really stayed for the home projects and the yummy food descriptions. I finished the novel torn between grabbing a hammer and a screwdriver or cooking some Italian dish with lots of olive oil. You can't go wrong with Italian cooking, Italian hunks and lots of home renovation projects of a nice Italian villa! Fantasies galore!

5 of 5 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars

Enjoyable diversion but lacks some bite

I liked this, but did not love it - though the reviews had promised a lot and I had high hopes. I thought the writer spent too much time inside the narrator's head, often listing her every thought. There was not enough time on setting the scene or giving us a sense of the wider context. Things happened but it was like we were missing their substance. A lot of telling goes on here - and it is sadly too easy to track the predictable pathway to the end. Fine for the beach.

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    2 out of 5 stars

Sweet romance

I didn't realise when I bought this book that it was a formulaic romance. It's a sweet story but very predictable from the beginning. If romances are your bag then this is a charming one in a beautiful setting. However, if you are expecting some depth, strong characterisation and adult treatment, then this novel might not be for you.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars

3 1/2 stars

This was a sweet, relaxing listen. Not shallow, not deep, but charming in that British way. I would recommend as a good, light read.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

The Olive Branch

The best book on Audible that I have listened to so far.
The reader is so full of life and emotion. Love her voice. Excellent!!

It felt as if I was part of the story. Right there in Italy amongst the olive gardens and walking inside her treasure of a home. To hear the laughter of a large extended Italian family. Absolutely beautifully written.

I look forward to other books by Jo Thomas. Highly recommend this to every woman out there who dreams of taking a chance on life and love.
I also look forward to other books narrated by Rachel Atkins. She has a fabulous reading voice. Thank you for this magnificent adventure.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • tricia
  • Frisco, tx, US
  • 07-31-15

simply loved it!

Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

yes..the narrator was wonderful and the writing made me feel as if I was in Italy. I had to bring myself back to Texas every time I stopped listening!

What does Rachel Atkins bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

She was great!! She made the story come ALIVE.

Any additional comments?

Such a nice summer listen!

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Like Eating a Good Italian Meal

Any additional comments?

This was an enjoyable story. The description of Italy made me feel like I was there. Well drawn characters that kept me interested and involved.

The narrator did a fine job - but felt she was mis-cast. The character is a 29 year old and the narrator had a more mature voice. Her reading ultimately was well done - but it was hard to connect her voice to a 29 year old woman.

In the end it was very satisfying like a lovely Italian meal with a nice glass of Rose!

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars
  • barbara
  • Brookside, Australia
  • 04-11-15

A lovely story, slightly predictable ending

What did you love best about The Olive Branch?

The whole story was engaging and well written. Lots of detail about the lifestyle and food in Italy. Realistic characters, beautiful setting, hilarious power struggles between the newcomer and the locals.

What did you like best about this story?

The accuracy and descriptiveness of the lifestyle in Italy.

Which scene was your favorite?

The roof - I will say no more so as not to spoil the story - however, the whole saga of the roof is just so accurate for that part of the world!

If you could rename The Olive Branch, what would you call it?

Finding La Dolce Vita :)

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars

Overall Sweet Story, But Slightly Annoying Main Character

I generally loved the story! My only issue was that the last fee chapters, before the end of the book, the main character became very whiny, wishy-washy, and annoying. But it was a lovely story!

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars

Slow and repetitive

This story started out pretty good but about half way through became unbearably repetitive and cliche. I also couldn’t stand how the reader constantly whispered.

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
  • Pipsicalpopsicle
  • 04-05-15

A transporting romance

Loved this audiobook, ok so you might be able to guess the kind of story line but its full of humour, charm and makes you feel as if you are in Italy too!
Loved the authors way of description about things and the general feel is great. Wasn't sure I was going to get on with the narrator to start with but after 10 minutes I was hooked.
Just lovely!

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • W
  • 10-02-15

A feel good book

An easy listen and uplifting. I wish I was as brave as the lead character...would love to follow that dream!

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Carol Stewart
  • 08-08-15

Loved it !!!!

I now want to find a gorgeous italian and live in Italy just loved this story !!!!!

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • bodytone
  • 07-31-15

Enjoyable

Good story , well read , funny and written from the heart, I liked the feel of what it's like to start a new life

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • missy
  • 06-28-15

loved it

I loved this story. lovely and light. easy to listen to. interesting and intreguing. I can see myself in it.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Agnieszka Bania
  • 01-28-16

Really funny, sweet and full of Italian charm!

If you could sum up The Olive Branch in three words, what would they be?

Really funny, sweet and full of Italian charm! A light-hearted, feel good read

What other book might you compare The Olive Branch to, and why?

n/a

What about Rachel Atkins’s performance did you like?

Brilliant impersonations and Italian accent, really funny!

Did you have an emotional reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

laughed the whole way through

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Runner 10
  • 12-28-15

Enjoyably realistic

Well written and well read. The main character 'ruthie ' demonstrates how complex and frightening starting a new life can be. She inspires and frustrates you as she takes you on her journey.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars
  • R. Howlett
  • 06-29-15

Impetuousness meets hard work

As a dreamer of living abroad, this fiction ticked lots of boxes. Written in a relaxed easy style. The story trips along at great pace and you find yourself immersed in la dolce vita but with reality of hard graft thrown in. You quickly find you care about the characters and are eager to know how it all pans out. A relaxing listen.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars
  • sue
  • 06-02-15

Summer reading

Very predictable, and with a nice "taste" of Italy.
Definitely chick-lit but a good and pleasant read.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Mrs.
  • 04-24-15

relaxing easy listen

What did you like most about The Olive Branch?

eventually quite like the characters and the gentle story

Would you be willing to try another book from Jo Thomas? Why or why not?

yes.

Did Rachel Atkins do a good job differentiating each of the characters? How?

yes

Any additional comments?

Enjoyable and quite easy to draw pictures of the landscape in ones mind.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
  • Linden
  • 04-26-15

Narration doesn't fit

The book is exactly what you would think it is. I enjoyed it, but the narrator sounded much older than the character was.