EXTRA VIRGIN: A Young Woman Discovers the Italian Riviera, Where Every Month is Enchanted

Annie Hawes, Author, Miriam Margolyes, Read by
Annie Hawes, Author, Miriam Margolyes, Read by , read by Miriam Margolyes. Harper Audio $25 (0p) ISBN 978-0-694-52407-5
Reviewed on: 05/07/2001
Release date: 01/01/2001

Margolyes reads this delightful memoir with gusto, recounting how the Hawes sisters moved from England to a Ligurian village in 1983, following a whim to go work as rose grafters—work about which they had no knowledge, but keen interest—for 10 weeks. Upon arriving in a land of brilliant sunshine, rich gastronomy and stubborn but charismatic locals, the pale Anglophiles slowly assimilate into the Riviera lifestyle. Raised eyebrows from many card-playing Italian men aside, Annie and Lucy become friendly with the town's farmers and vintners. They learn to use baking soda to brush their teeth long before Arm & Hammer introduces it, they feast on fresh ravioli years prior to Tuscany's explosion, and they learn to live off the land in a way unheard of in their previous lives in England. Assimilation leads to a full-fledged love affair with the region, and the sisters eventually buy a decrepit farmhouse to call home. The reader's crisp British accent moves things quickly, and she even rolls her "r"s with verve. Hawes, who still lives in Liguria, presents a loveable and enticing portrayal of this quirky, beautiful place. Based on the HarperCollins hardcover (Forecasts, Dec. 4). (Jan.)

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