Book Description: 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 Walkweaves 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 Review: The year is 1896 and this is an incredible story of a Norwegian-American immigrant named Helga Estby who with her 19-year-old daughter walked from Spokane, Washington to New York City. Her family had suffered from hard times and their farm was in imminent danger of foreclosure. The purpose of the walk was an attempt to win a $10,000 prize that would save their farm.
What an incredible journey! First of all, Clara is a somewhat unwilling participant (I say somewhat because we all truly do what we want). Then secondly the weather conditions described are not always applicable for walking . . . rain, hard winds, cold, sleeping outside unless a stranger took pity on them and allowed them to rest for the night in the shelter of their home.
After all the hardships of travel. Helga and Clara must return home empty handed.
Then instead of being commended for trying to save the farm Helga is accused of abandoning her family and her neighbors think of her as a scandalous woman for going off to win the prize.
The 1896 woman was under her husband's rule. So, after the trial of the walk Helga becomes a woman who gives up all her "rights." Whatever he says she agrees. However, Clara for all her disagreements with her mother learned more than she realized and refuses to allow her father to rule her life.
This is one of those stories that should be in our history books! Incredible is the only word I can think of to describe this awe inspiring read!
It's an intense but I must finish it kind of read. Don't miss this fantastic historical one of a kind read!
*This book was provided for review by WaterBrook Press/Multnomah*