The Daughter's Walk: A Novel by Jane KirkpatrickThe Daughter's Walk: A Novel by Jane Kirkpatrick

The Daughter's Walk: A Novel

byJane Kirkpatrick

Paperback | April 5, 2011

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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 history’s truths. This beautiful and compelling work of historical fiction deserves the widest possible audience.”
Publishers Weekly (Starred Review)
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 act...
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Title:The Daughter's Walk: A NovelFormat:PaperbackProduct dimensions:400 pages, 8.24 × 5.52 × 0.81 inShipping dimensions:8.24 × 5.52 × 0.81 inPublished:April 5, 2011Publisher:The Crown Publishing GroupLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:1400074290

ISBN - 13:9781400074297

Reviews

Rated 5 out of 5 by from UNIQUE AND ENTHRALLING HISTORICAL FICTION! 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 risqu? 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. http://www.jkbooks.com/
Date published: 2014-11-18
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Fascinating Historically Correct Read! Story Description: Doubelday|April 5, 2011|Trade Paperback|ISBN: 978-1-4000-7429-7 A mother’s tragedy, a daughter’s desire and the 3,500 mile journey that changed their lives. In 1896 a 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 3,500-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 decision 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 Estby’s 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 history’s truths. This beautiful and compelling work of historical fiction deserves the widest possible audience.” (Publisher’s Weekly Starred Review) My Review: In 1896, Clara Estby, nineteen, is forced by her mother, Helga, on a 3,500-mile walk from Spokane, Washington to New York City. The women of this era wore long dresses and skirts that covered their ankles and most of their shoes. The dresses would be caked with mud or soaking wet at the hemline from inclement weather. Even in good weather, the long dresses accumulated a lot of dust and debris. Now the fashion icons are searching for women to promote their new, shorter dresses and Helga needs the $10,000 prize money for completing the walk on time in order to save their family farm from foreclosure. This is actually a true story with fictionalized story lines interweaved into the narrative to fill in the blanks where research was not available or complete enough. Helga Estby was real – a Norwegian-American immigrant most noted for her walk across the United States in 1896. Helga arrived in Manistee, Michigan in 1871 and in 1876 she married Ole Estby who was an immigrant from Grue, Norway where his daughter, Clara would one day visit later on in the book. The farm Helga was trying to save from foreclosure was located in Mica Creek, Spokane County, Washington. Ole, Helga’s husband had had an accident and couldn’t work so they couldn’t pay the taxes or the mortgage. Clara did not want to go on this walk with her mother but she wasn’t given any choice. The only thing that Clara could see in the shorter skirts and absence of corsets: “…was that we could run faster from people chasing us for being foolish enough to embark on such a trek across the country, two women alone.” Helga had wanted Clara to join her on the walk to also prevent her from getting involved with men. Ole was furious that his wife, Helga was taking on this walk and made his disgust and anger well-known. It would also mean that Helga would be away from her other 7 children – Lillian, Johnny, Billy, Arthur, Bertha, Ida, and Olaf – leaving the childcare to Ida and Olaf for a year! During Helga and Clara’s walk, many family secrets were divulged and one in particular would change the course of young Clara’s life forever and cause her to change her name and initiate a twenty-year separation from her family, even her mother, Helga. The first half of the book is dedicated entirely to the historically factual walk and the second half is dedicated to Clara after she leaves the family and becomes a businesswoman bent on creating her own family and becoming financially self-supporting. It is glaringly obvious that Jane Kirkpatrick has done an amazing amount of research before writing this book. I was so enamoured with the story that once I was done, I did some research of my own and found her facts to be historically right on. The Daughter’s Walk is a book that everyone should read and I’ll be recommending it to anyone and everyone. It was well-written and seamless. Kudos to Ms. Kirkpatrick. I think this is my “4th” favourite book I’ve read this year out of the 192 books I’ve read so far. This will definitely be part of my permanent collection. Excellent!!
Date published: 2012-12-18
Rated 3 out of 5 by from Historical Fiction by a Beloved Author "The Daughter's Walk" by Jane Kirkpatrick In 1896, Helga Estby and her daughter, Clara, embark on a journey that would change the course of their lives and alter their family dynamics forever. In order to save the family farm, Helga takes on a challenge by a team of sponsors to earn $10,000 by walking from Spokane, Washington to New York City within 7 months and with the condition they are to earn their own way, wearing the new "Reform Dresses". Being the mother of several children, the youngest younger than two, her Norwegian husband strongly disagrees with the venture, but Helga is determined, seeing it as a way out of foreclosure for her family. Forcing her 18 year old daughter, Clara, to quit her job and accompany her, she strikes out on an amazing journey that brings many hardships and dangers but also many joys. Receiving shocking news on several fronts, the two return home after having been gone a year, having accomplished the walk, but also failing to collect the money when the sponsors don't pay up, facing criticism from both family and a community that is scandalized by what they did. Criticism so harsh that it causes a rift within the family. Forbidden to speak of the journey, Helga's spirit is crushed and she retreats into her everyday life, while Clara leaves her family to make her own way starting a rift that would last 20 years. Based on the true story of these two women's lives, Jane Kirkpatrick writes a story filled with historical fact and weaves fictional story into it to fill in the unknown pieces. I found the writing of the actual walk fascinating as was the suffragette movement, it's involvement in the women's walk and the reactions of the day to what many considered a scandalous endeavor. It was also fascinating to me to be drawn into the relationship between mother and daughter, their reactions to one another, and their understanding of one another as the journey progressed. I was kept mesmerized throughout that part of the story. The story did start to slow down for me in the middle, however, after the walk and rift had occured during all the explanations of the fur industry of the time, not something I'm particularly interested in. However, the compelling emotional aspects of the characters and wondering if the rift would be healed kept me reading and I'm glad I did. A must read at the end is the Author's Notes and Acknowledgements. It fills in all the details of the historical facts and what parts were fiction. It made the story come to life. I'd recommend this story just for the study of what drives people, what makes us decide to do the things we do and for the fascinating true story of two women who went against the society norm in the hopes of bettering life for their family. Thanks to Waterbrook Multnomah for providing a copy for review
Date published: 2011-08-03

