BOOK REVIEW: The Rural Diaries by Hilarie Burton Morgan

Title: The Rural Diaries: Love, Livestock, and Big Life Lessons Down on Mischief Farm
Author: Hilarie Burton Morgan
Publication: May 5, 2020
Publisher: HarperOne
Genre: Non-Fiction
Pages: 257

SYNOPSIS: (From Goodreads)

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.


I have to start this off by saying I love Hilarie Burton Morgan. I think she is a fantastic actress and, from what I did know about her before I read this book, a pretty good human too! So when she released her novel The Rural Diaries, I knew I had to read.

I decided to listen to the audio version of this book because it was voiced by none other than Mrs. Hilarie Burton Morgan herself, and who best to tell me her story then her. I was not disappointed.

My absolute favorite part of this book was how raw it was. There was no sugar coating. There was no “life is perfect” comments or how glitzy and glamorous their lives are as movie/tv stars. None. Of. That. It was pure raw emotion and feeling. Not many people write about the dirty stuff. In The Rural Diaries we got to hear about her miscarriages, the times her and husband Jeffrey Dean Morgan were not at all on good terms and had even me questioning if they would make it, struggles with living The Hollywood life, trying and failing at almost everything (but always got back up)… and the list goes on. These are not the stories people typically tell others. You never share all your failures. This book does! Morgan DOES. And I am here for it!

Her raw emotion can be heard in the audio version of this book as she goes over all these really hard moments. You can feel her despair when she talks about her miscarriages and feeling utterly alone. You can hear her determination when she talks about taking on a ridiculously large project all on her own. You can hear the amusement in her voice when she recalls a story where her kids made her laugh or someone made her smile. I’m sure these all come through in the written version of this story, but I am so glad I chose the audio version because it hit close to home so much more.

Not only do you see all the hard moments, but you also see how giving and caring this entire family is. All the things they want to do and all the things they have done in their town of Rhinebeck. I seriously googled jobs in Rhinebeck because it sounded like a dream place to live. Sign me up!

I know this book isn’t all rainbows and unicorns and makes you smile all the way through, but its so real and it’s so nice to see that those people we put on pedestals from our favorite movies, tv shows, or even musicians, have real life issues and real life scenarios that are so similar to what we have. I’m glad Hilarie Burton Morgan gave us a glimpse into this real life of hers that really is magical. I also cannot wait to try some of these recipes and DIY projects she broke down for us. What a wonderful, emotional read. Definitely on my top ten books of 2020. Where’s the next book? I’m ready.


Pick up your own copy of The Rural Diaries by Hilarie Burton Morgan on Amazon, Barnes and Noble and check your local bookstore. You can also get a copy of the audio book, featuring the voice of Burton Morgan herself, on Audible. Make sure to add it to your To Reads list on Goodreads and leave feedback for the author when you are finished. Check out more from Mischief Farm on their website HERE.

Related Posts

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *