The Olive Grove
by Eva Glyn
This title was previously available on NetGalley and is now archived.
Pub Date 3 Sep 2021 | Archive Date 2 Sep 2021
HarperCollins UK, One More Chapter, One More Chapter
An English woman searching for a different future
A man desperate to escape his war-ravaged past
Can these two find what they are looking for on the beautiful Croatian island of Korčula?
Antonia Butler is on the brink of a life-changing decision and a job advert looking for a multilingual housekeeper at a beautifully renovated Croatian farmhouse, Vila Maslina, is one she can’t ignore.
Arriving on the tiny picturesque island of Korčula, Antonia feels a spark of hope for the first time in a long time. This is a chance to leave the past behind.
But this island, and its inhabitants, have secrets of their own and a not-too-distant past steeped in tragedy and war. None more so than Vila Maslina’s enigmatic owner Damir Maric. A young man with nothing to lose but everything to gain…
Available on NetGalley
Average rating from 83 members
I loved this book. It is the story of a young man carrying the horrific scars of growing up in a war-torn country and how his aunt's death – thus the sudden loss of the only security he has known – triggers all his fears, his past traumas rising to the surface after years of repression. Eva Glyn writes with empathy and compassion about Damir and her exploration of the conflict in Croatia reminds us powerfully of the atrocities of a war that was so close to home and the long-term effects war has on a community, generations after the fighting has stopped. The skill with which she tells us of his childhood means that we have nothing but the utmost sympathy for Damir and the man he has become. The Olive Grove is also the story of Antonia, a middle-aged woman who has left an unhealthy love affair and whose daughter is of an age where she needs to become more independent. With no job, no relationship and the understanding she needs to make space for her daughter to grow, Antonia finds herself working for Damir and together the two of them help each other heal, forge a future and learn to believe in themselves. It is a beautiful story and Eva Glyn's powerful prose creates the most magical setting. As I read, I was transported to another country and loved how all of my senses were stimulated by the evocative descriptive writing. A fabulous book that I am more than happy to recommend.
With thanks to one more chapter for an early copy in return for an honest opinion. First time reading this author. Having just finished this book and while it's very fresh in my head I have lots of what if's. The book starts out brilliantly good characters that you wonder where it's going and what direction its going to take but it seemed to just bumble along at a very slow pace and very much same same then enters Declan near the end and it was firing on all cylinders till the end a few amazing chapters I would have loved if we could have met the mother and more stories of old, Also we never found out about the harvest how it had gone one minute their were loads of people picking olives and the next were in Croatia very rushed at the end. Could have been one amazing book but it was just very good
A really lovely story with some harsh undertones of the impact of war on people years after the event.
A beautifully written book which made me want to visit Croatia. A nice balance between Antonia's romances and Damir's turbulent past in war torn Yugoslavia which which is still affecting him more than two decades later. This is one of those books that I just didn't want to put down and I shall look for more by this author.
Loved this book from the cover to the amazing storytelling. Hold on to your hat and don't kid yourself that you'll be doing anything other than reading on the day that you start this one. Simply beautiful ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
Thank you for the advanced copy. My first book by this author. What can I say, absolutely beautiful book and I just could not put it down, even when I went to make a cup of tea I couldn't stop thinking about the characters, the setting and the developments. Well written, excellent read.
Not sure where to begin. A story of finding peace after a childhood damaged by the war in the former Yugoslavia . Beautiful set on the island of Korcula. Antonia found her peace looking after guests and got over her affair and helped her daughter grow. Damir was a character and a half. My only criticism is the book jumped time quickly some times. I really enjoyed it . One of those books you thought about when you were not reading it.
A real page turner. Antonia deciding to take a job in Croatia as a housekeeper was a risk but it was a chance to leave behind her complicated life. I loved how the story unfolded and how she made herself, by hard work, such an asset to the Vila Maslina. Her help to the owner Damir Malic with his troubles which emanated from the Bosnian war was touching. A beautifully written, eloquent and well crafted story.
