The Daughter's Walk: A Novel

The Daughter's Walk: A Novel

by Jane Kirkpatrick

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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780307729415
Publisher: The Crown Publishing Group
Publication date: 04/05/2011
Sold by: Random House
Format: NOOK Book
Pages: 400
Sales rank: 186,599
File size: 2 MB

About the Author

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 actual historical men and women. For twenty-six years, she and her husband Jerry ranched in a remote and rugged section of Eastern Oregon, where she discovered her own homesteading story. She has spoken internationally about the power of story in our lives and is a frequent retreat, conference, and keynote speaker. She and her husband now live with two dogs and a cat on their small acreage near Bend, Oregon.   
 


From the Trade Paperback edition.

Read an Excerpt

Chapter 1 - Decision

My 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 rocks
beneath 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 who
would 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.”

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Daughter's Walk 4.2 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 57 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Honestly, I did NOT enjoy this book. I really had to push myself to read some each day until I had finally finished it. I guess Historical Fiction is not for me, or at least this one in particular wasn't! Basically the book is about a mother and daughter who make the decision to leave their family and home to walk from Spokane, Washington to New York City for a chance to win $10,000 which would save their family farm. Clara, the daughter was uncertain about going, but went ahead with her mother. Through awful circumstances and many disagreements with her mother Clara learned a lot about herself on their journey. Remember that this story took place in 1896 when women had very few rights. When the pair had to return home without the prize money, they were shunned and looked down upon by their entire community. Helga, Clara's mother was forced to live in submission of her husband. Clara did not want this lifestyle for herself so she chose once again to leave home and family behind. I received this book for free from WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group for this review.
Our_Year_in_Books More than 1 year ago
A Daughter's Walk is the story (based on actual people) of a mother-daughter team who decide to walk across the United States, sponsored by a group of investors to promote dresses (that ladies can walk in) and save the family farm at the turn of the 20th century (an actual time). I think this is where actual history and fictional history part ways and the author takes over in the storytelling department. The story becomes a basic prodigal story without the squandering of inherited fortune and without the loving father taking back the wayward daughter. I did not really enjoy this book. I got through it but I found it tedious and mundane. Each of the story elements seemed to be attempts to be historical fiction. Yes, I do know that should be an accomplishment, given it's intended genre. But what I mean is the author seemed to be working to make it historical in nature. She has entire paragraphs where she attempts to show the passing of time by almost listing the things she found out about the period when she was conducting research. It is not woven into the story, it is an obvious "this is the time we are talking about" device.
Hollysmith More than 1 year ago
In 1896, Helga Estby and her daughter Clara, journey on foot from Spokane, Washington to New York City in a desperate attempt to save their family farm. Much to the dissatisfaction of their community, they leave their family behind to make the six month trek across the county. During the time spent on their walk, Helga reveals a deep secret that alters her perception of her family. Upon their return to Spokane, several years later, Clara continues to walk. . .but this time away from her family. She relocates and changes her name, leaving a rift between her and the ones she loves the most. Based off a true story, Jane Kirkpatrick explores Clara's life that follows the great walk of 1896. I'm not sure how to sum up my experience with this book, except to say that this story is like none I've ever read. It gripped me and fascinated me in a way that no other work of fiction has ever done. The tone of this novel differed from other novels, but that didn't deter me. Mrs. Kirkpatrick is a master at bringing real-life figures into pages of fiction. Since this book is written in first-person, and because Mrs. Kirkpatrick does such an outstanding job with these characters, I constantly I had to remind myself that I was reading a piece of fiction and not Clara's actual biography. This book is not your typical work of fiction. I found the pace a little slow, yet every second equally compelling. I'm not sure how the author accomplished that, but somehow, for this novel, it truly works. The Daughter's Walk tore at my emotions and touched me deeply. This is a fascinating fictional account about a young woman who forges on in a time when women were undervalued and fighting for their rights. I highly recommend this story. Readers who enjoy Nancy Moser's fictional accounts of real-life figures will devour The Daughter's Walk. Anyone who reads this story will come away with a new perspective on forgiveness and family. **I received a complimentary copy of this book from Waterbrook/Multnomah in exchange for an honest review.
MKMar More than 1 year ago
Jane Kirkpatrick does not dissappoint in this novel of a Mother and daughter walk across America and then the reprocussions. The story is so interesting I was unable to put it down and was disappointed when the story ended.
karieh on LibraryThing 8 months ago
