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A Year in the Life of the Yorkshire Shepherdess

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The Sunday Times bestseller full of inspiring tales of life as a shepherdess, by the star of Channel 5’s Our Yorkshire Farm .

From bestselling author Amanda Owen come more stories of life at Ravenseat, the remote Yorkshire hill farm she shares with husband Clive, eight children and 1,000 sheep. In A Year in the Life of the Yorkshire Shepherdess she describes the age-old cycles of a farming year and the constant challenges the family faces, from being cut off in winter to tending their flock on some of Yorkshire's highest, bleakest moors – land so inaccessible that in places it can only be reached on foot.

Writing with her trademark warmth and humour, Amanda takes us into her life as nine-year-old Miles gets his first flock, Reuben takes up the flugelhorn and she gives birth to a new baby girl. She is touched by the epic two-day journey of a mother sheep determined to find her lamb and gives a new home to an ageing and neglected horse. Meanwhile Clive is almost arrested on a midnight stakeout to catch a sheep-worrying dog and becomes the object of affection for a randy young bull.

Funny, poignant and charming, A Year in the Life of the Yorkshire Shepherdess is a must for anyone interested in the countryside and those who farm it.

'Amanda Owen is like a breath of fresh air. Amanda's life is one of old-fashioned values, hard graft and plenty of love. She, like her life, is extraordinary' - Ben Fogle

369 pages, Kindle Edition

First published January 1, 2016

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About the author

Amanda Owen

11 books117 followers
Amanda Owen grew up in Huddersfield but was inspired by the James Herriot books to leave her town life behind and head to the countryside. After working as a freelance shepherdess, cow milker and alpaca shearer, she eventually settled down as a farmer's wife with her own flock of sheep at Ravenseat. Happily married with nine children, she wouldn't change a thing about her hectic but rewarding life. She and her family are the subject of Channel 5's Our Yorkshire Farm and have appeared in ITV's The Dales and in Ben Fogle's New Lives in the Wild. Voted Yorkshirewoman of the Year by the Dalesman magazine, she is also the author of the top-ten bestsellers The Yorkshire Shepherdess and A Year in the Life of the Yorkshire Shepherdess.

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5 stars
1,509 (56%)
4 stars
806 (30%)
3 stars
281 (10%)
2 stars
61 (2%)
1 star
22 (<1%)
Displaying 1 - 30 of 125 reviews
Profile Image for Petra on hiatus, really unwell.
2,457 reviews34.4k followers
December 15, 2021
It is over a year since I read this book, and realised that the author was a living example of when life gives you lemons, make lemonade! She's very eccentric indeed, a shepherdess who wears mini-skirts while farming, has 9 children - one (or more) who were born at home, with her all alone in front of the fire, by her choice. The media picked her up for a reality tv show, and being 6'2" with model looks and figure and her unusual life-style it was naturally a winner, as are her books, her Twitter stream, her endless promotions. It's a wonder she gets any time for farming her 2,000 sheep. Her husband, older and much less photogenic doesn't figure in all this quite so much.

The book was interesting because of the eccentric author, but the over-exposure in the media meant I didn't bother reading her other books. I wonder how many times someone really interesting overdoes it for the sake of fame and money and loses their original fans? Not that they would care, but I wonder from the original fans point of view?

Reading Notes: The sickly-sweet pseudo-hagiography Finding Freedom: Harry and Meghan and the Making of a Modern Royal Family was giving me toothache, virtually. This book is about a woman who loves the hard work of farmer in one of the bleakest parts of England with her husband, eight children and occasionally a stud bull called, mysteriously, Keith (his real name is Domino).