A lovely story, tinged with the reality of a war torn country and the sadness of families torn apart. Very well written and so full of emotions.
I loved this book, the story stays with you long after the last page. We meet Antonia who goes to work at the Villa and is escaping from a love affair with her boss. She works hard giving the tourists good food etc while gaining confidence in her own abilities. Damir, the owner of the villa, was a child during the Bosnian war and is still suffering the effects of war. It’s a beautiful story so we’ll written and a book well worth the five star rating.
What a good read this book was. When Antonia leaves a romance that is going no where to manage a small hotel on a Croatian Island she meets the owner Damir. Damir was brought to the island from the mainland by his aunt. He had been left an orphan during the Bosnian war and still carried the terrible half memories. Antonia is a truly lovely person and in order to help Damir live with his past she puts up with a lot from him. Missing her daughter who is having relationship problems as well ,Antonia is split between the people she loves but she finds a way through this with the help of the new friends around her. Reading about the Bosnian war was heartbreaking and I shed a few tears. The descriptions of the Island were beautiful and I wanted to watch the sunrise and sunset there. I would recommend this book to anyone who wants a cracking good read.
Wow wow. This book got me from the start and kept me with it until the end. Based on historical post Bosnian war in the early 90’s this story follows Antonia a women escaping England and her boss and Damir a man who got separated from his mother during the war and is setting up a B&B decades later. Can Antonia help him with his war torn nightmares and help find his mother? Who will fall in love with who? Thanks to the author Eva , her publisher and NetGalley
On the face of it, this looks like a familiar story- a woman leaving home to escape a stagnant love affair and finding peace in a bucolic location with a man who has a troubled back story. Yes, that's the outline but this novel is about so much more. Antonia is a mature woman with an immature daughter. Her affair has blown up and the idea of being a housekeeper in Croatia seems like an opportunity to cleanse. Damir, the owner of the holiday villa, is in his 20s and he's had a tough life, having been orphaned in the war. This isn't a dual time line but his story is told in bits and pieces. These two become friends, banding together for the future of Damir's property and for themselves. Thanks to Netgalley for the ARC. It's a very good read.
Thanks to the publisher and Netgalley for an early review copy. “Hooked from the beginning”.. Getting away from a her relationship with her boss whose married, Antonia accepts a job as a housekeeper at Vila Maslina, on the Croatian island of Korčula. Damir, is her new boos whose young and puzzling. As he aunt has passed away, he’s updated the home that he inherited on the olive grove. Whilst working for her new boss, she becomes more self-assured and is also able to let her daughter have space to grow, whilst she’s able to feel like part of the local community. The story felt really real, describing the outcome of the disagreements in Croatia and how the people were treated during the war. Damir, whose father was a Croatian but his mother was a Bosnian, was a casualty of this, he was cared for by his aunt, and buried the memories he had of the war. But, uncovering something in the attic, brings those memories flooding back and he can’t decide how to deal with them. You find yourself turning the pages, reading how Antonia and the community help Damir make peace with his past and members move forward makes. Highly Recommend This Book
A strong sense of place is something I always look for in a book – I’ve only visited Croatia as a quick stop-off while on a cruise, it’s always been a holiday destination I’ve liked the look of, and if the sea is really as enticing as it looks on that wonderful cover I think it’s about time to make next year’s booking. This book really brings the destination – the island of Korčula – vividly to life, while providing a strong reminder about the troubled recent history of the countries that made up the former Yugoslavia. But I’m jumping ahead – the book’s focus at the start is Antonia, one of those more mature characters I always enjoy, feeling less than comfortable with her life. She’s embroiled in an affair with a married man, and it’s a slightly grubby life that she really doesn’t want any more – he’s also her boss at the holiday company where she works, and that makes breaking things off many times more difficult. But it also provides a chance of escape – Villa Maslina is a new property on their books, the owner familiar to her, and when she finds he needs a housekeeper for the villa she decides it’s just the opportunity she’s looking for. The only downside is leaving daughter Honey behind – but perhaps it’ll give her rather immature daughter the opportunity