Book Review: How to be a Perfect Farm Wife by Lorna Sixsmith

Lorna Sixsmith’s second book, How to be a Perfect Farm Wife, is an excellent follow-up to her 2013 debut, Would You Marry a Farmer? 

HTB Perfect Farm WifeThis time, she looks at the transition from being carefree and single to being a farmer’s spouse. (The book mainly looks at women from outside the farming community marrying farmers, but Sixsmith says her advice should work as well for men marrying into a farm — however, they might want to pass on the patterned wellies.) It appears to be a change akin to marrying somebody who speaks a different language, and How to be a Perfect Farm Wife attempts to be a tongue-in-cheek primer to understanding your farmer.

It’s pretty successful in that respect, explaining things like why it’s so difficult for farmers to get away for long (even to the point of when at a wedding — if you can get them there in the first place — they may want to nip home between the service and the reception to check on a few things) and offering tips to improve your chances of talking them into the odd outing.

Another interesting strand is the need for anyone new to farm life to be prepared for the fluctuating finances that comes with the territory. Farm spouses often need to be solid and calm financial managers, as not every farmer is interested or skilled in every single aspect of farm management. An outside source of income often helps, and Sixsmith profiles some home-based business ideas that would pair well with farm life.

Mothers-in-law appear to be the bane of many the new farm wife’s existence, and her again there is practical advice and plenty of humor to help navigate this fraught relationship. Thankfully, modern farmers seem willing — if not always happy — to surrender a bit of land to build a modern house on the farm for the newly weds. Just make sure the mother-in-law doesn’t have her own key!

As with her first book, Sixsmith has done her research, and sprinkles interesting bits of social history throughout the text; even if you’re not seriously considering marrying a farmer, you can learn quite a bit about changing rural life that you might not have realized from the outside. She also includes plenty of mouth-watering recipes that anyone can enjoy, whether you’re cooking for a dozen farm contractors finishing the silage at 2am or just making dinner for yourself and the cat.

Even though I read the book 1000 miles from Ireland and my agricultural involvement amounts to no more than a dozen fruit trees and a large vegetable patch, Sixsmith’s writing gives you the sounds, smells, and rhythms of farm life quite vividly. How to be the Perfect Farm Wife is an enjoyable and informative read, with some delicious recipes.

And if you are considering marrying a farmer, you will have a pretty good idea whether or not farm life would be for you after reading How to be a Perfect Farm Wife!


My review of Lorna Sixsmith’s Would You Marry a Farmer?

You can order How to be a Perfect Farm Wife directly from the author, or enjoy free international shipping from or The Book Depository.

This is the second stop on the blog tour to launch How to Be a Perfect Farm Wife. Look for the next review and maybe more at Life on Hushabye Farm soon…

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1 comment

  1. Lorna’s avatar

    Thanks a million Rich, hugely appreciate it. I’ve had a few phone calls from Irish daughters in law in the last few weeks and yes, the mother-in-law living next door is still alive and well – well meaning sometimes but its just the proximity makes it difficult!
    I have to admit that I really enjoyed doing the historical research – there may be a solely historical farm book happening in the not too distant future.
    Many thanks again, Lorna

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