The Daughter’s Walk by Jane Kirkpatrick is the story of Clara Estby, nineteen-years-old, and her mother, Helga. They set off on an adventure from Spokane, Washington, to New York in 1896. The problem with this adventure is they are on foot and it is an adventure that Clara did not ask to go on. Their family farm is in danger of being lost after the father has been injured, and Helga takes on a risky challenge in order to save it. Clara is at a point in her life where she enjoys her job and has a gentleman she’s interested in. The last thing she wants to do is leave home for a journey that could take six months or more. A dangerous journey, at that. A journey that involves leaving the father at home with the other children, one of them a baby.
Why is this journey something that could save their home? This is during the women’s suffrage movement days and the fashion industry has developed a dress which is shorter than the traditional dresses and they claim it will make life easier for women. If they make the journey by walking from Spokane to New York in these dresses, stopping along the way to get signatures of prominent leaders, they have a chance at winning $10,000.00. Of course, shorter dresses were quite the scandal then and so Helga puts Clara in potential danger just by being a representative of the manufacturer. Clara, additionally, is humiliated each time her mother shares their financial struggles with others. Helga seems to have the family’s best interest at heart but you also get the feeling that she loves being away from her responsibilities at home. She loves the attention.
This walk is historically accurate and is only the basis for the book. There is so much more. Clara must deal with her feelings of inferiority that her mother causes and she must face secrets that shake her foundation. She must learn to stand on her own two feet. Sometimes it’s hard to break away from what you’ve always felt was true about yourself. Clara makes a break from her family, becomes a businesswoman and eventually finds her way in the world. She makes friends with people who teach her wonderful things like faith and love—things she needed to know.
This was my first experience with the author and I liked her style of writing. It was easy. I found my eyes gliding along the pages. She didn’t drag the scenes out too long and I didn’t find myself saying, “Get on with it,” like I do in so many books. The book addresses the issue of equality and it deals with family situations like so many in our world today—less than perfect.
I received this book from the publisher for free in exchange for an honest review. http://www.waterbrookmultnomah.com/bloggingforbooks/