This contrasts with a woman who seeks fame, fortune, authority, celebrity, constant admiration and publicity and a husband who can provide a leg-up on this path. Amanda may not get to dine in exclusive clubs in London where the wallpaper is of women's private parts, it's more likely a curry down the pub when time and weather allows. She and her life are far more interesting though, and the book is a thousand times more readable.
Profile Image for Tanja Berg.
1,909 reviews438 followers
October 15, 2020
I loved this book exploring the life of rural England. There are so many fantastic stories around Amanda's farm life, with children, and sheep and failing equipment. They are sorted into months of the year, because seasons matter more to farmers than to the rest of us. I thoroughly enjoyed this on audio, the narrator was fantastic, with a warm, smiling voice. I will definitely come back for more!
1,138 reviews84 followers
February 1, 2022
This was the second book in this interesting series about the Owen family and their farm. Like the first one this book was enjoyable and the children never fail to surprise me. They are grounded and work hard taking care of the animals. Each one seems to have their own jobs to do before and after school and their lives seem very happy and content. At times their lives are hard due to snowy conditions but they seem to enjoy it all the same. Worth a read.
Profile Image for Penny.
330 reviews2 followers
March 13, 2017
Really enjoyed this book about Amanda Owen one of the few (if not only) female shepherdesses around today. She is such a strong character a really hard worker, very prolific (having 8 children) and I loved her style of taking you through her working year with humour and straight forward talking. Girl power definitely at work here!
Profile Image for Helen.
563 reviews33 followers
February 18, 2019
Wonderfully readable and genuinely interesting. Amanda is a truly remarkable woman, as well as being a shepherdess she is obviously a wonderful mum, how lucky those children are growing up as they do out in the wilds of Ravenseat! Farming in some of the most challenging conditions in the UK, she tells of how the hardy folk of the moors see through the year with warmth and enthusiasm. Lovely to read.
Profile Image for Anna.
456 reviews6 followers
January 3, 2020
I understand the farming family featured in this book are widely known and admired in the UK and featured in television and radio documentaries with a possible movie on the horizon. To me I found the fact they rented the property and had nine children difficult to understand. Rightly or wrongly much more focus on the animals would be more appealing. I enjoyed the format and the reading was easy, just not memorable to me.
Profile Image for Jo.
3,368 reviews123 followers
April 5, 2020
Amanda Owen lives with her husband and ginormous brood of children on a remote farm in Yorkshire. In this second book of her life story, she breaks the chapters down into each month of the year and talks about the routines and the happenings. This was a mixture of funny, happy and sad tales. It was fascinating for a city girl like me as Owen's experiences are totally alien.
Profile Image for Sophy H.
1,325 reviews67 followers
August 9, 2020
This was surprisingly entertaining.

I say surprising, as I had a sneaking suspicion that the author would overly reference her "mothering" experience (she has eight children, and I had been warned her other book is all about her having babies!! I'm not into babies, at all!!) Needless to say, I was pleasantly surprised. Only one brief mention of childbirth!!

The writing here is engaging, balanced, colloquial, funny, sad, and everything in between.

Managing a large, remote, windswept sheep farm sounds bloody hard and the author doesn't try to sugarcoat it. She tells it as it is which I greatly admire.

A really wholesome, refreshing Yorkshire read, like a good cup of tea!!
340 reviews2 followers
June 13, 2019
I really enjoyed this book. I started it ages ago and put in my 'give up' list. It's really unusual for me to leave a book unfinished so I thought I'd give it another go and am glad that I did. In fact, I really have no idea what I was thinking not continuing. Amanda Owen was a shepherdess, she now lives and works on a farm with her husband in an exposed, isolated area of the North East of England. And, just to add into the mix, she has nine children too! The book takes you through the calendar year with stories of what happens. A lot of local parlance is used and the words are written as they sound which can take a little bit to understand but it's fun. It's part of the book and the joy. Astounding really that in such a small country there are areas that are still so isolated. Highly recommended.
Profile Image for Tina Culbertson.
556 reviews19 followers
April 26, 2018
I have had a fondness for stories set in Yorkshire and have read all the James Herriot books.  We are such big fans that we named our son Tristan after one of the characters.  When I discovered another Yorkshire author named Amanda Owen I knew I was in for a treat.

First I followed Amanda, aka The Yorkshire Shepherdess , on Twitter.   The photos of the Yorkshire countryside, the sheep, cows, horses, chickens and of course Amanda, her husband Clive and their 9 children are beautiful. Her handle is  @Amandaowen8 if you want to take a look.

All children are up at 6:00 a.m. and eat on the go, all have chores they do, automatically working as a team.  Even the 7 year old goes out to gather wood and brings it to start a fire in the black range.  No fire means cold baths. Yikes!

