The Daughters Walk is the new historical novel by Jane Kirkpatrick. Jane writes about women in history who are significant in their own way, and this book is no exception. 1896 Helga Estby and her daughter, Clara, undertake a risky challenge in an effort to save their family farm from foreclosure. They must walk from Seattle to New York. If they make it before the deadline, they will be awarded $5K, enough to pay off the farm.
The first half of the book is their walk including their struggles and triumphs. It is fascinating how they are able to make it, without all the modern conveniences we consider essential. They could not beg but were expected to work for their room and board. They found some compassionate along the way, but were also shunned by others.
The second half of the novel is where Kirkpatrick shines! She creates a story for Clara following the historical walk. While she is shunned by her family, she finds success with the help of others.
This book is very well written and is captivating. The story moves along well and the characters are come alive. As compared to A Gathering of Finches, Walk is easy to read. Clara is trying to find herself and her self assurance. I really enjoyed this book and would recommend this to others.
I received this book from Waterbrook Press by being a member of their Blogging for Books program. All opinions expressed are my own.
Based on true events, this novel tells the story of the famous 3,500 mile walk made by Norwegian Helga Etsby and her daughter Clara in 1896, when they followed the railroad from Washington to New York. The story continues on from there to tell how the walk affected their lives and how Clara lived the next twenty years estranged from the family she tried so hard to help. While the walk is a real historical event, the author has used research and speculation to fictionalize an event and create a tale that is very captivating.
I found a lot to ponder about this book. The walk in itself was a great feat and I found myself wishing that it had been a little more detailed. There are many questions I have about how that was really like for two women to be alone and make the trek across country. The rest of the story after the walk was very interesting and I felt deeply for Clara and her struggles with her family, who did not realize the sacrifices she and her mother had made. I caught myself not liking Claras sister Ida at all. She was so very judgmental and treated her mother like a naughty child. The book deals with family dynamics in a very realistic way that will make every reader stop and consider her own family relationships.
While the writing is good and the story interesting, I have to admit that I was rather disappointed with the ending. It did not turn out exactly as I had hoped. The book also did not have as much spiritual content as I would expect from a Christian fiction novel. Its a clean story but that is about it. Given the title of the book, it would have been nice if it encouraged people in their Christian walk as well.
I received this complimentary copy from WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group through their Blogging for Books program. A positive review was not required and the opinions expressed here are my own.
I know I have said it before but I will say it again, Jane Kirkpatrick is one of my favorite writers! She finds historical women figures that I have never heard of and their stories are so interesting! I find it incredible the way she weaves the historical facts with fiction to the point that every novel seems like a detailed true account of the persons life.
A Daughters Walk is about a young woman, Clara Etsby and her mother, Helga who in 1896, walked 3,500 miles from Spokane Washington to New York City. They did so in an effort to save their family farm that was about to be foreclosed and earn $10,000; quite a tidy sum back then.
Helgas accepted the challenge from a wealthy group of sponsors. The purpose was to promote the new reform dress which was shorter, showing the ankles and worn without corsets. The new fashion was publicized for busy, active women. Two women walking cross country alone was shocking enough in the Victorian Era, but in such risqué clothing too?! This was exactly the reaction the sponsors wanted. Helga and Clara would be given $5.00 to start out but they must earn the rest of their money along the way to meet their needs. They could accept no rides and they had to be in New York City in 7 months.
Olaf, Helgas husband and children, including Clara, were totally against the trip. Helga refuses to listen. Her husband is injured and unable to provide for their large family. As Scandinavian immigrants, she cannot bear the thought of losing all they have worked so hard to obtain. Their walk began on May 5 and was end December 13th. Goodbyes were hard, leaving her 8 children and husband behind to care for each other.
Even with Helgas determination and strong faith in God, she was not prepared for the hardships they would face, or the price the trip would exact when they returned. They were robbed, struggled through rain and snow storms, blistering heat, harsh terrain, and bitter cold. Not to mention facing mountain lions, rattle snakes, hunger, illness and many times no shelter to sleep in. They arrive 2 weeks short of the deadline and lost the wager.
Their story does not end with the walk. Upon their return home they find two of the children have died and their family will never be the same again. They forbid either of them to talk about the trip. In bitterness, Claras family rejects her for supporting her mother in her endeavor. She ventures out on her own, with the same determination and courage that gave her mother the strength to make the walk. She is blessed when two rich business women take her under their wing, give her a job, mentor her, educate her, support her, and love her. It is no surprise that in time they become her new family. No matter what her accomplishments or the unconditional love she receives, she always longs to be reunited with her family. From beginning to end this is a story of a womans indomitable spirit to overcome tragedy and heartache. The combination of Ms. Kirkpatricks meticulous historical research and incredible writing talent make this an unforgettable book! I would like to thank Jane Kirkpatrick for the opportunity and privilege to review this book.
I received this book free from the author. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own.
Here is a link to her web page. I hope you will go and check out her other wonderful books. http://www.jkbooks.com/
I found this story to be well written and it went into detail about women suffrage. This story was about a family's struggle to gain money for the mortgage on their farm. Helga and Clara go on a walk to New York, not able to beg for food and shelter, but having to work for it, with the goal of $10,000. Clara learns a lot about independence and finds herself a place in life. Although she is shunned by her family. I found this story to be a great journey.
Jane is definitely one of my favorite authors, as I learn something new and enlightening with every book I read. This book is no different - many new and interesting facts are woven within the story of this daughter's walk on not only a trek across the states and back, but also through life.
Do yourself a favor and read, "Bold Spirit: Helga Estby's Forgotten Walk Across Victorian America" by Linda Lawrence Hunt before even thinking about reading this book. I hate to admit that I only got 10 pages into this book before I became so disgusted with the author that I have no intentions of ever reading anything else by her again. Extreme much? Why yes..yes I am. First of all the book reads like it took place in 1996, not 1896. The wording sounds like the same dialog that takes place between my daughters and I now. Secondly, and this is what I had a hard time getting past, was that the story immediatley went into making Helga look like she was some sort of tyrant who brushed away anything her family said to her as if they were annoying her. Maybe it became a little different deeper into the book, but this really rubbed me the wrong way since this story was almost lost because Helga's family was angry with her. There were a few other inaccuracies that I caught, but I find it pointless to even speak about.
I loved reading this book and could not put it down. I liked that it followed history, and in the end detailed which parts were recorded, and which sections the author had to fill in. I was inspired that this mother and daughter completed such a walk.