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Love and Numbers: Stella Quinn gives us the lowdown on FWAW 2023 so far…


Love and Numbers: Stella Quinn gives us the lowdown on FWAW 2023 so far…

Farmer Wants a Wife is back on screen at just the right time. The weather has turned cold, the quilt on the sofa is beckoning, and there’s a load of lovelorn farmers on screen just waiting to warm our hearts.

If you haven’t caught the return of FWAW 2023 this week on Channel 7, now’s the time to get up to speed and get watching.

Host Sam Armitage sets our expectations with statistics as the opening scenes play a montage of rolling hills and kelpies clinging to ute trays. FWAW is a numbers game this year more than ever and has a track record few, surely, reality TV shows could boast: 9 marriages. 5 couples living together. 25 farmer babies.

What are the odds?

Women from all over the country have thrown their ladyhats in the ring for a chance to win a spot at the FWAW house for the show’s opening episodes.

5 farmers meet 8 ladies each for a speed dating session on a picnic rug, or on a ute with a hay bale, or on a shaded verandah, but by the end of the evening each farmer has to whittle down their 8 to 5.

Only 5 ladies can be invited back to the farm.

Only 1 of the 5 can be invited back to the farm 24 hours ahead of their rivals.

So how did it play out? Let’s meet our blokes

Farmer Brad, 32, is a cattle farmer from Cootamundra NSW

He says distance has broken up previous relationships. He rides a motorbike with a ‘kelpie shelf’ on the back (a massive plus in my opinion), and his goal is to meet a woman who gives him that ‘warm and fuzzy’ feeling.

His top 5 from the speed date 8 he meets on a hay bale are:

  • 1st pick: Clare, a 27-year-old preschool teacher who says she’s maternal. (STELLA’S PREDICTION: she’ll be the last wife standing for Farmer Brad)
  • 2nd pick: Morgan, 31, who seemed very sincere.
  • 3rd pick: Corista, 31, loved fishing, very confident.
  • 4th pick: Christina, who didn’t get a lot of screen time in the speed dates – can we read something into that?
  • 5th pick: Natasha, 23, who hoped he wouldn’t be put off by the age difference.

Farmer Brenton is the youngest of the farmers at 26, and farms cattle at Darriman, VIC

He’s shy but ADORABLE, with a full-on country accent.

His picks after the speed dating round are (in order):

  • Sophie, 25, who is TOTALLY STELLA’S PREDICTION. A country girl, she loves netball, and she asked the best question of the night: ‘How’s your mum feeling about all this, Brenton?’
  • Frankie
  • Breanna
  • Emily
  • Rachel, one of the identical twins, with whom conversation was a little awkward because Brenton met her first and he was very nervous, poor lad, but they muddled through in a pretty sweet way.

Farmer Matt is a sheep farmer, 23, from Bookham, NSW

Yowza, Farmer Matt cruised into the FWAW house like a rockstar. Very handsome and he comes across as a bit of a deep thinker! He says he needs FWAW because he’s related to everybody in his home town, and he’s looking for the sort of love his mum and dad have.

Usually I’m a little sceptical about the young ones, but Farmer Matt seems to be the opposite of a player. Sam, the host, calls him ‘the gentleman farmer’ and that’s an apt nickname.

His picks:

  • Alice
  • Chelsea
  • Olivia
  • Annabel
  • Maddison

Farmer David, 29, is an apple farmer from Pozieres, QLD

In my notes, he’s referred to as ‘dude with the ginger mo’. He loves music, and he’s had his heart broken by girls who don’t want to live in the country. He says ‘life is elevated when you meet the right person’ and he is coming across as a total sweetheart. When he whittled his 8 ladies down to 5 for the farm invites, he thanked everyone for being genuine and taking a risk.

His picks:

  • Lorelei, works in marketing, 26. She loves her fitness and health, she’s from the Gold Coast, she’s gorgeous and he did seem smitten (STELLA PREDICTION: I think he’ll pick her in the final roll of the dice)
  • Elle, 30, recruitment manager, chatty, confident, their speed date was ‘sparky’, she says
  • Emily
  • Emma
  • Leah, 27, nurse

Farmer Andrew, 41, is a mixed sheep and cropping farmer from Narromine, NSW

The silver fox of the 2023 season, Andrew has a broad country accent, and he carries a kelpie pup around with him in the promo shots, and both those attributes are totally working for this viewer.

He says he’s looking for someone kind and caring, outgoing and adventurous, who appreciates him. (Are we all thinking hmm, there’s a backstory there?!?)

His picks:

  • Jessie, 36, a creative consultant. She’s confident, says she needs someone to be ‘open minded’ about her creativity which flummoxed Andrew a little. That weird ‘yoga’ word…
  • Claire, 37, is mine truck driver. The show producers played a little piano music as background to her arrival for the speed date that reminded me of the ‘horses on snow’ scene in The Man from Snowy River, and Claire does look a little like our country sweetheart Sigrid. She has some sheep and cattle experience, and put it out there that she wants kids before she’s 40. She is definitely STELLA’S PREDICTION, but she didn’t think Andrew was ‘getting the vibe’.
  • Maddison
  • Kelly
  • Lucie, nurse, 36, very bubbly and thrilled to see he has hair under his hat. She’s pretty lovely: ‘hopefully he’s into chatty girls’.

and five become one…

Sam brings the farmers into a huddle to break the news that one of their 5 can be chosen to get a 24-hour head start on her competitors. Now, I made my predictions before these 5 were announced. (Also, disclaimer: I’m usually wrong every year!)

