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The Rural Diaries: Love, Livestock, and Big Life Lessons Down on Mischief Farm

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New York Times Bestseller 

The beloved actress and star of One Tree Hill, White Collar, and Lethal Weapon, Hilarie Burton Morgan, tells the story of leaving Hollywood for a radically different kind of life in upstate New York with her husband Jeffrey Dean Morgan—a celebration of community, family, and the value of hard work in small town America.

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.

272 pages, ebook

First published May 5, 2020

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About the author

Hilarie Burton Morgan

2 books485 followers
Hilarie Burton Morgan is an actor, producer, farmer, candy dealer, and kid chauffeur. Known for her roles as Peyton on One Tree Hill, Sara Ellis on White Collar, her work as an MTV VJ, and her leading roles in popular Lifetime movies, she lives with her husband, Jeffrey Dean Morgan, in New York's picturesque Hudson Valley with their son Gus, daughter George, and a whole menagerie of animals.

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5 stars
8,814 (56%)
4 stars
4,917 (31%)
3 stars
1,508 (9%)
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94 (<1%)
Displaying 1 - 30 of 2,057 reviews
Profile Image for Yun.
509 reviews19.1k followers
May 4, 2022
The Rural Diaries is charming and joyous, a celebration of family and community and simple living. Hilarie Burton and her husband left the Hollywood lifestyle and moved to a small town in New York to raise their family, starting with a cabin in the woods and then moving onto a working farm with cows, donkeys, alpacas, chickens, ducks; you name it, they have it.

While I never watched One Tree Hill, I grew up during that era and had seen bits and pieces of the show just flipping through the channels. Burton's character Peyton always seemed so driven and strong at a time when I was a floundering teenager trying to figure out my passion and place in life. Then this book comes along and I find out she married the Winchester dad from Supernatural. So my curiosity was definitely peaked.

Often with celebrity memoirs, you hardly learn anything about the person after reading them. But that's not the case here. You can hear Burton's voice shine throughout. She is so genuine and open in the book, sharing not just her triumphs but also her challenges and heartbreaks. She speaks candidly of her experience with motherhood, the difficulties of making a marriage work, every day life on the farm, her struggles with infertility, and so much more. And it's clear her love for her town, and how thankful she is to have finally found a place to belong and a community that embraces her.

Reading this book felt like talking to an old friend, one who is insightful and funny. At the heart of it, Burton distilled her life down to its most important parts, and wasn't afraid to take the leap nor of the hard work that followed. She takes the bad moments one day at a time while remembering to celebrate all that life has to offer. She lives the life we all want, one that is authentic to who is she, and I respect her so much for that.
Profile Image for Melissa ♥ Dog/Wolf Lover ♥ Martin.
3,406 reviews9,542 followers
May 21, 2020
Shit!! I laughed and cried my way through this book!! And it’s on my favorites list.

I didn’t even know who Hilarie was until I started watching "Friday Nights In With The Morgan’s". I mean I researched Jeffrey way back in the day when he was the dad (John Winchester) on Supernatural! He loved dogs and animals, I loved him. The end. Since watching the show I still didn’t recognize his wife, maybe if I watch some of her stuff... BUT, I damn well fell in love with this woman I don’t even know. This book was EVERYTHING! We learn about her and Jeffrey, the kids, the farm, the heartaches, the triumphs, a wonderful community of people and so much more!!

I wouldn’t have known about this book unless one of the people on the show didn’t mention her book. I jumped on Amazon that moment and ordered the book. After it set in quarantine for awhile, I picked it up and didn’t put it down!! All I can say I recommend it for so many reasons.

And after many years, they got married and guess who got ordained just to marry them ... Jensen Ackles! See below picture of Jensen’s wife pointing to him in one of the many photos in the book!

She got the dream life I always wanted but will never get and they went through some really tough times. I love them both so much more for so many reasons!

