I have been somewhat late to the Amanda Owen party. I only finished her last book at the end of March, but I am glad in a way because I didn’t have long to wait for her next one.
Following on from her best seller, The Yorkshire Shepherdess, A year in the Life of the Yorkshire Shepherdess sees a trip through the farming year for this remarkable, beautiful woman, her husband and eight (soon to be nine) children.
From the inhospitable winter to the delights of summer at Ravenseat, complete with cream teas and outdoor living-whatever the weather.
I love the way Amanda writes. It feels as if she is sat next to me on the sofa when I read. I love it when you can really hear a person’s voice through the writing and you really can with Amanda Owen.
I laughed when funny things happened and cried my eyes out when one of the foals was born dead and when the horses died.
I love the fact that when she goes into labour herself, she grabs her hospital bag and a lipstick-I can defiantly relate to that.
Amanda’s love of animals seeps through her writing like the treacle she uses to pep up ailing animals. I did try this myself during lambing and it really did work.
I can identify so much with Amanda-not just with farming but the escapades that happen to her-especially when she goes off in town for a sausage roll and comes back with two cart wheels-that is something I would do.
Reading a book about the farming year on someone else’s farm is the height of nosiness and I love it. It is similar to walking by people’s houses at night when the lights are on and having a peak into their world.
The farming year is one which follows the same pattern each year but with different challenges to face whether it be weather, errant animals or children.
The difference with the Owen family is that they farm on a remote hill farm.
I really enjoyed her first book and sometimes, second books don’t always live up to the first but this one definitely does.
The final paragraphs really resonated with me:
“When all is said and done, we ourselves are only temporary custodians, passing through. The seasons change and the years fly by, and through working the land I feel a connection with those who went before.”
In that respect, I too think of the generations who lived in our farmhouse before us. Both distant family and beyond. Who worked the land with much less comforts that we do.
Any farmer is just a custodian but when they have they enthusiasm that Amanda and her family has, it actually makes you hopeful for the future of farming.
The Owen’s, like many farming families, are a model of how families should be-more about living and spending time together than about materialism and screen time.
I just hope Amanda has an idea for a trilogy. We farmer’s wives have to have something to look forward to.
A Year in the Life of the Yorkshire Shepherdess by Amanda Owen is published by Sidgwick & Jackson. It costs £16.99 and is available now.
We were kindly sent the book for the purpose of this review but, after making out to the publisher, quite rightly, that I was Amanda’s biggest fan, I think they sent me the book to keep me quiet.