The Daughter’s Walk By Jane Kirkpatrick

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 person’s life.
A Daughter’s 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.
Helga’s 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, Helga’s 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 Helga’s 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, Clara’s 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 woman’s indomitable spirit to overcome tragedy and heartache. The combination of Ms. Kirkpatrick’s 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.


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