David chooses Elle

Brenton chooses Sophie

Andrew chooses Claire

Brad chooses Morgan

Matt chooses Chelsea (I didn’t see that coming)

The utes hit the highway…

We’re given a quick afternoon tour of each farm with our farmers and their chosen one, after which the blokes disappear to set up ‘date night’.

Back home in Darriman, Brenton piggybacks Sophie over the mud (aww), they walk along the beach that abuts the farm and, as the sun goes down behind the gumtrees, they go into a shed with a fire, beer and pizza, candles, and a cowskin to recline on. It is stunningly beautiful. Go, Brenton! He tells her she was his number one pick from when he first saw her online application and she is pretty chuffed.

Matt takes Chelsea home to Bookham…and am I the only one getting a weird vibe from the 24-hour date with Chelsea? A Dr Phil vibe? Matt cooks a meal in a pristine-looking blue enamel pan that does not look as though it’s been shoved on hot coals at any time in its existence, and the conversation gets serious real quick. Real serious. But then Chelsea is super sweet and TBH I have no idea where this is all going.

David’s house in apple country, QLD, looks like a total bachelor house with a dog found cavorting on a table (LOL). He sets up a total foodie smorgasbord on the verandah of a little shack overlooking a dam. Blankets, pillows, candles…and these two are getting along like a house on fire. And wait…strawberries perched on the rim of the wine glasses! David’s not mucking around. And he’s so genuine. Elle is not being shy about her interest in David.

Andrew takes Claire home to Narromine and they head straight out to the kelpie’s pen and Claire kisses the pup on the head and, yep, I’m liking this pair. Andrew sets up a picnic table with candles, and then whips indoors to stir up the home-grown lamb in the slow cooker. These two look a great couple! And the impromptu dance lesson in the dirt square among the candles…sniff…nope, I’m not jealous AT ALL.

Brad saddles up the horses when he and Morgan arrive in Cootamundra, and they set off through the fields. Morgan says ‘it’s time to get her flirt on’. And, as Brad so eloquently sums up what we’re all thinking: ‘the date went bloody good’.

the hooks to keep us watching

These are the questions I’m asking as the introduction episodes end and the rivals rock up to the farms.

  • Will Brad ever take his hat off?
  • Will Matt ever lose his cool?
  • Why is Claire crying as the end-of-episode credits roll?
  • Could Brenton and Sophie be any cuter?

and in closing…

It’s been a lot of fun kickstarting the FWAW 2023 season on the romance.com blog. Nothing is as warm-hearted and genuine as country romance…I’m a rural romance writer, so I know these things


Stella Quinn’s next rural romance, A Home Among the Snow Gums, set in the heart of campdraft country in rural NSW, comes out on May 3. A stubborn vet, a wounded hero, secrets they’re unwilling to share…who said love easy?

Hannah Cody grew up sunny, carefree and loved in the Snowy Mountains town of Hanrahan, but a vicious prank at university in Sydney changed that. Instead of studying medicine, she moved to a small regional centre, switched to veterinary science and swore off romance for life. Ten quiet years later, she’s settled. She’s safe. And yeah, she hasn’t left Hanrahan in years, but that’s not agoraphobia, is it? It’s not hiding if you’re happy.

After many years abroad as a naval analyst, Tom Krauss is drawn home by his estranged father’s deteriorating health and his own secret injury. But as soon as he sets eyes on Hannah again, he realises that he’s never forgotten the engaging little sister of his best friend. He loved her when he was a teenager, and now he knows he never stopped. Problem: romance is a no-go. There’s a piece of shrapnel wedged against his spine, and the countdown is on for him to make a surgical decision that could free him from pain … or paralyse him.

But the Hanrahan townsfolk have other ideas: it’s time for Hannah to work out that living with your heart wide open is worth the risk, and it’s time for Tom to learn that love is messy and wonderful and necessary. Change is afoot in this small town, and these two will have to work out if they can be brave enough to make changes too…

Get the book here

Read a sneak peek

When Love Comes To…Tamworth!

Rural Romance authors Stella Quinn, Penelope Janu & Rachael Johns are travelling to Tamworth!

Come and meet them and join us for a fun night of live music, games and the chance to win some great prizes.

Books from each of the authors will be available to purchase on the night to be signed.

Date: 4th May 2023

Time: Doors open at 5:45 for a 6:15pm start

Event will finish around 7:30pm

Location: The Press Basement Bar, The Leader Building – Basement

179 Marius St, Tamworth NSW 2340

Details: This is a free event. Drinks will be available to purchase at the bar

Please RSVP to secure your spot.

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