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Summary

It has been 24 years since a young Helena spent a magical holiday in Cyprus, where she fell in love for the first time. When the now crumbling house, Pandora, is left to her by her godfather, she returns to spend the summer there with her family.

At the difficult age of 13, her son, Alex, is torn between protecting his mother and learning the truth about his real father. Both Helena and Alex know that life will never be the same once Pandora's secrets have been revealed....

©2016 Lucinda Riley (P)2016 W.F. Howes Ltd

What members say

Average customer ratings

Overall

  • 4 out of 5 stars
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Performance

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Story

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

how I loved this book.

This book for me was a slow burn, but after a few chapters, I was hooked. The bit at the end with Lucinda & Harry are also really interesting

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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

Mystery!

Would you recommend this book to a friend? Why or why not?

In print, Yes. But as a sound recording definitely NOT

What did you like best about this story?

I enjoyed the way in which the characters were interwoven.

What didn’t you like about Lucinda Riley and Harry Whittaker ’s performance?

Verbal presentation skills were woefully lacking.

Did The Olive Tree inspire you to do anything?

Yes, it inspired me to not listen to anything else that Ms Riley reads.

Any additional comments?

I have just finished listening to The Olive Tree, by Lucinda Riley.

This is a excellent, stirring story, well written, but spoiled by the author. It is read by the author in such a pedestrian and toe curlingly awful manner as to make it bordering on the boring. That is a great shame. Whoever, at Audible, thought it would be a good idea to have Ms Riley read her own book made a grave mistake. She has skills as a writer but her ability to present her work vocally is non-existent. The book is read appallingly. It is a mystery how she could put so little emotion and intelligence into recording her own work.

Frequently, stress is laid upon the wrong word in a sentence causing it to lack any depth or emotion. Sometimes, stress is placed on the wrong syllable in a word, making it sound ridiculous; an example being 'BEEquest'. No, it's not a hunt for bees, it's the money left to a woman in her mother's will. She reads in such a disinterested manner, without appropriate inflection, that it strips all emotion from the narrative.

Effort at characterisation is minimal. The exception is when she has a go at a foreign accent, but all she achieves is to make the character sound bored or ridiculous. It takes more than adding a vowel to the end of a English word to make somebody sound Italian. Necessary pauses are missing and surrounding text blended into speech in a confusing way.

All-in-all this was a very disappointing purchase. I only persisted in listening as I liked the story and and wanted to hear the end, but even so, it was difficult to dispel my constant irritation with Ms Riley.

The male reader, the author's son, was a little better, but not much.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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

Poor narration

Harry was a very good narrator unfortunately Lucinda's narratives I found very irritating and wooden

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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

Not her best and I normally love Lucinda's books

Would you try another book written by Lucinda Riley or narrated by Lucinda Riley and Harry Whittaker ?

Ideally not. I found Lucinda's narration very irritating. And lots of words mispronounced which was unexpected for someone speaking in RP English.

What was most disappointing about Lucinda Riley’s story?

It was predictable and slow and I felt that when the secret was revealed the characters reacted in an unbelievable way.

You didn’t love this book--but did it have any redeeming qualities?

Not really

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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

not the best

story was ok narrator was far too upper class . not the best listen, disappointing.

3 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

slow burner

at the beginning of the book I felt I could have easily not finished it....but by the end I was hooked and didnt want it to end and I miss the characters and what is happening in their lives

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • GillB
  • Warwick, England
  • 24-09-16

Could have been much better

It was difficult to get into this book but once I did it was a good story with interesting characters. The one thing I hated was the constant use of blasphemy. I have read many books with great stories, gripping plots, and interesting characters without the constant use of bad language and blasphemy in particular. To me this was a good read spoiled and if this is the style of writing that Lucinda Riley is going to use in her future books, I for one will not be buying them.

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

Good book

Lucinda Riley is my all time favourite author. This book was very good with characters you felt you had met in real life. I laughed out loud at observations in his teenage diary very fun especially with Harry's voice added to them. However I don't think it was as good as Lucinda's historical more classical books such as 'Hothouse' etc....
Lucinda and Harry's narration was fantastic.
This is definitely worth a read as I enjoyed it, however I think you have spoilt me Lucinda. Please more of your historical magical books.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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

fantastic page turner

mystery secrets lies etc and love lost and found. I loved it. written in past and present.

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
  • G
  • 30-08-16

Evocative and beautiful story

What did you like most about The Olive Tree?

Lucinda Riley describes Cyprus beautifully and one can just imagine being there. The story is about seemingly perfect people but who in fact have flaws and secrets just like the rest of us!

Who was your favorite character and why?

Alex because he told his part of the story from his point of view in a witty and amusing way

What does Lucinda Riley and Harry Whittaker bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you had only read the book?