I started reading ¿The Daughter¿s Walk¿ 5 months ago. The first 60 pages, for whatever reason, just turned SO slowly. I was not drawn into this amazing tale, even based as it is on fact, and despite the fact that I grew up in the area where this walk began.So I put it aside¿for a long time¿and finally picked it up again¿and this time, I was hooked. There¿s a shift where the story changes from the mother¿s nearly obstinate determination to force her daughter to walk across the country with her to where the daughter finally starts to shape the events, finally takes steps of her own choosing.And then I was astonished by the fact that the walk ends¿on page 94 of a 375 page book. Wasn¿t this incredible journey the main focus of this story? Turns out no¿and as I realized that while the mother¿s walk across the United States represented the apex of her life, it was only the base of her daughter Clara¿s life. Her journey started as the walk ended, the journey to understand her mother and herself. She would choose her path after the walk had ended, and those steps turned out to be some of the most difficult.Clara goes back and forth so often as she tries to come to grips with the aftermath of the walk, the resulting circumstances of her family. At times, the resentment of her mother¿s choice seems to be the prevailing force for her choices.¿If I could repeat my success each year, I¿d have a nice little nest egg soon. I was doing what I¿d set out to do, making my way with sound decisions that hurt no one else.¿At other times, ¿Maybe Mama knew the price I would have paid if I¿d remained. I would have suffocated inside the silence, watching my tongue, not pursuing what I wanted. I had a freedom Ida never knew, never chose. My mother gave me a gift by sending me out, an expression of confidence that I could make it on my own.¿This daughter¿s journey is so real, is neither easy nor impossible. She realizes through her mother that her life is her own¿but that each choice has consequences. That decisions made, even those made responsibly and with the best of intentions, may result in a change completely unforeseen.¿Change is kind of like a prayer, isn¿t it?¿ Louise mused as she refilled our cups with hot water. ¿We present it and have faith it¿ll be received as intended, perhaps even better, trusting that one day it¿ll be answered in a way we hope is fruitful.¿As much as I struggled with the beginning of the book, I was fascinated by the end. Author Jane Kirkpatrick lays out the details of the true story behind her novel¿showing the reader what sources of information she used to flesh out the facts. The Author¿s Notes were a story in and of themselves, and increased my enjoyment and appreciation of this author¿s work dramatically. This tale she has woven from articles, interviews, intensive research¿became one of fully formed and flawed people. A mother and daughter who struggle to find their way in the world, and in their relationship with one another.And in the end, the daughter¿s path leads her back to her mother. ¿I put aside the rightness or wrongness of what had happened those years before and just met my mother where she was.¿
lkernagh on LibraryThing 8 months ago
Starting in 1896 at Mica Creek, Washington State, the story starts out with Norwegian American Helga Esterby accepting a published wager from the fashion industry to walk from Spokane, Washington to New York City within seven months in an effort to will/earn the ten thousand dollars prize money offered to save the family farm. On this journey, she takes her eighteen year old daughter Clara. Helga's husband, Ole does not approve of this journey, and the older children that will be remaining on the farm to help their father take care of the farm and the family, are also skeptical. As part of the wager, Helga and Clara will wear and promote the new shorter, 'bicycle skirts' that promote the growing suffrage movement and women's rights. Understandably, young Clara has her own doubts about this journey.While the story starts out as a fictional travelogue of sorts following this historic trek, it soon delves into a personal journey for Clara as she learns a shocking truth while making the walk with her mother, with a lingering impact that leads Clara through a number of life altering decisions.According to the author bio, Kirkpatrick is the author of more that 15 historical novels that are based on the lives of actual women. This story is no exception. Kirkpatrick has built this story based upon the extensive census, employment, deed and mortgages records, newspaper clippings and first person family descendant recollections. Where gaps in the facts existed, Kirkpatrick has allowed her imagination to step in and take over.I loved Kirkpatrick's descriptions of the locations, politics, and moral sentiments of the time period, (1896 to 1942). As fascinated as I was by her detailed descriptions of the fur fashion industry and advancements in furriers/trapping/farming of the period, I found my appreciation for the story being dragged down by my lack of interest in the characters. Bogged down may be a better term. I just could not connect with the characters, except on a superficial level, mainly because I found the characters rather 'lacking' in substance considering they were supposed to be representative of strong women that chose to conduct business and engage in business ventures that were, for the time period, considered a man's purview.Overall, a solid historical research piece with vivid descriptions for the time period that are, in my opinion, at times overshadowed and hindered by weak character development.
Coranne on LibraryThing 8 months ago
I thoroughly enjoyed this book. I expected more of the book to be about Clara and Helga's walk to New York, but that seemed to only be about the first third of the book (meaning on the first third involved Clara, Helga, and their family). The rest of the book spans Clara's remaining life and talking about her journey beyond her family.I thought that the characters in this book were well developed and the plot was paced well. I felt very sorry for Clara- she never seemed to have any good happen to her. This is definitely not a book to read if you are looking for a light and fluffy book. The author deals with Clara's family problems in an honest and refreshing way. It was downright painful for some pages of the book.Read this book- you will absolutely enjoy it.
iluvf14 on LibraryThing 8 months ago
When I selected this book, I didn't realize that portions of it were historically accurate--that the walk actually took place. For that era, it was unheard of for a wife to disobey her husband, leave her children, and independently take charge of herself. I'm in awe of what Helga Estby and her daughter, Clara, accomplished.Clara initially refuses to accompany her mother on the trip, however she acquiesces realizing her mother will go alone if necessary. Once the journey begins, mother and daughter begin a new book in their relationship. Clara learns much about her mother that didn't know before and begins to respect this new woman in her life. It always touches my heart when a parent and child begin to really "know" each other even though they have lived together day in and day out. This relational shift is a gift to both and to future descendants--think of the stories that can be passed down!Unfortunately for Helga, her life was irreparably altered after the walk. From the way her family treats her to the way others perceive her. For Clara, her life is also transformed but in a different way (I don't want to give it away!!). Would they have done the walk knowing their future outcome? Would they have done anything differently?This is the first book I've read by Jane Kirkpatrick and I have to say I am very impressed with her writing style, the way she develops the characters and how they actually become family to the reader. Her descriptions of surroundings and circumstances is also well done. Ms. Kirkpatrick has surely done her research of the walk and it shows. I know I will be looking for other books written by her. The Daughter's Walk has earned a 5-star rating from this reader--thank you Ms. Kirkpatrick and Waterbrook Press!This Book was provided by Waterbrook Press through the "Blogging for Books" program in exchange for an unbiased review. The opinions expressed were my own.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
