Monday, June 13, 2011

Book Review -- The Daughter's Walk

I haven't been feeling well lately so instead of crafting, I've been doing a lot of reading. I promise to get back to the crafting & uploading my projects very soon!!! Stay with me! :)

Strong, Resilient Characters—Historically Fascinating

From the Publisher

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.

My Take

When I selected this book, I didn’t realize that portions of it were historically accurate—that the walk actually took place. For that era, it was unheard of for a wife to disobey her husband, leave her children, and independently take charge of herself.  I’m in awe of what Helga Estby and her daughter, Clara, accomplished.

Clara initially refuses to accompany her mother on the trip, however she acquiesces realizing her mother will go alone if necessary.  Once the journey begins, mother and daughter begin a new book in their relationship. Clara learns much about her mother that didn’t know before and begins to respect this new woman in her life.  It always touches my heart when a parent and child begin to really “know” each other even though they have lived together day in and day out.   This relational shift is a gift to both and to future descendants—think of the stories that can be passed down!

Unfortunately for Helga, her life was irreparably altered after the walk. From the way her family treats her to the way others perceive her.  For Clara, her life is also transformed but in a different way (I don’t want to give it away!!). Would they have done the walk knowing their future outcome? Would they have done anything differently? 

This is the first book I’ve read by Jane Kirkpatrick and I have to say I am very impressed with her writing style, the way she develops the characters and how they actually become family to the reader. Her descriptions of surroundings and circumstances is also well done.  Ms. Kirkpatrick has surely done her research of the walk and it shows. I know I will be looking for other books written by her. The Daughter’s Walk has earned a 5-star rating from this reader—thank you Ms. Kirkpatrick  and Waterbrook Press!

This Book was provided by Waterbrook Press through the "Blogging for Books" program in exchange for an unbiased review. The opinions expressed were my own.

About the Author

Jane Kirkpatrick is the award-winning author of 17 novels and 3 non-fiction titles, including the 2010 WILLA Literary Award winner, A Flickering Light, and her latest, The Daughter's Walk.  A Mental Health professional, she brings her interest in healing and inspiring the human spirit into researching and writing about the lives of actual historical men and women. For twenty-six years, she and her husband Jerry ranched in a remote and rugged section of Eastern Oregon, where she discovered her own homesteading story. She has spoken internationally about the power of story in our lives and is a frequent retreat, conference, and keynote speaker. She and her husband now live with two dogs and a cat on their small acreage near Bend, Oregon.   

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