I'll be honest, the 4,000 on foot historical non-fiction journey between Norwegian Americans, Helga Eastby and her daughter, Clara to rescue the family farm from foreclosure had me on the edge of my seat! Helga is a determined, independent soul trying to do what's best for the family and believes if one finds a fork in the road, the Lord will guide and reward your path! I was fascinated with her, yet quite frustrated with Clara. I felt she was often portrayed sometimes as a female Davie Crocket, cold, reserved, uncooperative, in general unlikeable. There also wasn't enough discussion on women's suffrage, politics, fashion, of the time. I wanted to learn more of the facts, instead they were cut short. This is a fair novel, but for those like me that enjoy to indulge in the truth, I'd recommend reading 'Helga Eastby's Forgotten Walk Across Victorian America'.
In the story written by Jane Kirkpatrick a mother and her 18year old daughter walk from Spokane, Washington to New York City in an effort to raise money to save the family farm. The story takes place in 1896 during a time when the nation was struggling with womens rights. The disagreements and strive that this causes within the family forces the daughter to start out on her own and develop a new life.
Daughters Walk is historical fiction with thought provoking challenges for the characters that bring the reader to consider their own lives and family relationships.
An interesting look at life through the eyes of women from 1896-1942. This was an interesting story from history that few have probably ever heard of and one that I had certainly never heard.
In 1896 a mother accepted a wager from the fashion industry to walk from Spokane, Washington to New York City within seven months to earn ten thousand dollars. Helga Estby hoped to save the family farm with the money and thus set out with her oldest daughter leaving behind her husband and seven other children.
Clara, eighteen, was not happy about having to trek across the US with her mom but the journey shaped her in ways she never could have imagined. After the year long trek she left her family behind and sought to make her own way in the world.
The first half of the book is about the trek that Clara and Helga Estby completed in 1896. While the first part is the most historically accurate of the book I found it hard to get into and ended up skimming it. The second half was more interesting and read more like a novel. But it's based more on educated guesses.
Clara's family hated it that their mom and sister had been gone for so long and refused to let them speak of it. Clara left for that reason and kept in her possession some of the memorabilia of the trip. Those items were found later by a grand or great-grand niece and it is from those items that the story was finally revealed to the world.
I wouldn't call this a great book but it was truly fascinating to learn about women in business in the early 1900s. The author does a good job portraying the emotions behind decisions and showing how ordinary life was affected and not affected by World War I, suffragettes, and politics. The portrayal of family and friendship is another well done aspect of the story.
Disclosure: I received this book for free from the publisher for review purposes. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own.
The Daughter's Walk by Jane Kirkpatrick is the story of Clara Estby, nineteen-years-old, and her mother, Helga. They set off on an adventure from Spokane, Washington, to New York in 1896. The problem with this adventure is they are on foot and it is an adventure that Clara did not ask to go on. Their family farm is in danger of being lost after the father has been injured, and Helga takes on a risky challenge in order to save it. Clara is at a point in her life where she enjoys her job and has a gentleman she's interested in. The last thing she wants to do is leave home for a journey that could take six months or more. A dangerous journey, at that. A journey that involves leaving the father at home with the other children, one of them a baby.
Why is this journey something that could save their home? This is during the women's suffrage movement days and the fashion industry has developed a dress which is shorter than the traditional dresses and they claim it will make life easier for women. If they make the journey by walking from Spokane to New York in these dresses, stopping along the way to get signatures of prominent leaders, they have a chance at winning $10,000.00. Of course, shorter dresses were quite the scandal then and so Helga puts Clara in potential danger just by being a representative of the manufacturer. Clara, additionally, is humiliated each time her mother shares their financial struggles with others. Helga seems to have the family's best interest at heart but you also get the feeling that she loves being away from her responsibilities at home. She loves the attention.
This walk is historically accurate and is only the basis for the book. There is so much more. Clara must deal with her feelings of inferiority that her mother causes and she must face secrets that shake her foundation. She must learn to stand on her own two feet. Sometimes it's hard to break away from what you've always felt was true about yourself. Clara makes a break from her family, becomes a businesswoman and eventually finds her way in the world. She makes friends with people who teach her wonderful things like faith and loveâ€”things she needed to know.
This was my first experience with the author and I liked her style of writing. It was easy. I found my eyes gliding along the pages. She didn't drag the scenes out too long and I didn't find myself saying, "Get on with it," like I do in so many books. The book addresses the issue of equality and it deals with family situations like so many in our world todayâ€”less than perfect.
I received this book from the publisher for free in exchange for an honest review.
"The Daughter's Walk" is a well-written novel based on an often neglected historical event that occurred in America in the early Victorian era. Jane Kirkpatrick entwines fact with fiction in a rich dialogue that makes the characters come alive and draws the reader into the lives, struggles, and emotions of each character.
Not only does Jane Kirkpatrick succeed in the retelling of this historic event but she also addresses issues within the story that nearly everyone has struggled with or will struggle with in their lifetime: resentment, bitterness, rejection, forgiveness, love, and learning to overcome the hardships that the world often throws at us. Every character in "The Daughter's Walk" is wonderfully human and flawed.
This novel touched me personally in the character's struggle to know God's will versus her own. I felt a bond with Clara as she often faced difficult decisions and circumstances amid hurt and confusion. Oftentimes I wonder if an opportunity is from God or if it is because I am seeking an escape or running away from a difficult situation. Two quotes that particularly touched me were the last part of the verse from Isaiah 30:21 which flows through the book as one of the main central themes, "This is the way; walk ye in it." , and the second is advice from Clara's mother when she was talking to her daughter after their failed journey: "Remember Clara. Listen for His voice; don't trust your own" (pg. 142). Both quotes empathize a reminder on dependance on God and listening for His voice above our own desires.
This novel is beautifully put together and holds your attention right from the start up until the last sentence. That being the case, I wasn't able to put the book down and read it from start to finish in one day. I highly recommend this book to readers who enjoy historical fiction and nonfiction.