Mel 🖤🐶🐺🐾
Profile Image for Danielle.
792 reviews386 followers
February 14, 2022
I’m not a mega fan or anything, but saw some really great reviews on this one- so I gave it a try. 😉 It was such a heart wrenching read of love and loss and friendships and strength. 👍 How gracefully she shares her intimate moments and inspires goodness and kindness. Just a real person, sharing her life experience thus far and it was great. ❤️
February 12, 2021
I've never really been big on celebrity memoirs, choosing usually to enjoy the characters they play on movies, TV, concert stages, and various other forms of media. Sometimes there is such a thing as "don't ask, don't tell" when it comes to these types of things, that I fully support. Memoirs in general are tricky things for me, and very hit or miss. In order for me to really invest in someone's life story, they have to first convince me that their story is worthy of my time, and my money.

I have been a Hilarie Burton fan since I first saw the movie The Secret Life of Bees and though it was a bit part, something about her performance really resonated with me and I connected to her character. I didn't even know who she was at the time, because I never subscribed to the teenie bopper One Tree Hill fandom, having had quite enough of the teen angst filled television drama after watching (devotedly, I might add) Dawson's Creek. However, as a young adult, I watched and was a big fan of the television show White Collar and when Hilarie graced us with her presence on that show I was like "HER! I KNOW HER!"

So anyway, most people know Hilarie because of her hubby Jeffrey Dean Morgan, otherwise known as this guy

And also this guy

and though I have been a fan of his also, she is the one I fangirl over. So when I saw that she had written a book I was like

And so I requested it from Netgalley. And when I was approved I was like

No but all joking aside, the reason that I wanted this book is not because I love Hilarie Burton as an actress, or that I love Jeffrey Dean Morgan as an actor, or I love the characters these two have played. I requested and ultimately read this book because of Hilarie's story. And let me tell you, I LOVED her story. It is a story that spoke to me personally, and inspired me in so many ways. Hilarie's voice is so genuine and I loved reading this story of leaving Hollywood to raise a family in a small provincial town in upstate New York, eventually growing that dream from a tiny cabin in the woods to an all out running organic farm, animals, plants, and all.

There was a candor to her writing that I appreciated and she really delved into a range of topics, not just the nitty gritty of farming life, but all of the hard work it takes to make adult relationships work, the complex range of emotions caused by fertility issues, the ugly side of Hollywood including the #MeToo movement, the stress of having a partner whom everyone in the world recognizes and who is gone working for long stretches of time, and all of the blood, sweat, and tears in between. Sprinkled here and there were recipes for Dandelion Wine (totally making this year), her thoughts on coffee, tips and tricks for planting, growing, farming, cooking. Also a whole section dedicated to manure. Yep, you know you got a farm girl when she can talk that in depth about, well, shit. And she's also really funny to boot.

She and Jeffrey really ingrain themselves in their new small town of Rhinebeck, New York, befriending a lot of people in town, volunteering with local projects, and even eventually buying a business there in addition to the farm. For being celebrities, they also really come across as small town farmers, and it was a breath of fresh air. The way she discussed obstacles they went through in their relationship, the struggles of motherhood and work, the constant go go go of an actor's lifestyle, while just trying to be a regular person through it all was very heartfelt, and I really connected to it. I also couldn't stop reading. There was so much to learn, and I felt like I learned with her as she dreamed up a dream for herself. She says early on in the book that she never grew up on a farm herself, and though she had grandparents who did, she herself didn't become a farmer until she saw an opportunity and just started doing it. There is a message here that really comes through, that life is too short to keep waiting for opportunities to present themselves, that if you really want something, it is yours to lose, or yours to have, depending on your perspective.

I also read this at a crossroads, as my partner and I are looking at a move some point in the next year. Both of us have always had the dream of moving to West Virginia, to live more in nature, become more self sufficient, rely less on technology, and more on the Earth. To not necessarily start a farm, but grow food for ourselves, plant herbs as medicine, and be around less people. After reading this book, I realized that this can happen sooner rather than later, and though change is sometimes really scary, a lot of time it pulls and twists us into much better humans, partners, friends, parents, whatever. This book was more than just entertaining, more than just juicy celebrity gossip (though I did, in fact, find out that Ben Affleck is just as creepy IRL as he appears), more than just "I'm famous, read my story." Hilarie's voice doesn't come off as wanting sympathy or accolades, or even acceptance. It became evident to me that this book wasn't written about her, it was written to express her love for a small town that changed her life, her way of thinking. It is a love letter to Rhinebeck, to her family, to all of those people who helped her achieve her goals. It was an absolute pleasure to read and a privilege to journey with Hilarie and she bore her heart and soul to the world.

