• Countryside Alliance Team

Book Reviews: Autobiography Edition

Updated: Apr 17

This week we are focussing on autobiographies and recollections of life from the countryside. 

With us all in these extraordinary times, we think it makes really interesting reading to look at other people’s lives and the challenges as well as wonderful things that they have experienced. The books below are a few of our favourites. We hope you enjoy them as much as we have and let us know of your recommendations too.

Counting my Chickens: And Other Home Thoughts 2002 – Deborah Devonshire

Debo Mitford was the youngest of six Mitford sisters and she ended up outliving all her siblings and becoming the Duchess of Devonshire, the chatelaine of Chatsworth for many decades. Counting My Chickens has some lovely Mitfordesque humour and is a delightful and beautiful book which shows great wisdom and quite a lot of sass.

The Yorkshire Shepherdess – Amanda Owen

This Sunday Times bestseller is the perfect feelgood book for lockdown. This is book 1 of a series of 3 and gives a wonderfully honest account of Amanda’s life. Amanda in her own words describes herself as the rebellious girl from Huddersfield who always wanted to be a shepherdess. She has achieved her dreams and is living a life that has almost gone in today’s modern world – except perhaps for some of us now. She lives alongside her husband Clive and seven children at Ravenseat, a 2000 acre sheep hill farm in North Yorkshire. A truly inspiring look at the countryside and finding your peace there.

Like Farmer Like Son – Adam Henson

A touching and deeply personal memoir from Countryfile presenter and farmer Adam Henson. Adam’s life has mirrored his father’s to a quite uncanny degree. From when he was a boy he says his father was ‘his rock, my mentor, my hero. It is no exaggeration to say that he taught me virtually everything I know about both country life and television’.

Lady in Waiting – Anne Glenconner

We are including this one which is not strictly all about a countryside upbringing but is about Anne Glenconner’s extraordinary life and her life on the almost uninhabited island of Mustique after her marriage to Colin Tennant. She is the eldest daughter of the 5th Earl of Leicester and she grew up in Norfolk at Holkham Hall in glorious countryside. Her life is quite remarkable and she shows extraordinary courage, wit and resilience which define her when dealing with drama, and tragedy. Not to mention her close relationship with the royals – she was Maid of Honour at the Queen’s Coronation and then Lady in Waiting to HRH Princess Margaret. It’s a fascinating read and highly recommended.


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