Hilarie Burton Morgan: „The Rural Diaries“ – it’s all about compassion, empathy and the will to change

„First of all, you don’t know me.

Second of all, you don’t know me.“

Any of you One Tree Hill Fans out there will definitely know these words spoken by one of our favorite characters, Peyton Sawyer.

With that comes the question: When do we really know one person?

I am not silly to think that 100% knowledge about one person exists, but it is always great to get to know and understand a fellow human who inspires you and who is a good influence in your life a little bit better.

So here comes: The Rural Diaries

Have you ever felt really invited into someone’s life without feeling awkward about it?

Hilarie Burton Morgan has been a positive influence and inspiration to me for a long time – not just because she is one hell of an actress (f.e. she worked on Lethal Weapon, Forever, White Collar – just to name a few), who has found her women empowerment roles in christmas movies, but because she is walking the walk of doing good things for her community, encouraging others to do the same and changing her life when she needed it the most. Now she is happily married to Jeffrey Dean Morgan, loves her two children, Gus and George, dearly and is a farm lady who is just is as tough as they come with a heart of gold.

„Love is like farm work. It requires consistency, and imagination. Your body will ache and you will be fatigued, but there is no greater reward than seeing the fruits of your labor.“

(Hilarie Burton Morgan: The Rural Diaries, Preface, page x)

When I first heard about Hilarie writing a book, I was definitely in for pre-ordering it. There was just no other way. Then, when the time of the book-release came closer I was really excited, because not only was a convention planned in May in Paris with Hilarie attending, it was also the weekend before the official release date – and my hopes were high that she would bring copies to sign.

In the times leading to this, the Corona virus hit the world – and the convention was postponed. So I really couldn’t be more excited when Hilarie announced that she would partner with her community bookstore, Oblong Books and Music, to send out signed copies of „The Rural Diaries“. It was a natural thing to order and to support small shops who were having a hard time during the lockdown.

Only two days apart the copies arrived – one pre-ordered book and one signed copy from Oblong Books and Music in Rhinebeck.

Since I was so looking forward to reading her story and getting to know her a little bit more, a few days earlier I purchased the audiobook – and it was just as amazing as I thought. On my way to work and back home I listened to Hilarie telling me about key moments in her life, from loosing a good friend during the war in Iraq to meeting Jeffrey Dean Morgan, to getting pregnant the first time with Gus and feeling lonely in Los Angeles to battling depression after her first miscarriage to finally becoming a mom to sweet George and marrying Jeffrey in 2019.

The most wonderful thing about this audiobook: you can hear every emotion Hilarie wants to share, the good, the bad, the funny and the ones that nearly make you cry.

„The next morning Jeff made coffee and we opened gifts. Gus tore into his presents, and then I got up to make breakfast, feeling the letdown of a holiday ending.

‚Hold on, there is something in the tree,‘ Jeffrey said.

I looked and there was a white envelope that read „Hilarie“. I opened it up, thinking it was a gift certificate. But inside was a piece of paper that read „Morgan“

I turned around, and Jeffrey was down on one knee with the ring.“

 (Hilarie Burton Morgan: The Rural Diaries, page 59)

 All these moments play a vital part in Hilarie becoming the wonderful human she is today – and in her book she also shares her stories of failure and how it is good and healthy to embrace these moments, learn from them and go on in your life being stronger and more self conscious than ever.

For the food-lovers – there are some great receipes in „The Rural Diaries“, which are on my list to try out some time soon. Also Hilarie shares her insights and learnings about being a farm lady and caring for ducks, cows and alpaca.

 „Sunny walked me through how to give them their deworming shots once a month, and I went to school on alpacas. I learned that, thankfully, they are the least-high-maintenance animals on the planet.“

(Hilarie Burton Morgan: The Rural Diaries, page 91)

If you are like me and are interested in reading reviews before you order a book – you probably won’t find anything negative while doing your research – because there just isn’t.

„The Rural Diaries“ is just that – honest words about a life lived through changes, through challenges, through dark days and losses but always with a heart full of longing and hoping and fighting for better days.

 „I’m sorry,“ he said.

Jeffrey had finally seen me. We talked about our grief. We talked about how we both felt like failures. We talked about how lonely we were.

Suddenly, with his hands in his pockets, Jeffrey was a different person. He was incredibly vulnerable. He talked to me about how much he valued me and that this was home and that it was worth any fight.

And as we talked, he started helping me. He stood and went to get a whole bunch of rocks, laying pathways through the garden for me. Each path was a manifestation of what he was saying.

We worked on this garden together.“

(Hilarie Burton Morgan: The Rural Diaries, page 199)

 „The Rural Diaries“ is not just about family moments, its also about life-changing and positive moments regarding work: Hilarie tells about her work with organisations like Astor Services for Children and Families, which is a treatment center for children with behavioral issues. Becoming involved with renovating the floors and working for the well-being of the children not only helped her personally but also brought her and Jeffrey closer together.

„Jeff started doing a lot of press with me to promote Astor. […] He’s incredible generous with himself. So when he’s home, that’s his time to recuperate.

