Monday, May 23, 2011
Book Review: The Daughter's Walk, A Novel by Jane Kirtpatrick
The Daughter's Walk A Novel by Jane Kirkpatrick is 388 pages long and includes a Reader's Guide with questions to answer which would be useful if you were reading this book as part of a discussion group. The book also has an Author's Notes and Acknowledgements which includes the behind the scenes information on the sources Jane used to write the fiction parts of the book. I found the sources interesting to read about after I had finished the novel.
The Daughter's Walk is based on a remarkable true story. It begins with a wager a mother and her daughter accept. They agree to try to walk from Spokane, Washington, across the United States to New York City in nine months. If they make it they will receive $10,000 dollars. The year is 1896 and the women will be promoting the reform dress and showing the stamina women possess. The story is written from Clara's(the daughter) viewpoint. When the women return home Clara separates from her family to live a life on her own. Jane Kirkpatrick weaves a story of what Clara's life may have been like from her research into the Estby family.
As we follow Clara through her life we learn about suffrage, the fur industry, and what life would have been like as a single woman living in the early 1900's. Christian faith and the importance of family are two themes carried throughout the story.
I was intrigued by the journey of the mother and daughter across the country. They had to walk 27 miles per day for seven months to make it on time. They also had to earn the money they needed for food and supplies and planned to spend 2 months working at odd jobs. They were not allowed to beg for food or a place to sleep but could accept help if it was offered.
I think the author wove together an interesting story of what Clara's life was like after the walk. The emotions she would have felt as a result of her separation were believable and I felt like I was there with her. I have gone through something similar to what Clara did and the thoughts she expressed were some of my own. I became a little perturbed at some of the women's rights messages that came through the story but I don't think they were overdone. I'm just sensitive to things like that. Overall it was an interesting story and I enjoyed learning about the time period from a different perspective. The book has made me interested in reading more about Helga and Clara Estby.
I received a free copy of this book from WaterBrook Multnomah in order to write this review and have shared my honest opinion.