Thank you to Netgalley, for providing an ARC of this wonderful book in exchange for an honest review.
Profile Image for Rachel Reads Ravenously.
1,804 reviews2,158 followers
May 11, 2021
4.5 stars!

I’m kind of blown away by how much I enjoyed this book!

I stumbled upon it when a goodreads friend left it a glowing review. I decided to check out the audiobook and I am so glad I did. I’m what I consider the One Tree Hill generation, I was 14 when the show started and remember everyone at my high school talking about it. I wasn’t a consistent watcher, nor would I consider myself a huge fan of Hilarie Burton, but I knew who she was.

What I loved most about this memoir was it was very much about finding the right place in the world at the right time. Hilarie met the love of her life and the two decided to leave the big city and live in a small town. I loved hearing about how they fit into small town life and how citizens of the town became like family and a big support group. There were also a lot of emotional moments in this book that had me choking up while listening.

Even if you aren’t familiar with Hilarie Burton Morgan, but you like memoirs, I recommend this book. It’s about finding your place in life and the values of small town living.
Profile Image for Christy.
3,758 reviews32k followers
June 21, 2021
4 stars

I’ll be honest… I’m not too familiar with Hilarie Burton Morgan, but I am familiar with her husband. I love reading books about celebrities who don’t live that normal LA/NYC lifestyle. The adventures on their farm, the endearing stories of their son, and the heartbreaking struggles they faced, The Morgan’s story was fantastic and heartwarming. It was a great memoir and I’m glad I read it.

Audio book source: Hoopla
Story Rating: 4 stars
Narrators: Hilarie Burton Morgan
Narration Rating: 4.5 stars
Genre: Memoir/Non-fiction
Length: 7h and 17m

Profile Image for Brandice.
825 reviews
July 9, 2021
The Rural Diaries: Love, Livestock, and Big Life Lessons Down on Mischief Farm is a memoir from actress Hilarie Burton Morgan, detailing her relationship with actor Jeffrey Dean Morgan and their decision to trade the typical celebrity lifestyle of Los Angeles for a move to a farm in NY, with topics of family, motherhood, and work included along the way.

The couple purchases a small cabin in NY that Hilarie spends a significant amount of time renovating before they decide to make the move, full time, and search for the perfect house. Anyone who’s done a home project, big or small, can likely relate to some of the challenges the Morgans faced as they worked to make their new house a home. They also learned through trial and error about plants, flowers, vegetables, and animals as Mischief Farm continued to grow.

I absolutely loved watching One Tree Hill in high school and college, which is how I first knew of Hilarie Burton. I couldn’t get enough of the show! In this book, she touches on the dark, hostile environment behind the scenes of OTH, which was news to me, and disappointing to hear about. Calling herself a coward for not speaking out sooner against inappropriate behavior in Hollywood feels highly critical, however, I respect and agree with Hilarie’s thoughts on the need to speak up, in order to help correct the path for those who come next.

Other things I learned from The Rural Diaries — Hilarie grew up in Virginia, she is part owner of a local candy and sweets store, and she and her family are close friends with Paul Rudd and his family. She does not pretend her relationship with Jeffrey is perfect or shy away from the loss she has experienced along the way to becoming a mom of two. This was an easy read though I appreciate the heavier topics Hilarie writes about, and stayed interested throughout her story.
August 22, 2020
I had a mixed relationship with this book.

Loved: how it started. I loved listening to how this couple came to be. How their personalities were dif in some ways and alike in others. How they found a cabin they wanted and made it and a town their own.

However.... I feel that the story telling got a bit repetitive. He’s gone. She renovated. They go out with the Rudds— jealous about this. Repeat. Also, the random “handwritten” entries that fell in the middle of the chapter was disruptive. These should have been at the end.

