Monday, May 4, 2015


James Rebanks is a shepherd whose family has lived and worked in the same area of England for over 600 years! In an age where people cannot wait to grow up and get away from the area of their youth and family, it is refreshing to read an account of a person who always knew where he belonged and knew what he wanted to do with his life. The Shepherd's Life expresses to the reader the deep-rooted love and affection that a man feels for a way of life and his family in a picturesque piece of Britain.

Even as a young lad in grade school, James couldn’t wait to get home to be on the land with the animals and his beloved grandfather. His book tells the story of a year in the life of a shepherd, sending the sheep to the fells in the summer, and gathering the hay into the barn for the coming winter months; buying and selling livestock in the autumn to strengthen the flock; the hard months of winter, when sheep must be rescued and fed through the snow; and the hard work and euphoria of spring, during the lambing season. This is a family who work hard all year round, whose lives and fortunes are tied to the seasons and to the land they live and work on. 

I found the book to be engrossing and well written, to realize there is still a corner of Britain following the ancient ways, and to see part of that lifestyle through the eyes of another person, I found to be invigorating and quite an emotional journey.

- Catherine McGratton

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