Although Lucinda's reading was lovely in her very melodious voice and she had a good try at the other voices too, I thought Harry Whittaker's way of reading the story was spot on for a love struck teenaged boy and he put a lot of humour into his reading which made it very enjoyable.

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

It did make me laugh quite a few times, mainly Alex's part and I felt emotional and very happy when he and Viola got together at the end.

Any additional comments?

I just love all Lucinda Riley's books and this was on a par with all her others I have read, or listened to although I still think the audio version of Midnight Rose is her very best. I can't wait to read or listen to her third book in the Seven Sisters series.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Karissa
  • 23-07-16

Best Lucinda Riley Book - Perfect Summer Read

This is now my favorite book by Lucinda Riley. Prior to reading The Olive Tree, my favorite Lucinda Riley book was The Seven Sisters. But Riley's new contemporary novel quickly stole the place of favorite.

Lucinda Riley creates intriguing character dynamics in The Olive Tree and focuses on character development rather than a sweeping story spanning the decades.

This book is a perfect summer read. Set it Cyprus with a tropical locale this book is perfect to read poolside. The drama will keep you captivated throughout with plenty of twists and turns.

I'm an avid reader of Lucinda Riley's book and the first few chapters I thought I had this one all figured out. But I turned out to be wrong and was pleasantly surprised with the twists in store.

8 of 8 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Elice Lehmann
  • 02-11-16

Nice, easy listen, cute story

Nice storyline. Sweet characters. Narrator was good except for the one American voice he tried to do. Thank goodness that person only had a few lines. It was ghastly!

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Jake L.
  • 16-08-16

Enjoyable but not my favorite

I was drawn in by the plot however I felt like the authors world-views skewed every character. The plot and decisions made by each character seemed unrealistic and pretty outlandish. I had a difficult time finding a character I liked and respected.

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
  • Liv
  • 08-08-16

Loved it

Nice family drama that keeps the listener wanting to know what happened. Written with scill and humour. I have ready all of Lucindas books, and though this differs a bit from the others IT is just AS good a book. Love the fact that Lucinda and her son narrated this themselves- and did a splendid job too!

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Ckbrowser
  • 13-11-16

Pass on This One

I have read all of Ms. Riley's books and it was all I could do to finish this one. Very flat story and characters until the last couple of chapters. Wasn't like her other books. Just droned on. Pass on this one and save the credit.

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
  • Nathalie Carr.
  • 04-10-16

Standing ovation - bravo!

This book is published under two titles: The Olive Tree and Helena's story.

The first book I read of this talented author was Hot House Flowers. Eagerly I searched for more stories and have consistently loved her work. Entranced by the Seven Sisters series, this book appeared unexpectedly.

What courage it takes to depart from a tried and true genre. The Olive Tree still leaves me wanting more.

Truly this book illustrates both literally and verbally the depth of her talents.

Narrated by Lucinda Riley herself and her son - the story takes us to Cyprus as we join a family on their summer holidays. All families have secrets and secrets are bound to come out.

If Lucinda ever decided she wanted a career change - she'd be snapped up as a narrator in a heartbeat. Her son does a superb job as well. Truly would love to spend a meal with such a talented and vivacious family.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Douglas
  • 12-09-16

Lacking

Made me tired. A depressing story that lacked any real substance. Not what I was expecting from LR.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Martha
  • 30-07-16

A Different Style

I waited anxiously for another book from one of my favorite authors. This book is a family drama which is totally different from previous books by Lucinda Riley. It was well written but not just what you would expect as her other books. I do not care for family dramas very much. It almost is a different genre than the others that were more historical fiction .

3 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
  • Catherine
  • 04-09-17

Brilliant novel

A rich, beautifully written story of real life families and their love, loss, failures and triumphs. I really loved this book and was sad when it ended. My favorite Lucinda Riley book.

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Imamomof4
  • 24-05-17

O.K. Casual Listening. Didn't Hate It.

Would you say that listening to this book was time well-spent? Why or why not?

I listened to it in the background while doing other work and it was mildly interesting. But I could miss some of it and stay on track because it was quite predictable. As background noise it fulfilled it's purpose.

What was the most interesting aspect of this story? The least interesting?

Lacked any character development and full of incongruous responses from mostly one dimensional characters. In particular, Helena, who is well educated & emotionally strong, professes to love her husband, William, more than anything and goes to great lengths to protect their relationship, yet he is little more than a conceited jerk who could not possibly engender such devotion from an intelligent woman, especially after his childish and petulant reaction to her revelation.

What three words best describe Lucinda Riley and Harry Whittaker ’s performance?

I didn't find either narrator's performance to be outstanding. Lucinda was fairly good. The man's voice was a bit harsh to my ears.

If this book were a movie would you go see it?

No. Not enough substance for a feature film. It would be more fitted as a made for TV movie.

Any additional comments?

Saw many opportunities for interesting plot twists, but they never came. It is what it is.