Welcome to today’s stop on the blog tour for A Wedding in the Olive Garden by Leah Fleming. Thanks to Vicky Joss at Head of Zeus for inviting me to take part in the tour and for my digital review copy via NetGalley. You can find my review of A Wedding in the Olive Garden below.
About the Book
Can an island in the sun provide the second chance Sara needs?
Sara Loveday flees home and crisis to the beautiful island of Santaniki. Here, amid olive groves and whitewashed stone villas, where dark cypress trees step down to a cobalt blue sea, Sara vows to change her life. Spotting a gap in the local tourist market, she sets up a wedding plan business, specialising in ‘second time around’ couples.
For her first big wedding, she borrows the olive garden of a local artists’ retreat, but almost at once things begin to go wrong. To make matters worse, a stranger from Sara’s past arrives on the island, spreading vicious lies. Can her business survive? And what will happen with the gorgeous new man who she’s begun to love?
Format: ebook (352 pages) Publisher: Head of Zeus
Publication date: 7th May 2020 Genre: Women’s Fiction, Romance
Find A Wedding in the Olive Garden on Goodreads
A Wedding in the Olive Garden is a departure from my usual diet of historical fiction but doesn’t everyone need/deserve something sweet and indulgent from time to time, such as a slice of baklava perhaps?
Having really enjoyed the author’s previous book, The Olive Garden Choir, it was a delight to return to the (alas, fictional) Greek island of Santaniki and to be reunited with some of the characters from the earlier book. My personal favourite is Irini, on this occasion transformed from mother-in-law from hell to avenging angel.
It was also great to make the acquaintance of some new characters. One of these is Sara Loveday who has her own reasons for wanting to begin a new chapter in her life, reasons which she is unwilling to share with anyone initially (including the reader). Luckily, her new wedding planning venture requires all her attention if it’s to be a success. A number of couples amongst the island’s residents have their own very special and personal reasons for wanting to get married and it’s not long before they are making use of Sara’s services. The first wedding she organises is notable for a very unexpected arrival.
With all this going on there’s definitely no place for romance on Sara’s extensive to-do list. At least, that’s what she thinks.
I can certainly attest to the publisher’s description of A Wedding in the Olive Garden as “a gorgeous, warm-hearted and uplifting novel conjuring the local colour, traditions and close bonds of island life.” Of all the weddings featured in the book, my favourite was the traditional Cretan wedding in which the whole community pitch in to help. There are also fabulous descriptions of the islanders’ celebrations of Easter and of the feast day of Phanourios, patron saint of lost and found, whose services are definitely needed at one point.
I have to mention the luscious descriptions of food such as these offerings from the lunchtime menu of the taverna run by Northern lass Mel, her husband Spiro, and the aforementioned Irini: gigantes (butter bean stew), mountain greens in oil and lemon, salad of beetroot, garlic and walnut, village sausages, and roasted vegetable salad with feta. Oh, and don’t forget a carafe of the local wine and a raki to finish. Stomach rumbling yet?
With the author’s customary skilful blend of joyful and poignant moments, if A Wedding in the Olive Garden doesn’t have you longingly browsing travel websites ready for when ‘normal’ life returns, or even planning your own dream wedding, I’ll be surprised.
In three words: Engaging, heart-warming, joyful
Try something similar: The House That Alice Built by Chris Penhall
About the Author
After careers in teaching, catering, running a market stall, stress management courses in the NHS as well as being a mother of four, Leah Fleming found her true calling as a storyteller. She lives in the beautiful Yorkshire Dales but spends part of the year marinating her next tale from an olive grove on her favourite island of Crete.