In 1896, Helga Estby and her daughter Clara walked from Washington State to New York City, a distance of 4,000 miles, in seven months in the hope of raising $10,000 to save their farm from foreclosure. But that journey is only the beginning of their story, as the tragedies that follow their accomplishments and what they learn upon returning home are enough to separate Clara from her family for decades. Estranged and alone, it will take the power of faith and forgiveness for Clara to accept healing and to walk into a present joy and a hopeful future.
A mother's tragedy, a daughter's desire and the 7000 mile journey that changed their lives.
In 1896 Norwegian American Helga Estby accepted a wager from the fashion industry to walk from Spokane, Washington to New York City within seven months in an effort to earn $10,000. Bringing along her nineteen year-old daughter Clara, the two made their way on the 3500-mile trek by following the railroad tracks and motivated by the money they needed to save the family farm. After returning home to the Estby farm more than a year later, Clara chose to walk on alone by leaving the family and changing her name. Her decisions initiated a more than 20-year separation from the only life she had known.
Historical fiction writer Jane Kirkpatrick picks up where the fact of the Estbys walk leaves off to explore Clara's continued journey. What motivated Clara to take such a risk in an era when many women struggled with the issues of rights and independence? And what personal revelations brought Clara to the end of her lonely road? The Daughter's Walk weaves personal history and fiction together to invite readers to consider their own journeys and family separations, to help determine what exile and forgiveness are truly about.
"Kirkpatrick has done impeccable homework, and what she recreates and what she imagines are wonderfully seamless. Readers see the times, the motives, the relationships that produce a chain of decisions and actions, all rendered with understatement. Kirkpatrick is a master at using fiction to illuminate historys truths. This beautiful and compelling work of historical fiction deserves the widest possible audience."
Publishers Weekly (Starred Review)
From the Trade Paperback edition.
Nineteen-year-old Clara Estby is hauled by her mother, Helga, on a 7,000-mile walk from Spokane, Wash., to New York in 1896. The fashion industry is looking for promotion of the new, shorter dress for women; Helga is looking for a $10,000 prize to save the family farm from foreclosure. The historically factual walk is only the first half of the book; the rest follows Clara after she leaves her family, becomes a businesswoman, and makes her way as times change for women at the turn of the century. Kirkpatrick has done impeccable homework, and what she recreates and what she imagines are wonderfully seamless. Readers see the times, the motives, the relationships that produce a chain of decisions and actions, all rendered with understatement. Kirkpatrick is a master at using fiction to illuminate history's truths. This beautiful and compelling work of historical fiction deserves the widest possible audience. (Apr.) Copyright 2011 Reed Business Information.
Praise for The Daughters Walk
"Jane Kirkpatrick is a wonderful writer who creates a story full of strong, admirable characters with human flaws. Clara and Helga come to life with dimension and depth, pulling us into their world. I walked across the country with them, experienced their triumph and disappointment, and faced the shattered, angry family when they returned. Jane has given readers a wonderful story of a family schism that comes full circle to love and grace, and of the importance of family, especially when one has been an outcast. I highly recommend The Daughters Walk!"
Francine Rivers, best-selling author
"Jane embraces the finest qualities of the human spirit in all her writing. One of Americas favorite storytellers."
Sandra Dallas, author of Prayers for Sale
"Jane Kirkpatrick brings immense integrity to historical imagination, using her consummate skills as a historian sleuth and psychologist. A compelling portrait of Claras own bold entrepreneurial spirit gives readers believable insight on how a mother and daughters love survives financial hardship, a courageous thirty-five-hundred-mile walk, family tragedy, and estrangement. Bravo!"
Linda L. Hunt, award-winning author of Bold Spirit: Helga Estbys Forgotten Walk Across Victorian America
"Jane Kirkpatrick gives us inspiring stories of women who accomplish amazing feats. She has done it again with the poignant story of Clara Estby, who walked with her mother from Spokane to New York in a desperate bid to save the family farm from foreclosure. What was left for this daughter when her connection to family was severed? Jane brings Claras story to life."
Deon Stonehouse, Sunriver Books and Music
"Jane Kirkpatricks attention to detail and ability to craft living, breathing characters immerses the reader into her story world. I come away entranced, enlightened, and enriched after losing myself in one of her novels."
Kim Vogel Sawyer, best-selling author of My Heart Remembers
"The Daughters Walk brings to mind another much-loved book, Mamas Bank Account by Kathryn Forbes, which became the Broadway play and movie I Remember Mama. Janes Norwegian characters captivated me in much the same way. Uplifting and heartbreaking by turns, this is a wonderful story, superbly written."
Irene Bennett Brown, author of Where Gable Slept and the award-winning young-adult novel Before the Lark
From the Trade Paperback edition.