The beloved actress and star of One Tree Hill, White Collar, and Lethal Weapon, Hilarie Burton, tells the inspiring 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’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 Shoppe with good friend Paul Rudd and his wife Julie, with raw observations on the ups and downs of marriage and her struggles with infertility. Burton also includes delicious recipes that can be made with fresh ingredients at home.
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.
Typically, I steer clear of anything that resembles a biography. I feel like we are on overload as a nation with the ins and outs of celebrity life. Hilarie Burton has always held a soft spot in my heart. Was it because of my love for One Tree Hill? Nope…..this book landed on my radar because I knew that Hilarie was a fellow Virginian. Regardless of the fame and fortune, Hilarie was a southern girl at heart.
What about this would draw me to a book about farming and dandelion wine? Well….that’s easy. If you have ever seen any of Hilarie’s social media posts, you know that she believes in promoting small business and seems to enjoy the farm life. That is the connection for me. A commonality that always makes me look twice when Hilarie shares a little glimpse of life on the farm, smiles from Jefferey Dean Morgan, or the sweet smiles of raising your children away from the hustle and bustle of the big city.
First let me say – I dove into the Rural Diaries like someone starving for water. This wasn’t your typical celebrity tale. Hilarie shares the way that she felt unfulfilled in the life that she had planned out for herself. It is raw, honest, and I recognized a kindred spirit that was easy to connect with. How many of us really struggle to find fulfillment in life? My own life has been a parallel of wanting ‘more’ but not sure where to seek that fulfillment.
The honesty of this book is also refreshing. Burton lays out the trials and tribulations of raising children, feeling disconnected, and the strains of marriage. Life isn’t easy, and Burton managed to put that ‘realness’ in her story in a way that kept me glued to the pages. Readers follow Burton’s journey to find life in rural America while filling the empty place in her soul. The vulnerability, truthfulness, and love that is written on the pages was inspiring and easy to connect to. Mischief Farm played a huge part in the Burton-Morgan family’s life, and it was inspiring to be a part of the journey on the road to happiness.
Rural Diaries earned 5 stars easily. It is by far the most inspiring and uplifting book that I have read in 2020!! A truly remarkable journey through motherhood, friendships, farm life, and searching for the life that feeds your soul. Simply put……I loved everything that transpired on the journey to Mischief Farm!!
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.