Watching him use his reserves to promote Astor made me fall in love with him all over. He knew it was important to me, so it became important to him. Jeffrey had shown up, and I knew that meant we were going to push through the shitty stuff together and keep going.

From that moment on, we were stronger than we’d ever been. In working for others, we found ourselves again.“

(Hilarie Burton Morgan: The Rural Diaries, page 210)

Another important part of her life is Samuel’s Sweet Shop and in telling how they met Ira Gutner, to mourning his sudden death which then leads to buying the sweet shop to save it – it’s also another story filled with love, compassion and the will to work and help when others are in need to be saved.  

There is so much more I could say about this diamond of a book – but I really would like to encourage you to read it and to see for yourself – or hear, if you prefer the audiobook, which is a real treat. (And with that coming from me, who is not a big fan of audiobooks in general, you could definitely trust my words with that one.)

 And – if you ever feel stuck in life, I would like to share a saying of Hilarie’s father, that is an important one in every aspect of living: „The Want-To creates the How-To“ – or as Hilarie has put it in words a while ago: If you want something bad enough, you will find a way to make it happen. If not, it just wasn’t the right thing for you.

 So – I really hope you will read this book and hopefully it will enrich your life in many aspects.

„All the lessons we’d gathered from living here, from buying Samuel’s, from engaging with our neighbors and celebrating their talents – we wanted to share that.

The same way I had been inspired by other people’s stories when I was low, I wanted to pay it forward and continue to message:

Try. The want-to creates the how-to.

And if all else fails, just fake it. But for God’s sake, at least try.“

(Hilarie Burton Morgan: The Rural Diaries, page 254)


You can find everything about Mischief Farm on their website here.

And if you want to check out Hilarie and Jeffrey on Instagram, you can do it here and here.

~ Nathan van Coops: „In Times Like These“ ~

Mit Zeitreisegeschichten ist das so eine Sache: manchmal gefallen sie und lassen sich gut lesen – und manchmal hat man andere Erwartungen und wird enttäuscht. Das geschieht vielleicht auf Grund der eigenen Vorstellungen oder weil man als Leser eventuell auch eine Verfilmung gesehen hat und dadurch unterschiedlich vorgeprägt ist.

It’s a thing with stories about time-travels: sometimes you like them and they are a good read – and sometimes you have other expectations and get disappointed. That could happen because of your own perceptions or it happens that you have seen a made-to-movie version of the book and are thinking of that all the time.

Some time ago I tried to read the standard work of this kind of books: „The Time Machine“ of H.G. Wells – and I got influenced by the movie with Guy Pearce. This book is lost for some time to me and I haven’t tried to read it again.

Ich habe bereits vor einiger Zeit versucht, sozusagen das „Standardwerk“ zum Thema Zeitreisen zu lesen – „The Time Machine“ von H.G.Wells – und wurde durch die Verfilmung mit Guy Pearce beeinflusst. Dieses Buch hat zur Zeit seine Wirkung für mich verloren und ich habe auch nicht noch einmal angefangen, es zu lesen.


Das Buch von Nathan van Coops allerdings hat mich gleich irgendwie fasziniert. Vielleicht auf Grund des Titelbildes. Auf jeden Fall hat mich das Titelbild dazu verleitet, das Buch zu lesen – und es war keine Enttäuschung.

The book by Nathan van Coops was fascinating me from the beginning. Maybe it’s because of the title image – but at least that image made me read the book – and it was worth it.


Der Autor lebt in Florida und arbeitet derzeit an der Fertigstellung des dritten Bandes seiner Zeitreiseromane.

The author lives in Florida and is currently working on finishing the third book in this time-travel-series.


Nun zum Inhalt:

What is this book about?

Benjamin Travers hat ein relativ gutes Leben: er hat Freunde und ein mehr oder weniger tolles sportliches Hobby.

Die Geschichte ist aus seiner Perspektive erzählt und so lernt man alle weiteren Charaktere durch seine Augen kennen und schätzen. Freundschaft und Loyalität sind Benjamin wichtig und er tut im Laufe des Buches alles mögliche, um seinen Lieben zu helfen.

Benjamin Travers is used to his relatively good life: he has friends and a sporty hobby which he didn’t seem to like that much.

The story is told from his point of view and so one gets to know all the characters through his eyes. Friendship and loyalty are really important to Benjamin and in the course of the book he would do anything to help the ones he loves.

Übrigens nimmt die ganze Geschichte auch ihren Lauf während einer Spielunterbrechung durch Starkregen.

By the way: the whole story kind of starts during a game-break while the rain is pouring.


Benjamin und seine Freunde werden von einer Art Blitz getroffen und durch die Zeit katapultiert. Sie landen im Jahre 1985 und müssen sich erst einmal dort arrangieren.

Benjamin and his friends were kind of struck by lightning and got transportated through time. They land in 1985 and have to go along with that.

„Guys, I hate to tell you this, but I think we might be in the eighties.“

(page 19)

Zunächst sind sie natürlich ziemlich verwirrt, da alles doch ziemlich surreal für sie ist und die 80er Jahre doch eine Weile her sind.

