Heartbreaking and heart-warming In The Shade of Olive Trees has been beautifully written and captures perfectly, the absolute desolation that can occur when life dishes up the unexpected.
Julia Brooks’ world is turned upside down on her wedding day. Will, the man she was to marry finally arrives at the church and informs her he can’t marry her, as it would not be fair; he is and has been having a long term affair.
She is shattered and in false bravado, fuelled by a considerable intake of champagne, makes the decision to carry on with the carefully planned ‘honeymoon’ trip to Italy, a place she has always wanted to travel too. Her carefully prepared itinerary will make the journey easy, or so she considers, from her state of grief!
On the flight to Florence, Italy she meets Harriett Morris, a woman she finds she relates to, who as it turns out, runs a retreat for ‘Widowed Travellers’ at Porto Venere. She invites Julia to come to ‘Olive Haven’, handing her a card and glossy pamphlet which details what she offers, created especially for women who are lost in grief and need to heal.
After a series of devastating events and a chance encounter, Julia finds herself travelling to Olive Haven with Alex, a dear friend of Harriett’s and so begins the cathartic, confrontational, healing journey back to discovering who she really is and what she wants from her life.
It is very had to credit this is a debut novel from Kate Laak, as the characters are beautifully portrayed, the setting of Florence, the countryside of Italy and Porto Venere have been skilfully created. The vibrancy of Italy enchants, as do the wonderful people Julia meets along the way that try to help her heal a broken heart!
She has also, with great skill, woven into the story the many layers of grieving and healing that take place as time moves steadily onward.
Captivating and difficult to put down, have a box of chocolates, a box of tissues as well as a glass of Champagne handy and join Julia as she bravely tackles her ‘honeymoon’ journey as a solo traveller, all the while beginning to understand so much about life, herself and what she wants in her future.
|Publisher||Olive Street Publishing LLC|