to take more responsibility for her own life, allowing some breathing space to work on her less-than-stable relationship with her girlfriend, enabling her to make some decisions about her own future. In Korčula, we meet the villa’s owner, Damir – a young man with a vision and a desire to better himself, beginning with creating a holiday property to be proud of from the home where he grew up. He’s immediately extremely likeable, and the friendship between them grows – but he’s a very troubled man, unsuccessfully having tried to move on from memories of his past, and those night-time horrors are now beginning to impact his waking hours. The shadow cast by those wartime experiences is a long one – and through their time together Antonia and Damir support and help heal each other, with an intriguing mystery to be resolved before he can achieve anything like peace of mind. Despite the difference in their ages, I’d rather expected the friendship to deepen into a romance – but that would have only muddied the waters, detracting from the book’s themes and focus, and the romantic flurries that do feature involve others rather than the two main protagonists. There is a particularly strong supporting cast – and visitors from Antonia’s previous life to add texture and maintain that link with “home” – but the enduring impact of the book lies with Damir’s wartime experiences. The book doesn’t become a dual time story, and I thought that was a choice that worked particularly well – instead, we’re offered glimpses of his past, images that sear themselves into the memory, powerful and affecting, building empathy for this young man and the traumatic events he experienced while still a child. The story-telling is excellent – and every emotional touch extremely well-judged. I particularly liked Damir’s passion for restoring the old olive press in time for the harvest, all linked to his more precious memories of being provided with a safe home where he felt loved – beautifully done. The book’s pace is steady, with few fireworks in the present day story, but that was something I enjoyed – Damir’s emotional journey and the search that underpins it provides more than enough narrative drive to keep the pages turning. Antonia’s experiences give the story particular appeal for an older reader – that minefield of families and caring, life’s possibilities and the way she responds to them, all with particular authenticity, easy to identify with. I really did enjoy this one – and must say that those comparisons with other authors in the book’s description are entirely justified. Filled with emotional complexity, coupled with a captivating story – I couldn’t have asked for more, and highly recommend this book.
Antonia leaves behind a bad relationship, and tries to come to terms with what went wrong in her life, by working at a beautiful villa on a Croatian island. Damir, the owner of the villa, was a child during the horrible war in Bosnia, and he struggles with his past. The island is a gorgeous setting for their way forward. This is the kind of book that's hard to put away, and I didn't want it to end. As always, Eva Glyn delivers. Thank you Netgalley and One More Chapter for giving me an ARC.
Antonia is not happy with her love life nor her life in general England, so although she does not particularly wish to move away from her daughter decides to go to a Croatian island. Her she becomes friendly with Damir who has been badly affected by circumstances during the Bosnian war. It’s a really beautiful, emotional and special story set in magical surroundings. Support and understanding family and true friends can give is displayed within the story.
It’s hard to put into words how incredibly well written and utterly captivating this story is! Set on the island of Korčula in Croatia, The Olive Grove is a tale of compassion, friendship and overcoming demons from the past. Damir’s tale, in particular, is told with poignant empathy and the reader is immediately drawn to his character; both his amiable, hospitable side and the more haunted soul who is troubled by memories of his early life experiences. As his bond with Antonia grows throughout the story, it is refreshing that the narrative does not force an unlikely romance, but instead allows a solid, trusting friendship to develop, which eventually leads to peace of mind for both characters in their quest to uncover what is really important to them both. The descriptions of the island, the beautiful villa and the olive press transport the reader to an idyllic location and lends itself to the feel of a summer read. However, the contrast with Damir’s early life in the former Yugoslavia, presented initially in the form of memory flashbacks is expertly handled and gives the reader a realistic insight into the horrors that took place during the war. Despite being such differing aspects of the story, they are woven together perfectly. A wonderful, five-star read! With thanks to the author, Anne at Random Things Tours and One More Chapter Publishing for the opportunity to participate in the tour.