I have thoroughly enjoyed reading these 12 chapters broken down by each month’s events.  Here is a great article from The Guardian and one from Country and Townhouse if you want to read more.  If you enjoyed James Herriot then this will be your cuppa of tea.  Fresh bread, cakes and stews are always on the menu so I thought I would share two freshly baked loaves I made this week.


Profile Image for Natasha Marie.
48 reviews10 followers
April 13, 2017
LOVED this book! Not a shepherdess on the same scale or even the same part of the world as Amanda, but I know we could have a wonderful conversation about sheep. :)
Profile Image for Sally.
112 reviews
April 13, 2020
A year in the life of Amanda and Clive Owen. Adventures with their children and farm. Lovely time of year to read all about life of farmers.
Profile Image for Georgie.
65 reviews
October 18, 2020
Really enjoyed reading this. Detailing what happens at the farm each month of the year. Amanda is a very good writer and very witty in places. It's also nice as I recognise some of the places she mentions. Definitely making me homesick for Yorkshire though. On to her next book now.
May 19, 2020
The second book in the series, thoroughly enjoyed the funny and heart warming adventures of the family, and learning about sheep of course. Looking forward to reading the next book.
Profile Image for Lorna Sixsmith.
Author 5 books15 followers
September 1, 2017
This is Owen’s second book. Her first one told the story of her determination to work with sheep, meeting and marrying Clive in the Yorkshire Dales and the birth of their first few children – along with lots of farm adventures along the way of course.
This title sounds like it will focus on one year in Amanda’s life and yes, it does have a chapter for each month in the year, and it then contains relevant flashbacks to adventures and escapades and happenings in the same month during previous years. Stories are funny, poignant, occasionally tragic, and provide a realistic look at farming. Owen comes across as a very pragmatic no-nonsense kind of person who takes things like having a home birth or finding that the vehicle she is driving has suddenly got a life of its own with a pinch of salt.

There’s some nice one-liners in the book too – usually things uttered by her husband Clive, who seems even more the type of person who doesn’t suffer fools gladly.
421 reviews2 followers
May 7, 2019
Well written and insightful

Amanda Owen gives a vivid insight into her unique way of life in a series of seasonal anecdotes. Her love for her home cum workplace, with all the incumbent challenges of living in an isolated location prone to severe winter weather, comes shining through her narrative. I enjoyed her down-to-earth attitude, her bravery (if you haven't yet read the book, you will know what I mean when you reach that part!) and her sense of humour.

Amanda claims at one point that neither she nor her husband, Clive, were 'scholars', but I think she writes beautifully. If she has used a ghost writer, s/he has done an excellent job of making the book sound authentic.

I haven't seen the television programmes, nor read 'The Yorkshire Shepherdess' and didn't feel either of these to be detrimental to my enjoyment of the book.
Profile Image for Elite Group.
3,062 reviews51 followers
March 5, 2017
A truly wonderful insight into the life on a Yorkshire farm.

This is the second book by Amanda. Each chapter is a month at Ravenseat, which she shares with her husband Clive and their eight children and a thousand sheep. Trials, tribulations and lots of funny events.

I loved this book! I couldn’t put it down. Amanda writes with such passion and love for her life you cannot help but be drawn in. She is a strong woman who loves her work and family and it shows in every page. I laughed and cried with her and was sad when I finished it. I shall be buying her previous books.

I cannot think of enough praises for this book. It’s brilliant. Enough said.


Breakaway Reviewers received a copy of this book to review.

Profile Image for Mary Arkless.
249 reviews1 follower
August 26, 2017
Pleasant read. I grew up on a farm as part of a very large family, so I can in a way relate to quite a lot in this book, although our farm wasn't on the same scale, and I was one of the kids, not one of the adults.