Read from the Book

Chapter 1 - DecisionMy name is Clara Estby, and for my own good, my mother whisked me away. Well, for the good of our family too, she insisted. Trying to stop her proved useless, because when an idea formed in her Norwegian head, she was like a rock crib anchoring a fence: strong and sturdy and unmovable once it’s set. I tried to tell her, I did. We all did. But in the end, we succumbed to her will and I suppose to her hopefulness, never dreaming it would lead where it did. I certainly never imagined I’d walk a path so distant from the place where I began.But I’m getting ahead of myself, telling stories out of sequence, something a steady and careful woman like me should never do.It began on an April morning in 1896, inside our Mica Creek farmhouse at the edge of the rolling Palouse Hills of eastern Washington State, when my mother informed me that we would be walking from Spokane to New York City. Walking, mind you, when there were perfectly good trains a person could take. Walking—thirty-five hundred miles to earn ten thousand dollars that would save our farm from foreclosure. Also to prove that a woman had stamina. Also to wear the new reform dress and show the freedom such garments offered busy, active, sturdy women.Freedom. The only merit I saw in the shorter skirts and absence of corsets was that we could run faster from people chasing us for being foolish enough to embark on such a trek across the country, two women, alone.We were also making this journey to keep me “from making a terrible mistake,” Mama told me. I was eighteen years old and able to make my own decisions, or so I thought. But not this one.Mama stood stiff as a wagon tongue, her back to my father and me, drinking a cup of coffee that steamed the window. I could see my brother Olaf outside, moving the sheep to another field with the help of Sailor, our dog, dots of white like swirling cotton fluffs bounding over an ocean of green. Such a bucolic scene about to reveal hidden rocksbeneath it.“We are going to walk to New York City, Clara, you and I.”“What?” I’d entered the kitchen, home for a weekend from my work as a domestic in Spokane. My mother had walked four hundred miles a few years earlier to visit her parents in a time of trial. We’d all missed her, and no one liked taking over her many duties that kept the family going. But walk to New York City?“Why would we walk, and why are we going at all?” I had plans for the year ahead, and I figured it would take us a year to make such a trek.My father grunted. “She listens to no one, your mother, when ideas she gets into her head.”“Mama, you haven’t thought this through,” I said.My mother turned to face us, her blue eyes intense. “It’s not possible to work out every detail in life, but one has to be bold. Did we know you’d find work in Spokane when we left Minnesota? No. Did we think we’d ever own our own farm? No. These are good things that happened because we took a chance and God allowed it.”“We didn’t expect me to become injured, to mortgage the farm because we needed money to plant and live on,” my father said. It sounded like they’d had this argument more than once but never in front of me. “Bad things can happen, and this…this is a bad thing, I tell you.”“There is nothing certain in this life,” she said to both of us. “We must grab what is given. ‘Occupy until I come,’ Scripture tells us. ‘Multiply’ is what that word occupy means. Here is our chance to do that, to save this farm, and all it requires is using what God gave us, our feet and our perseverance, our effort and a little inconvenience.”“A little inconvenience?” I said. “I have plans for the summer, and I’m going to go to college in the fall and work part-time. I can’t leave my job.”“I, I, I… Always it is about you,” my mother said. “You won’t have money for school if we lose this farm. You’ll have to work full-time to help this family. You see your father. He can’t do carpenter work as he did before. One must risk for family. We must trust in the goodness of human nature and God’s guidance.”“But who would pay us for such a thing? Do you have a contract?” The wealthy Spokane people I served often spoke of contracts and lawyers and securities as I dipped squash soup into their Spode china bowls or brushed crumbs from their tables into the silver collectors before bringing chocolate mousse for dessert. These were businesspeople whowould never try to multiply by walking cross-country without a written contract.“These are trustworthy people. They have the New York World behind them and the entire fashion industry too.”What Mama proposed frightened me. “If we make it, how do we know they’ll pay us?”