It was good, but I’m obviously the minority here.
Profile Image for Kait McCaffrey.
180 reviews4 followers
September 21, 2020
Let me save you some time:
- Hilarie Burton & Jeffrey Dean Morgan want to buy a cabin
- Hilarie Burton & Jeffrey Dean Morgan buy a cabin
- Hilarie Burton is amazing at doing everything necessary to fix up the cabin
- Hilarie Burton & Jeffrey Dean Morgan want to buy a farm
- Hilarie Burton & Jeffrey Dean Morgan buy a farm
- Hilarie Burton is amazing at doing everything necessary to fix up the farm
- Hilarie Burton & Jeffrey Dean Morgan want to buy a sweets shop
- Hilarie Burton & Jeffrey Dean Morgan buy a sweets shop
- Hilarie Burton is amazing at doing everything necessary to fix up a sweets shop

Profile Image for Asheley T..
1,294 reviews118 followers
April 27, 2020
This was such a great memoir. I wanted to read it because I love love love books about farms or making a big life change and moving to a quieter place. Full disclosure: I've never seen One Tree Hill, so my interest in this memoir was purely because of the "rural" aspect.

There are so many great things about reading this story, but the becoming-a-farmer aspect was my favorite. Hilarie begins the story after One Tree Hill, at the beginning of her relationship with Jeffrey Dean Morgan. She talks of their common interests and their shared dream of starting over somewhere else. I could tell that they both wanted (and felt) a connection to their new place in rural New York, not far from New York City, and I could tell they really wanted to build things and put their hands in the dirt.

There is so much nature in here-I loved it so much. There is also a lot of food and renovation. Hilarie shares about projects she took on that were successful and she talks about projects that didn't turn out so well. She talks about finding a small community and really digging into it, and I found that I really like all of her friends. She talks openly about hard things that happened in her life, and she talks about the best things that have happened to her. The entire memoir is threaded with friendships and parenting, and all of it made my heart warm.

Really, this was the perfect read for me during this #stayathome time. This was my "immediately-before-bedtime" book and I was careful to dole it out in small portions over an entire month. I'm here for every story like this, stories where a person makes a goal and achieves it. Especially when it involves home renovation, gardening, and animals. I think that fans of Hilarie and Jeff will love this one, but I was able to connect to it in a huge way even without having seen them in the shows and movies that they are famous for. There is a lot of vulnerability and heart in this book, and it was an immensely enjoyable and uplifting read.

A huge thanks to HarperOne/HarperCollins and NetGalley for sending me a copy of this book for review!
Profile Image for Katie (never.ending.reading.list).
136 reviews121 followers
July 19, 2020
This is one of my all time favorite memoirs.

I read this book because I loved Peyton on One Tree Hill, I'm recommending it to everyone because I'm now in love with Hilarie Burton Morgan!

She tells her story with such honestly and this book is so damn relatable! She tells her story of falling in love, moving from the city to rural life, building and building a life that's good for her family and for her soul.

Her dealing with infertility and sexual harassment in Hollywood will break your heart but her dealing with it all and coming out stronger than ever before will serve as such an inspiration.

I loved the recipes and tips sprinkled throughout and will keep the dogeared copy of this on my bookshelf forever. After reading this, I want to go write, garden, cook, start home improvement projects, and just create. I loved this book, I love her story, and I love how I feel after reading it.

Highly recommended!
Profile Image for Brooke — brooklynnnnereads.
985 reviews241 followers
August 25, 2021
Throughout reading this book, I couldn't help but feel as if Hilarie was writing a love letter to Rhinebeck along with to her farm, family, and community. I'm happy to see that in her acknowledgements she even stated it was a love letter because that's exactly how I received this book.

For someone who loves the simplicities of life and the outdoors, this book was what I needed to read to remind me of that love. It was the read that I needed to bring me back to some of my priorities through reading someone else's story. Yes, we live very different lives but at this memoir's core we shared a lot of the same values and priorities of life.

This was such an enjoyable read and I hope that Hilarie considers writing another book in the future.
Profile Image for Cortney -  The Bookworm Myrtle Beach.
807 reviews101 followers
November 23, 2020
Our latest covid binge has been One Tree Hill, so it felt like the perfect time to pick up this book.

