In The Ripening Sun Patricia Atkinson tells her own story: how she gradually and painstakingly learned the French language, including the specialist terms of winegrowing; how she learned to drive the tractor and prune, trim, tie up and spray the vines, with plenty of mishaps along the way. How she learned the techniques of harvesting and wine-making, and how she took a tasting course and discovered that she had a discerning palate. It chronicles her interaction with the local rural community, and describes the ancient agricultural rhythms of one of the finest winegrowing areas in the world.
Since publication, The Ripening Sun has become an international bestseller. It has been translated into French, Russian, Dutch and Portuguese.
Patricia continues the story of her life in France in her second book, La Belle Saison. Grounded in the rhythms of the land and the seasons, it celebrates the timeless beauty of the countryside and the bounty of the land, the food and the people.
"Anyone who ever dreamed of owning a patch of vines in France and making wine should read Patricia Atkinson’s book. The Ripening Sun is a more passionate tale than Anna Karenina, all the more moving for being non-fiction."
Malcolm Gluck, The Guardian
"This is a heroic story, beautifully written, like smelling the grapes. It is immensely humane and funny too."
"This is the genuine article - written with the real charm and passion for life, the land, and everything that lives on it."