The Olive Tree by Lucinda Riley


The Olive Tree by Lucinda Riley is a powerful novel about family, friendship and love. Once again Lucinda Riley has created an eclectic mix of characters that weave their way into the reader’s heart.

The action is mainly set in 2006 but also fast forwards ten years at the beginning and the end. The reader becomes intimately acquainted with thirteen year old Alex as some of the tale is in the form of his diary. We get glimpses into the mind of a quiet studious child on the cusp of adulthood. He seems to have autistic tendencies which I recognized from having worked with teens with autism. He is a likable but complex character. The rest of the novel is written in the third person from varying viewpoints.

Mums are the lynchpin that hold it all together in family life. “She’s [Mum] like super-glue. She invisibly binds the household together.” We see a wonderful example in the book. Love is in action in the form of a wife, a mother and a friend.

There are different family dynamics arising in the tale. We see blended families, those adopted into families and fractured families. Friendships and bonds are formed, some will last, others not so.

The reader sees a character on the road to self-destruct. We witness selfish behaviour and a life of indulgence that blows apart all relationships. We need to have servant hearts that live for others and not be me-centred.

Secrets kept for years are suddenly released threatening the stability of all as powerful emotions erupt. A secret garden holds surprises too.

The Olive Tree was an exploration and a celebration of love. I will leave you with this heartfelt quote:

“There are all kinds of love, and it arrives in different shapes and forms.

It can be earned, but not paid for.

It can be given, but never bought.

And once it’s truly there, it holds fast.

The love thing.”


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