I did feel like there was some filler to hit the page limit, and at times it felt like she was a little sanctimonious about allllll she does (yes, we all realize you are the farm version of Wonder Woman) but I do feel like she was really honest and genuine about the things she talked about.

Personally, I wished there was more about her earlier life and acting, but I know that wasn't what this book was going to be about.

Overall, I enjoyed this book, and I like her even more after reading it.
Profile Image for Lindsay Nixon.
Author 19 books707 followers
August 9, 2020
I’m not sure I’ve given a memoir 5-stars before (save for a Michelle Obama) and I don’t think I’ve cried reading a memoir before (save for Becoming by MIchelle Obama) but this one gets every point of every star.

Summary: A real f—ing marriage.

I am generally opposed/anti to “celebrity couples” but this book made me glad that there’s at least one celebrity couple out there living their life—with acting being a job, celebrity an annoying thing they deal with, and sharing their humanness so others don’t feel so alone.
Profile Image for Stephanie.
557 reviews18 followers
July 1, 2020
My biggest life goal over the last few years has been for us to sell our house and move to a farmhouse out in the country. This is a lofty goal, so I realize it might be awhile for us to actually realize this dream, but I am very determined. Once we can figure out the logistics, fix up our house, save up money, and can find a place that wouldn't make our work commutes too ridiculous... we're outta here!

All that said, I love reading memoirs about farm and rural living, so I jumped at this one when my coworker mentioned it. Hilarie and her husband are both actors who decide that they, too, want to escape to a rural homestead, instead of racing in their fast paced LA lifestyle. Kind of on a whim, they purchase a working farm in New York, while still traveling for their acting gigs. They also buy a candy shop in town that is at risk of closing down.

I absolutely fell in love with their town and newly found rural lifestyle. Also, a candy shop?! How perfectly sweet and small town! That's what I'm after in our next move... small town, know your neighbors, farm animals in the yard, that kind of thing. I loved reading about how they adjusted to farm life, and I could really envision their home, neighbors, and town.

I do have some complaints about this book though, which is that most people are not wealthy and famous enough to be able to buy a farmhouse on a whim... or a candy shop, for that matter. In that regard, this book was hard to relate to. I found myself envious of the fact that they were able to basically live out my dream life with so much ease because they're rich. Meanwhile, we'll have to plan, save, and scrimp for years in order to be able to eventually do this. More relatable aspects in this story though were the couple's journey to conceive, relationship struggles, and child-rearing.

All in all, I liked this book because it gave me an inside view of the same type of life I'd like us to have in the future. However, I did get a bit frustrated at times because they could essentially do what they wanted and money was basically not a concern. Not realistic for me and my lifestyle!
Profile Image for Darla.
3,255 reviews487 followers
April 22, 2020
This homage to the simple life caught my attention in a NetGalley email. Then I read chapter 1 and realized that Hilarie's mother and I both grew up in Pella, Iowa. Like Hilarie I have a great fondness for that little corner of Iowa and have beloved relatives who still reside there. It was fascinating to read about the transformation of Hilarie & Jeff's family from LA dwellers to farmers. As with all of our lives, there are times of triumph, times of laughter, and times for tears. I was drawn in and engaged for most of the book --just felt like there were a few times when there was just too much detail on one particular piece (like when they took over the sweet shop). I also don't know if they ever did officially tie the knot? Anyway, I would heartily recommend this on audio -- especially if you are a fan of Hilarie from One Tree Hill, Lethal Weapon, or one of her many other acting gigs.

Thank you to HarperCollins and NetGalley for a DRC in exchange for an honest review.
Profile Image for Kevin.
1,454 reviews34 followers
February 18, 2022
This was pretty good, I'm not much for celebrity bios but this looked and was unique in that the family didn't live in Beverly Hills as expected but moved to a farm.
Profile Image for Mirjana **DTR - Down to Read**.
1,380 reviews649 followers
May 10, 2022

***5 Stars***

I absolutely LOVED this!

Can two celebrities living in Los Angeles end up having a small town romance? Yes, apparently they can.

This memoir is told in an honest, yet at times whimsical way, where Hilarie Burton Morgan recalls what it's like to have love at first sight with both your romantic partner and the place where you'd like to lay down your roots.

