The Farmer's Wife
The Instant Bestseller
by Helen Rebanks
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Pub Date 31 Aug 2023 | Archive Date 07 Sep 2023
Faber and Faber Ltd, Faber & Faber
'True, unflinching, powerful, lyrical' Kate Mosse
'It's quite an achievement to shine a light of truth on the often idealised, always understated, role of the farmer's wife.' RAYNOR WINN
'Wonderful, inviting, wholesome.' Observer
'Very moving, real and true.' AMY LIPTROT
'Enchanting, funny, fearless. . . a luminously beautiful memoir.' Spectator
'Beautiful and very honest.' CAITLIN MORAN
'Authentic and affecting.' SARAH LANGFORD
'Lovely, warm and real, it made me cry and cook and think. ' ELLA RISBRIDGER
A portrait of life at Helen Rebanks' Lake District farmhouse that beautifully captures the unsung work of keeping a home and raising a family.
As dawn breaks on the farm, Helen Rebanks makes a mug of tea, relishing the few minutes of quiet before the house stirs. Within the hour the sounds of her husband, James, and their four children will fill the kitchen. There are also six sheepdogs, two ponies, 20 chickens, 50 cattle and 500 sheep to care for. Helen is a farmer's wife. Hers is a story that is rarely told, despite being one we think we know.
Weaving past and present, Helen shares the days that have shaped her. This is the truth of those days: from steering the family through the Beast from the East and the local authority planning committee, to finding the quiet strength to keep going, when supper is yet to be started, another delivery man has assumed he needs to speak to the 'man of the house', and she would rather punch a cushion than plump it.
This beautifully-illustrated memoir, which takes place across one day at the farm, offers a chance to think about where our food comes from and who puts it on the table. Helen's recipes, lists and gentle wisdom helps us to get through our days, whatever they throw at us.
Readers love The Farmer's Wife
'Lovely. . . the book equivalent of getting up before everyone else to enjoy the silence of the day.'
'Evocative and thought-provoking. . . a beautiful, lyrical read that gives voice to the 'pushes and pulls' of everyday life.'
'A beautifully written manifesto for the life she's chosen to lead'
'A beacon of light. . . I've never read a memoir quite like this.'
Available on NetGalley
Average rating from 10 members
I've devoured both books by James Rebanks, husband to Helen Rebanks. So I was mightily curious to read 'The Farmer's Wife'.
It turns out to be a simple yet beautifully told memoir; the literary equivalent of an open window with the sun shining in and a vase of flowers from the garden on the sill. Different themes are woven together - growing up in a rural area, navigating the highs and lows of love, the anxiety of not wanting to conform, or the anxiety of wanting what you feel judged for wanting (in the author's case, becoming a mother to many children).
The most unexpected element of the book for me was the recipes interspersing the narrative. In all honesty, I don't think I'll make any of them (almost-vegetarian who only eats the occasional bit of wild venison here!) but they are a rather lovely and sensuous touch.
Rebanks has not gone on great adventures or suffered terrible trauma in her life, but her story is compelling all the same; the sense of her life rises from the pages, and I'm glad to have read her.
The Farmer's Wife : My Life in Days by Helen Rebanks
A great book which is also peppered with recipes , some of which I will definitely use.
I very much enjoyed Helen's writing style and details of her childhood , those people that were important to her as a child and of course her adult life and becoming a mother , and a farmer alongside her husband James whos books I have also enjoyed.
I also live in Cumbria and enjoy reading books about families who go a great way in protecting this beautiful county and the precious wildlife in it.
Thanks to NetGalley for the opportunity to read this book.
I have literally just finished it and have dived straight in to write my feedback. I loved this book....parts were a bit jumbled on my Kindle version but that just added to the chaos going on at the farm with a growing family. It was a pleasant ramble through Helen's trials and tribulations and perhaps I would have liked more rounded events. The Beast from the East was very descriptive as it arrived .......but there was no 'what happened after it had left'. What was the wreckage this event left behind. Some tales just stopped dead. Nevertheless, I totally recommend this to other readers who want a warts and all tale of farming life.
I really enjoyed this memoir and was quite captivated by the simple yet engaging prose. It's written in such a thoughtful and meaningful way, often with sentences that encapsulate a lot about life and nature. I obviously came to it through my interest in James Rebanks - it was quite fun learning their history too! Nice recipes.