This is a romantic, utterly alluring leap into Spanish sunshine, remote mountains and rural life. Jason Webster had lived in Spain for several years before he and his partner, the flamenco dancer Salud, decided to buy a deserted farmhouse clinging to the side of a steep valley in the eastern province of Castellon, near the sacred peak of Penaglosa. With help from local farmers - and from a twelfth-century Moorish book on gardening - Jason set about creating his dream. He had never farmed before, and knew nothing of plants, but slowly he and Salud cleared the land, planted and harvested their olives, raised the healing herbs they learned about from local people, set up bee-hives and nurtured precious, expensive truffles, the black gold of the region. And beyond all this they started to fulfil another vision, bringing the native trees back to the cliffs ravaged by fire. At the same time they became drawn into the life of the valley: this is a book rich with characters as well as plants.
It follows the people of the village from the winter rains to baking summer heat, from the flowering of the almond trees in spring to the hilarious, fiery festivals and ancient pilgrimages, and tells the history of the region through folk-songs and stories of the Cathar and Templar past. Jason and Salud lived through storms that destroyed their roof and fire that swept across their valley, but as the year passed and his farm flourished Jason found himself increasingly in tune with the ancient, mystical life of the sierra, a place that will haunt your imagination and raise your spirits, as it did his.