I can't recommend this book enough!

Even if you've never heard of Hilarie Burton Morgan or her husband, Jeffrey Dean Morgan, this is a book that really touches your heart and shows what it means to be part of a community, part of a family, and to be honest with yourself about what you really want.

***Listened to the Audiobook***

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Profile Image for Shannon Rochester.
848 reviews71 followers
April 28, 2022
I'm not gonna lie...the entire reason I grabbed this book was because the author played my favorite character on one of my favorite shows. :) That might be what drew me to the book but it certainly isn't what kept me reading or what kept me interested the entire way through. It allowed me a glimpse of who the girl playing Peyton was behind the scenes and it kind of threw me, if I am being honest. I'm not sure why but she wasn't quite who I was expecting and at the same time she was exactly who I was expecting. I was so sad when she left the show but by reading the book, I can see that it clearly wasn't a good fit for her and she was much happier after leaving. Also, the way she and her husband met(hello, I am a fan of his too and had no idea they were even together) confirmed my belief that everything happens as it should and when it should. I mean, she had the next part of her life planned out and partially paid for and bam, in he walks and changes the whole thing. I loved reading about their lives becoming blended and what they did next...and I almost want to get in a car to drive to the rural area she lives in and see if for myself. I was really happy to see that she included pictures because that can make or break a book for me and I would have been looking stuff up online if I had to. :) Was it a true five star book? Probably not but at least a four. And for me to give a five star rating it had to either make me laugh or cry...in this case, both.
Profile Image for Britt.
1,017 reviews2 followers
June 24, 2020
This is some Hallmark bullshittery. The quick romance, the strained relationship due to work and infertility, and then the happy ending of a new birth in more ways than one—It’s a Hallmark movie. I do like some aspects of Hilarie and enjoyed her honesty even if the wanna be Martha Stewart farm girl running around in white cotton dresses was a bit annoying.
Profile Image for Kristina.
254 reviews71 followers
June 21, 2022
Loved this! It was heartwarming, genuine, and raw. It left me feeling inspired and I now officially adore Hilarie Burton Morgan. I highly recommend the audiobook.

**I don't rate memoirs as I'm uncomfortable rating someone's life experiences.
Profile Image for Natascha.
572 reviews78 followers
June 27, 2020
Innerhalb von fünf Tagen habe ich dieses kleine Schätzchen entdeckt, bestellt, direkt gelesen und dabei gelacht, einiges gelernt und auch das eine oder andere Mal ein Tränchen verdrückt. Es war unheimlich spannend zu lesen wie Hilarie Burton Morgan von ihrem Leben berichtet und erklärt wie sie von der klassischen Teenie-Serien-Schauspielerin zur Mutter, Frau von Jeffrey Dean Morgan und Besitzerin einer Farm und eines Süßigkeitenladens wird. Dabei gibt sie sehr private Einblicke in ihr Leben und schreckt auch vor schwierigen Themen wie den Verlust eines Kindes während der Schwangerschaft oder die #metoo-Bewegung nicht zurück.

Das war ein ganz wundervolles Buch, welches mir einen interessanten Einblick in die Leben von Hilarie Burton Morgan und Jeffrey Dean Morgan gegeben und welches in mir den ganz starken Wunsch geweckt hat eine eigene Farm zu besitzen. Für mich ein absolutes Highlight.
Profile Image for Kate Olson.
2,130 reviews724 followers
August 26, 2020
A charming memoir that I’d didn’t even know was a celebrity memoir! I’m a sucker for stories of rural life and this one checked all those boxes with the added surprise of being about famous people 😉
Profile Image for Amy | Foxy Blogs.
1,373 reviews963 followers
June 21, 2021

First, I have to state I had no clue who Hilarie Burton is. I've never seen any of the tv shows or movies she was in. I also didn't know she was married to Jeffrey Dean Morgan until after I picked up the book. Of course, I knew who he was because of Grey's Anatomy back in the day.

So, for me, this book was like if I met a stranger at a party and we got to chatting about their life. The book mainly centers around her life as an average Joe and not about her time as an actress.

