13 Jun 2019



Amanda has been eagerly watched by millions of viewers of ITV's The Dales living and working at Ravenseat, a hill farm of 2,000 acres which she shares with 900 sheep, seven children, 4 dogs and one husband. Not to mention chickens, cows, horses, an uncontrollable goat and a vole who has taken up residence in the sitting room. It's a far cry from her childhood in industrial Huddersfield ...

In this delightful memoir she reveals how she achieved her dream of becoming a shepherdess and how she and husband Clive have dealt with the ups and downs of farming life - from the tragedy of foot and mouth disease to the joy of breeding a champion tup*, and from the pleasures of living in tune with the changing seasons to the challenges of raising children in such a remote location.
- Back Cover Blurb

'Will you take the trailer and fetch a tup* from a mate of mine? ...'
- First Sentence; Introduction

I was married in my riding boots, as I was unable to prise them off in time. I was sure no one wouldspot this, but when I was kneeling at the altar they were on show to the congregation behind me.
- Memorable moment; Page 105/6

SOURCE ... Received as a gift from a friend, thanks Aspen.


MY THOUGHTS ... I first came across Amanda Owen whilst watching The Dales, a TV series featuring her and her family. Intrigued to find out more about what made her tick (as someone who has lived all her life in the suburbs I soooo wanted to understand what informed the choices she made) you can imagine how disappointed I was to find much of the book perfunctory with too many long anecdotes rather than anything substantial. 

Chatty and friendly in style (for those familiar with the TV series Amanda writes pretty much as she speaks); you'd be hard-pressed to be other than inspired by the sheer stamina, hard work and dedication that it takes to run such a farm (to say nothing of a family of what was then seven children) and the author's passion, warmth and sense of fun shines through. However ... 

Whilst I do like this chatty style of writing, I struggled with the liberal use of all the broad Yorkshire. OK so arguably its quirky and it made the book all that more authentic but on the other hand when you are having to re-read passages it does get kind of tiring after a while.

Essentially an OK read, not particularly well structured with a tendency to be repetitive but OK. However in the future when I want a bit of 'country life' I'll be reaching for my much read copies of James Herriot's All Creatures Great & Small series.

* A male sheep/ram.


Kimberly @ Caffeinated Reviewer said...

The idea appeals to me..but then i think on the large insects, lack of wi-fi, manure and yeah...burbs it is :)

Brian Joseph said...

I never saw the television program. Narratives of people leaving urban and suburban life for the country are fairly common but can still be very good. Real farmers do tend to work very hard. It is a serious life. Too bad that the book lacked insights into the motivation as to why.

Kelly said...

It's not a program I'm familiar with, so I'm not sure I'd be that interested in the book. Now, speaking of the Herriot books.... I only got around to reading them in recent years and LOVED them! Not one to read books a second time, they do tempt me.

nightwingsraven said...

Although Amanda sounds sympathetic,
I will take your reservations against
the book to heart.
I am not familiar with The Dales television
series, but I loved All Creatures Great and
Small when it was broadcast in The Netherlands.

Suko said...

Tracy, I have been away from blogging for about a week due to travel.
Thank you for sharing your true thoughts about this book. The Memorable moment made me smile. I hope your weekend is enjoyable.

Nikki - Notes of Life said...

I haven't read any memoirs or autobiographies for a while... I love that you translated what a tup is, I sometimes forget people who don't live in a village/countryside might not know what one is.