In the beginning all of them are kind of baffled: everything is new and surreal for them and the 80s kind of happened a while ago.

First they need some place to stay and in this way there are also new and interesting ways for one of the friends: Robbie:

Sie brauchen zunächst einmal einen Unterschlupf und so ergeben sich auch für Robbie – einen der Freunde – interessante und schöne persönliche Möglichkeiten:

„I would have been… four,“ Robbie says. „My grandparents died when I was four, but they might still be alive right now.“ He talks excitedly. „I could have a chance to talk to my grandparents again before they die!“ He looks at me. „I don’t know if that would screw things up as much as seeing our parents, but their house isn’t very far away.“

(page 26)

So lernen sie alle Robbies Großvater kennen – einen netten älteren Herren, der froh ist über die schöne, wenn auch ungewöhnliche Bekanntschaft mit seinem erwachsenen Enkel.

So all of them get to know Robbies grandpa – a really welcoming and friendly older man who is thankful for the nice but unusual experience of meeting his adult grandson.


Sie erfahren auch Hilfe von anderer Seite auf ihrer Suche nach einer Möglichkeit, ins Jahr 2009 zurückzukehren. Ein anderer Zeitreisender, Dr. Harold Quickly, klärt sie auf und lehrt sie die wichtigsten Dinge über die Theorie der Zeitreisen. Und natürlich zu gegebener Zeit auch über die praktischen Dinge.

The friends also get help from another man while looking for a possibility to get back to 2009. Another time-traveller, Dr. Harold Quickly, is teaching them the main theories of time-travel and partly also offers them practical training.

„What would have killed us?“ Francesca asked.

„Oh, any of a log list of very unpleasant things,“ Dr. Quickly replies. „Electrocution for one, but the most likely would have been that you would have been left floating in outer space.

You see, one thing that many people fail to realize when talking about time travel theory, is that one cannot effectively travel through time without also traveling through space.“ […]

„How did we end up alive then?“ I ask.

Wir als Leser verfolgen die Bemühungen der Gruppe, die notwendigen Fertigkeiten zum Zeitspringen zu erlernen.

Mit Hilfe ihrer Chronometer springen sie für kurze Zeiten vor und zurück – und lernen dabei auch einen nicht besonders freundlichen Zeitreisenden kennen: Stenger. Er ist ein psychopathischer Serienmörder, der auf der Suche nach seinem ganz besonderen Opfer ist: Dr. Quickly!

We as readers can follow the efforts of the group to learn their skills to travel back in time – or forth.

With the help of their chronometers they get to learn to jump in time – and they also get to know another – not so friendly – time traveller: Stenger. He is kind of a psychopathic serialkiller who is looking for a special kind of victim: Dr. Quickly!


Die Freunde lernen auch Dr. Quicklys Tochter Mym kennen, die ihre ganz eigenen Absichten hat, die Freunde auf die Reise nach Hause zu schicken.

Doch während des gemeinsamen Sprungs zurück in ihre „Heimatzeit“ geraten die Dinge ein wenig außer Kontrolle.

The friends also get to know the daughter of Dr. Quickly: Mym. This girl has her own plans why she wants to send the friends back home.

But when doing the jump to get back to their „hometime“ something is going wrong…

Benjamin and his friends are back in 2009 – but in a time unlike the time they left…

Die Freunde finden sich zwar im Jahr 2009 wieder – jedoch in einer anderen Welt, als sie sie verlassen haben…


Werden Sie zurück in Ihre Zeit finden?

Will they find their way back to „their“ 2009?

Was sind Myms Gründe für ihre Intervention?

What are the reasons for Myms intervention?

Wie hat sich das Jahr 2009, in dem Benjamin & Co. gelandet sind, verändert?

How is the 2009 the friends come back to different than the one they were originally from?

Welche interessanten Personen lernen die Freunde auf ihrer Reise kennen?

How many interesting people the group will get to know and how could they help?


„In Times Like These“ ist ein schön geschriebener Roman, der einen als Leser komplett in die Geschichte zieht. Alle Charaktere sind sympathisch gestaltet und man kann sich in jeden einzelnen hineinversetzen.

Die Handlung des Buches könnte man sich auch gut als Serieninhalt vorstellen. Zeitreiseserien gab es ja früher schon, z.B. „Zurück in die Vergangenheit“ mit Scott Bakula. Diese Serie ist auch etwas besonderes und ich habe sie früher gerne gesehen und sehe sie auch heute noch gerne im TV.

„In Times Like These“ is a beautiful novel who completely draws you in. All the characters are quite likeable and one can rely to everyone of them.

The storyline could also work as a series.

There have been time-travelling series before, like the one with Scott Bakula called „Quantum Leap“. This series was something special and I loved to watch it back then and still like to watch it now.


Nathan van Coops ist übrigens auch in den sozialen Medien wie Facebook oder Twitter gut unterwegs.

Seinen Nachfolgeroman „The Chronothon“ gibt es übrigens hier zu erwerben.

Nathan van Coops is also active on social media, f.e. Facebook or Twitter.

The follow-up novel „The Chronothon“ is available here.