She shares recipes for natural healing and how to tell what color of eggs your chicken will lay - in case you're wondering, for the most part, it deals with the color of their feet. Her story focuses on their life on a farm and the townspeople they call friends.

Audio book source: Hoopla
Narrator: Hilarie Burton
Length: 7H 17M
Profile Image for Living My Best Book Life.
734 reviews72 followers
February 24, 2020
I just finished reading The Rural Diaries by Hilarie Burton and I am in awe of this woman. I have been a fan of Hilarie's ever since I watched the show 'One Tree Hill'. Whenever I saw her on her shows and interviews, she came across as a fierce, confident, and friendly person and that was fascinating. So, when I read the first few pages of the story, I was captivated.

As I got deeper into the story, I loved Hilarie's openness and vulnerability. She details everything from her time as a VJ on MTV, wanting to be an actress, meeting her person in Jeffrey Dean Morgan, and finally going after what she wanted. One of the main reasons why I loved this book so much is because she reminded me that no matter what path you thought you were on, you can follow your dreams and can accomplish it if you take a risk and at least try.

In Hilarie bearing it all, she allows readers to see her love of her family, friends, animals, plants, and Mischief Farm. I may not know Hilarie personally but I know this woman is a hard worker, loving mother, and she was made to live on Mischief Farm. Mischief Farm is a huge part of her growth and it is apparent as she tells us about her ups and downs that occurred at the Farm.

Hilarie writes with so much heart and truth and I felt that especially when she talked about her town, Rhinebeck. Her use of imagery made me feel like I was there on the farm. I am going to be taking Hilarie's advice and I can't wait to try some of her recipes.

I give The Rural Diaries 5 stars. It is an inspiring and moving memoir about living a life that important to you. Through all the obstacles Hilarie made it and reminds us that we can too!!
Profile Image for Susan.
645 reviews5 followers
May 18, 2020
I don't know what to think about this book. I would love one paragraph that was well written and insightful and then the next one would be about something totally different and off the wall. She would go from miscarriages to chickens in the garden. Sometimes she and her husband were fine, sometimes not. I gave three stars for the parts I liked.
Profile Image for Sophie.
190 reviews88 followers
June 24, 2021
i have the same feeling as walking out of a movie theater after watching a really good movie
Profile Image for Kristy.
1,006 reviews142 followers
November 27, 2021
THE RURAL DIARIES is Hilarie Burton Morgan's story of meeting her partner, Jeffrey Dean Morgan, and their moving to Rhinebeck, New York and growing their working farm and family together. I read it on a whim, as I follow Morgan on Instagram and am fascinated by her life. I've watched ONE TREE HILL a bit, but she's not a celebrity I know a lot about, so I wasn't looking for anything specific here.

As a result, I found this memoir absolutely delightful. Morgan is a wonderful writer, and this book is charming while being incredibly honest and real. She covers some very serious topics, such as infertility, miscarriage, marriage, and loss, while candidly talking about building up their farm into a working and usable place. She is a total badass with everything she does on that farm, by the way, from manual labor to home renovations to overcoming any obstacle thrown her way. You will finish this book filled with utter admiration for Morgan--I was completely envious of everything she could do.

As always, when I read a memoir, I look for similarities with its author. I had no idea she'd grown up in Virginia and enjoyed hearing about places in Northern Virginia that I recognized. I took delight in the fact she doesn't like the phone and seeks out kids, not adults, at parties because she's an introvert. Morgan has a way of writing about herself that's honest, but not in the typical self-centered celebrity fashion and I think that's why this memoir is so successful. She feels like a real person in THE RURAL DIARIES; a friend you could be chatting with over coffee, not an actor trying to get a few laughs.

"So folks, this is a love letter. To a town. To a farm. To a man."

THE RURAL DIARIES starts around the time Morgan first meets Jeffrey Dean Morgan and goes from there. It's interspersed with recipes and little anecdotes from her life spent on the farm. The format works well, and it's incredibly easy to read. You're left feeling that you've learned about a strong, humble, tough woman who has led an admirable life. Overall, I found this to be a really enjoyable read. 4.5 stars.

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