The Ladies of Low Arvie: Living the Farming Dream
By Linda Watson
Reviewed by Angie Mangino
Rating: 3 stars
In the introduction to The Ladies of Low Arvie, Linda Watson shares the crux of the story.
“A farm, a small piece of land that we could call our own, where we could live out the second half of our lives in harmony with nature and at peace with the world, perhaps grow corn or rear cows, whatever the land we bought dictated. This was our dream. We were lucky. We found it and we live it.”
By recording this story, Watson hopes to inspire readers to follow their own dreams.
The 34 short chapters capture every detail from before the purchase of Low Arvie in Scotland. Follow as they leave England, complete with moving her ninety year mother closer to her. Discover the problems of the land, and the help from neighbors. Join in the acquisition of the cows whose calves bear the royal title of Lady prior to their names, until that first batch of calves reached fruition.
It is an inspiring story, told slowly and in precise detail, as if the reader was at her table sharing a cup of tea hearing it. Sometimes there is too much detail, more like a personal journal record than a memoir story shared. The short length of the chapters, however, makes this more workable. To be a much more powerful rendition of this story to inspire others more forcefully, much more showing and less detailed telling would have improved on the story. There are only short snippets of dialogue throughout, where if more of the details came out in conversation, the story would have compelled the reader more effectively.
Yet while reading every detail may be a bit cumbersome, the one thing that comes through strongly is the passion for the farm and those “ladies,” and the willingness to pull up roots and stick with it to take a chance to fulfill a lifelong dream. That is a story worth telling.