Book Review: The Olive Branch

Thank you to Headline Publishing for sending me a copy of Jo Thomas’ The Olive Branch in exchange for an honest review.


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?


“Marco Bellanuovo has a strange effect on me; a bit like coffee. It smells nice and is fine in small doses, but otherwise it makes me sweat and my heart race and gives me a headache”

I’m a sucker for gooey chick lit with romantic will-they-won’t-they tension whilst reminding us about the warmth of finding friendship and family. That’s exactly what we get with The Olive Branch.

Jo Thomas’ evocative novel is a strong reminder to never drink and eBay because it only leads to regret. However, in Ruthie Collins’ case it leads to a slightly run-down Italian home in the middle of nowhere and eventually, and inevitably, love.

You know from the get-go Marco and Ruthie will end up together, so it’s hardly a spoiler. The romance was a slow burner which I did appreciate. I don’t know why but I love when two characters start out despising each other’s guts and you just know a couple chapters later they’ll soon decide that maybe he/she is not that bad after all. Cue the romance!

One of the best things about The Olive Branch was the fact every time I dived into the book it felt like I was in Italy. Thomas’ conjures up these beautiful, idyllic images of the Italian community. From the countryside to the village. It’s all so vivid! Especially the pesky goat!

Ruthie has found herself in the center of a family feud after buying the house from Marco’s grandfather and throughout the novel has to bear the cold glares and taunts from the fierce Bellanuovo family which very much adds to the humour of the novel.

There’s food, family, friendship and frolicking! What more could you want?



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