I find the title a bit of a misnomer. The author does go through the year and explain what they would typically be doing at that time and telling the stories which she has experienced. However, these stories are from her entire life as a shepherdess/farmer, not one year. I'm splitting hairs, and it doesn't detract from the book at all.
Profile Image for Annie Leadley.
396 reviews9 followers
July 5, 2018
Having seen Amanda Owen on a couple of TV programmes about her life in the Yorkshire Dales, when I saw this book I felt compelled to buy it. I will confess it has been sitting on my Bookshelf for over a year, & only now have I picked it up to read . Wow! what an amazing Wife, Mother & Shepherdess Amanda Owen is, & her love for all of these roles plus the Yorkshire Landscape which can at times be very unforgiving , saying that the book is full of laughter, some times tears & an utter joy to read.
I cannot recommend it highly enough
Profile Image for Kellynn Wee.
129 reviews25 followers
July 2, 2019
As a city girl I love reading about lives the inverse of my own. I loved learning about the work of lambing and shepherding and farming and imagining life in a place so remote and beautiful. I thought that her family's sense of both improvisation--their management of the unexpected--and of time was very different from my own. Owen's prose clatters along quickly and evocatively and makes it easy to keep reading and reading. The most memorable chapter deals I think with her birth of Clementine in front of the family hearth.
50 reviews
February 16, 2020
I enjoyed this book

Amanda is a real wonder woman. I take my hat off to her, she copes with a very demanding job and a very large family with such panache. This book was a real joy to read!
Profile Image for Beth.
884 reviews7 followers
February 12, 2021
I truly enjoy reading about the escapades that make up the sheep farming life of Amanda Owen and her family. While her first book told how she became a shepherdess and met and married her husband Clive. In this sequel, she describes her daily life on a month by month basis. She begins at the start of the calendar year and each chapter section covers a month of stories and activities involving the sheep, the children and many of their other farm animals. Of course, at Ravenseat sheep set the schedule. Mating (tupping), lambing, moving the sheep to their special moor areas and so forth are carried out on an annual routine. On a daily basis, the feeding and caring for the cows, horses and chickens also set a schedule. Life on this farm is always busy - it makes me tired just thinking about it. Mucking out stalls is not just a phrase, but hard physical labor. Managing eight children is also hard work. The love Amanda Owen has for both her family and her work shows in her descriptions throughout the year. As in her first book, she writes in a comfortable, casual style - making this foray into her family life an adventure in print.
Profile Image for Michael Rumney.
556 reviews2 followers
February 20, 2020
A vivid insight into the life of being a farmer on the North Yorkshire Moors. Owen tells us what living through each month is like, so not exactly a year, but anecdotes of several years.
Apart from farming family is important to the Owens which comes across in the narrative. I couldn't help thinking of the Waltons as the family's adventures and mis-adventures are brought to life. it certainly helps having 9 children to run a farm.
One drawback is that at times Owen drifts into a Yorkshire dialect which I found difficult to understand. (that's the second book in a row I have read which includes having to read & understand Yorkshire, the other being Wuthering Heights.)
Despite this I ploughed on (pun intended) as Owen describes exactly what is the reality of being a Shepherdess. It isn't all sweetness and light but there are the grim realities of life and death. All I can say if after reading this anyone still wants to farm sheep they will be going in with some idea what it is really like.
Profile Image for ZuZuBaloo.
45 reviews
December 6, 2022
Amanda Owen in her second book talks of how farming relies heavily on the seasons, and how the seasons decide the order of things on the farm.

I think I enjoyed this one more than the first. Amanda seems more comfortable in here and seems to be sharing more. Although Amanda's life isn't the easiest juggling shepherding, farming, children and failing equipment, and some other unfortunate mishaps, she portrays it in an amusing way.

The book is broken down into months of the year, which by the title makes sense. I liked that, knowing what month we were currently in. I didn't quite realise, or maybe appreciate, how the seasons altered farming so much, and in such an influential way.

The Yorkshire dialect still drove me insane. I think my main issue is trying to translate it into a more understandable form of English which temporarily breaks my reading stride.

Poor Clive though seems to have a rough life, and I can't help but chuckle at the many situations that he seems put in.
Profile Image for Josie.
1,485 reviews31 followers
August 30, 2021
[Audiobook version]

I suspect I would've liked this more if I hadn't listened to the audiobook. The narrator was very extra, over-emphasising and exaggerating words so that the jokes felt forced, rather than the wry humour of the first audiobook. She also put on stupid voices for the dialogue -- the children sounded especially sickly and insipid, like lisping ninnies, and the doctors and vets sounded like 1940s stiff-upper-lip BBC presenters, because apparently you can't be a professional AND have a Yorkshire accent...

