The Rural Diaries: Love, Livestock, and Big Life Lessons Down on Mischief Farm
Author: Hilarie Burton Morgan
Narrator: Hilarie Burton Morgan
Published: May 5, 2020
Reviewed By: Jessica
Dates Read: January 19-24, 2022
Jessica’s Rating: 5 stars
While Hilarie Burton Morgan’s hectic lifestyle as an actress in New York and Los Angeles gave her a comfortable life, it did not fulfill her spiritually or emotionally. After the birth of their first son, she and her husband Jeffrey Dean Morgan, the star of The Walking Dead, decided to make a major change: they bought a working farm in Rhinebeck, New York, and began a new chapter in their lives.
The Rural Diaries chronicles her inspiring story of farm life: chopping wood, making dandelion wine, building chicken coops. Burton looks back at her transition from urban to country living—discovering how to manage a farm while raising her son and making friends with her new neighbors. She mixes charming stories of learning to raise alpacas and buying and revitalizing the town’s beloved candy store, Samuel’s Sweet Shop, with raw observations on the ups and downs of marriage and her struggles with secondary infertility. Burton also includes delicious recipes that can be made with fresh ingredients at home, as well as home renovation and gardening tips.
Burton’s charisma, wide eyed attitude, and fortitude—both internal and physical—propels this moving story of transformation and self-discovery. The Rural Diaries honors the values and lifestyle of small-town America and offers inspiration for anyone longing to embark on their own unconventional journey.
Please note that I am not a Hilarie Burton Morgan fan and have only seen her act in Negan’s ‘backstory’ episode with his wife Lucille. Negan is played by her own husband Jeffrey Dean Morgan. When the lockdowns occurred in 2020, Hilarie and Jeffrey had a talk show from their own home on Mischief Farm. It was watching that where I felt like I got to know them both. And I finally was able to listen to her memoir The Rural Diaries which she also narrates.
This is not her memoir of her entire acting career, but we do get to hear about where she met the man that would eventually become her husband and the start of their life together. They are very different yet also perfect for each other. They love small town life and Burton herself can do some DIY home improvements! We go on their journey to purchasing Mischief Farm and their life with many animals there. It was a learning experience for sure.
She is candid and tells it like it is in this memoir, which includes the good and happy times to the rough times of making marriage work, farm life in general, and dealing with the struggles and determination to have a second child. You could hear the struggle she went through with the miscarriages; it was hard to listen to for someone who really wanted another child and everything that she went through. She genuinely loves her life and they are meant to be living on Mischief Farm and live in a community that takes care of its own. I did wonder about the name of the farm which she goes into.
And she and Jeffrey are really good friends with Paul Rudd! They were also close friends with Bill Paxton and we experience his death through Burton. Their son Gus would watch Titanic so many times (other than the naughty parts) because Uncle Bill was in it!
Listening to her narrate the memoir you can feel the struggles in her voice. I felt like I really know who she is now knowing her story. And don’t knock all those Hallmark Christmas movies she has been in, they were what she needed.
If you are a Burton Morgan fan, then you must read/listen to this one! If you are a fan of her husband, you may also enjoy it, as I did!
The Rural Diaries is recommended.