“If we make it? Of course we’ll make it,” she said.My father sagged onto the chair at the table, held his head with his hands while my mother flicked at the crumbs of a sandbakkel cookie collected on the oilcloth. I wondered if she thought of my little brother Henry. He’d loved those cookies.“Who says these sponsors are reliable?” I said. I was as tall as my mother but had a rounder face than either of my parents. My mother and I shared slender frames, but her earth-colored hair twisted into a thick topknot while my soft curls lay limp as brown yarn. My mother set her narrow jaw. She didn’t take any sassing.“Never you mind.” She brushed at her apron. “They’re honest. They’ve made an investment too. They’ll pay for the bicycle skirts once we reach Salt Lake City, and they’ll pay for the portraits. They’ve promised five dollars cash to send us on our way. The rest we’ll earn. Can’t you see? It’s our way out.”“So you say,” my father said. He ran fingers through his yellow hair, and I noticed a touch of white.“But why do I have to go?” I wailed. “Take Olaf. A man would be safer for you.”“It’s about women’s stamina, not about a man escorting a woman. And you… You’re filled with wedding thoughts you have no business thinking.”My face burned. “I’m not,” I said. “He’s… I work for his family, Mama.”How she knew I harbored thoughts of a life with Forest Stapleton I’d never know. I was sure I’d never mentioned him. Well, maybe to my sister Ida once, in passing.“I know about employers’ sons,” Mama said. My father lifted his head as though to speak, but my mother continued. “Besides, family comes first. You can go to college next year, when we have the money. What we need now is that ten thousand dollars so we can repay the mortgage and not lose this farm. It could go to foreclosure if we don’t do this.” My father dropped his eyes at the mention of that shameful word. “Ole, God has opened a door for us, and we would slight Him if we turned this down,” she pleaded.“How can you leave your babies?” my father said then, his voice nearly a whisper. “How can you be away from Lillian and Johnny and Billy and Arthur and Bertha and Ida and Olaf—”“I know the names of my children,” my mother said, her words like stings.“Ja, well then, how can you leave them?”“It is only for a short time, seven months, Ole.” She sat next to him at the table, patted his slumped shoulder. “They will be in good hands with you and Ida and Olaf to look after them. It is a mark of my trust and confidence in you that I can even think about doing this thing.” She looked at me now. “When I walked before, that four hundred miles in Minnesota, you did well, all of you. It made you stronger. And I came back.” She patted my father’s hand. “I’ll come back. We will, Clara and I. Everything will be as it was before but with the mortgage made. The entire farm paid off, money for each of my children to go on to college when they want. No more worries about the future.” She took his silence as agreement. “Good. We go into Spokane later this week for our portrait,” my mother said to me, relief in her voice. “These will be sent to the New York papers and the Spokesman-Review.”My father winced.“People in Spokane will read about this?” I said. The thought humiliated. What would Forest think? What would our neighbors think?“People across the country will know of it,” my mother said. She almost glowed, her eyes sparkling with anticipation.“American women listen to their husbands,” my father said in Norwegian. “Or they should.” He rose from the table, shoved the chair against it, and stomped out.I wanted my father to forbid her to go so I wouldn’t have to leave either. I didn’t dare defy her; I never had. We always did what she wanted. I was stuck.“He’ll come around,” my mother said more to herself than to me. “He’ll see the wisdom of this. It’ll work. When we succeed, then, well, he’ll be grateful I did this for him, for the whole family.”“Maybe he will,” I said. “But don’t expect me to ever be.”

Editorial Reviews

Praise for The Daughter’s 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 Daughter’s Walk!”—Francine Rivers, best-selling author“Jane embraces the finest qualities of the human spirit in all her writing. One of America’s 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 Clara’s own bold entrepreneurial spirit gives readers believable insight on how a mother and daughter’s 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 Estby’s 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 Clara’s story to life.”—Deon Stonehouse, Sunriver Books and Music“Jane Kirkpatrick’s 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 Daughter’s Walk brings to mind another much-loved book, Mama’s Bank Account by Kathryn Forbes, which became the Broadway play and movie I Remember Mama. Jane’s 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