That aside, the book itself was enjoyable, and I loved that there was a chapter for each month of the year. Farmers more than anyone live their lives according to the rhythm of the seasons, and it was lulling to follow those ancient rhythms (even though technically the book uses anecdotes from multiple years). There were, however, too many detailed stories about veterinary procedures for my liking.
Profile Image for Helen Costello.
289 reviews18 followers
December 18, 2018
Amanda Owen is a fascinating, marvellous woman. There's no doubt about it. Her career as a Shepherdess in North Yorkshire is one of the toughest jobs going - Paired up with being the mother of 9 children, she is simply amazing. The book covers a look at each year of the farming year and how the family get through. Amanda is very self deprecating - She doesn't show off but she has every right to. I must admit I wondered if the children might be fairly feral & then told myself off for being so horribly stereotypical. They are not. Their childhood seems wonderfully 'free-range' but they are so well educated (both in schooling but more importantly in life skills.)
I'm not particularly enthralled by farming procedures so sometimes found my mind wandering but still think this is a great book to read.
Its a good accompaniment to the current Ch4 tv show too.
Profile Image for Sarah Lee.
530 reviews4 followers
March 15, 2020
I have previously read Amanda Owen’s first book, The Yorkshire Shepherdess and enjoyed it. I am going to see her later on this year, and with a new book coming out in paperback soon, I was surprised to see that I hadn’t yet read her second book A Year in the Life of the Yorkshire Shepherdess. I very much enjoyed this book, the writing is great, I love the Yorkshire dialect she uses. The book starts in January and we join Amanda and her family through the year as she deals with the trials and tribulations of family and farming life at Ravenseat. Amanda intersperses each month’s chapter with tales of her children, animals, farming life and her relationship with Clive, her husband. Theirs is not a conventional life but the love that she has for their farm, family and animals shines through. A very enjoyable book and I am very much looking forward to reading the next one.

Profile Image for Gail Amendt.
659 reviews24 followers
October 27, 2020
I really enjoyed the author's previous book, so I immediately ordered this one into the library. It didn't disappoint. In this book, Amanda describes the yearly cycle of life on the family's remote hill farm in Yorkshire, with a chapter for each month. We learn of the tasks that are done in each month, and she shares interesting anecdotes about things that have happened in that month, but all the incidents are not necessarily from the same year. There are a lot of flashbacks as she shares stories she probably wished she had included in the previous book. This is a rather strange way to organize things, and I found it a bit disjointed. As a farmer myself, I do find her family's life very interesting, and I admire the way they have melded farm life and family life so well. I really wish I could go and have a visit with them over one of the cream teas they serve to tourists.
Profile Image for Mandy Smith.
426 reviews1 follower
January 13, 2019
More than 5 stars! Since seeing the programme about this family and their farm I am obsessed with this family 😍want to go and live with them!
This book is about Amanda a shepherdess and her family,husband Clive and Seven children on their farm. Each chapter is a different month and is full of what they need to do around the farm in that month and plenty of stories. Loved all the stories and descriptions of the animals,loved reading about the jobs that need doing.Enjoyed all the characters that popped up and the authentic Yorkshire language! I found the sad stuff hard to read because I am a big softy. Really admire Amanda and her family. Need more of them on the T.V and can’t wait to read her other book the one that is before this one .
Profile Image for Rebecca.
118 reviews1 follower
January 3, 2022
I read this second book by Amanda Owen, with my husband again.

In this book, the stories are separated by time of year, rather than being strictly chronological, with tales from each month but spread more widely through time. We did sometimes find this approach slightly confusing but still enjoyed reading about what this farming family undertake throughout a year.

Once again, we really liked the matter-of-fact but warm voice that Owen has and her ability to use humour. Because we know most of the people being written about from Our Yorkshire Farm being shown on TV, we could clearly imagine the way certain people would react or speak and this gave us even more pleasure when reading.

If you’ve any interest in the Channel 5 programme, you most certainly won’t regret reading this.
Displaying 1 - 30 of 125 reviews

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