The portion of the story that is based on history (the walk) was interesting. However, the story that is "woven" after the walk was a bit unbelievable and the ending disappointing.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Reading a bit of history was very enjoyable. Time spent between mother and daughter is special and never forgotten. The joy and hardships of lives in the early 1900 made for a book one hates to put down.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Based on a true story, this book is riveting! The main character is absolutely fascinating. The novel incudes: hard work, trapping, a walk across America, bitter family relationships, jeolouscy, other great traveling places, enduring friendships, loss loves, remarkable spirits, and much much more. Excellent book. Another excellent historical fiction based on facts is The Partisan by William Jarvis. Both books deserve an A+++++
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Very heart rendering and cant wait to read other books by ths author
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Very well written and easy to follow! I enjoy all of her books.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This character grows up before your eyes!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
LucyBH More than 1 year ago
Very well written story of Clara & Helga's crossing from Oregon to New York on foot in 1800+ promoting a reform dress to raise funds for salvation of their farm. The rest ... is a beautiful sad story. It has moments of joy and peace and hope that Clara will finally get a success she so desires and longs for. However what she does longs for the most is family relations.
ductapewallet More than 1 year ago
This book is based on a true story and founded on fact, rooted in history, and almost forgotten. A story that should not have been but for the unplesantness of life and family crashing down around one young woman who lived an extrordinary life despite what was thrown at her. Clara is chosen by her mother, as the eldest child in the family, to join her in a walk across the entire country in 1896, in a gamble to earn enough money to save their family farm while showing that women are strong and showing the new fashion, a dress that didnt have a corset and had a higher hemline was going to be the dress of the future. They set out to walk from their home in Washington state and are to end up in New York walking more than 7,000 miles in 7 months by themselves. Mother Helga Etsby and daughter Clara manage to walk across the country, but their lives are forever changed when the things that they learn on the trip give Clara a different view of their family. When tragedy strikes, the family dosn’t hold together as it should, instead Clara and Helga are forbidden to talk of their months of walking, and Clara is cast out for not obeying this. She turns to some unlikely allies, and sets out on a different path. Her path leads her away from her family and into a family of her own making, although unusual, it holds and sticks with her through good times and bad, even through the more than 20 years before Clara starts to reconcile with the family she was born to. This story shows how blood isn’t always thicker, and sometimes you have to choose your family to do what is best for you to live and God won’t abandon you even if you walk away from Him. Talking about religion and faith with her new family Clara hears a debate asking “whether one ought to worship Jesus as a signpost or by following His direction. “If you see the sign saying ‘seventy miles to Coulee City’ you don’t stay there saying, ‘Yes, this is what matters. Iwill worship the sign.’ No, you follow the directions; you follow Him. Thats true worship, by doing what He asks of us.” Clara’s work ethic is something that stands out through the whole book, and in my life I keep seeing people that dont care enough to try hard enough at the tasks, the jobs they are given. Clara thinks “Passion allows you to see through the mists of disappointment or failures. Earn a little less, but have work you enjoy” and a friend asks her ” ‘ didn’t you say once that all new ideas are suspect because we tend to appreciate what already exists? Anything new dosn’t carry that substance.’ “ These 2 ideas are so true they just jumped off the pages and stuck with me. When I finished the book, I read the follow up, where the story came from ,what facts the author based the story on, and again I wound up heartbroken seeing that it took almost 100 years for the pain caused one woman by her family to fade so that this amazing story of courage and strength, faith and rejection,pain and love could be told. I’m glad this story came to light and has now been shared with us, the book was well written and I enjoyed it! “I received this book for free from WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group for this review”.
PJtheEMT4 More than 1 year ago
I normally don't enjoy fiction novels, not even those under the umbrella called the "Christian" genre. Most "Christian" novels are either Amish love stories or just simply romance stories in general. Even the genre "historical" fiction usually is another name for a romance novel that takes place either in Amish country or in the 1800s out west. I usually find them dull, predictable and uninspired. The Daughter's Walk by Jane Kirkpatrick is quite different. True to its claim, it actually is to be considered a historical fiction novel True details about society's standards, the townspeople and technologies are faithfully included. Even the descriptions of towns, characters and circumstances are well researched right to the very last little detail. Historical facts and accuracy enlighten the reader as well as add to the authenticity. This book held my attention from the start. It was not a chore to read. The author challenges the common social view of the mother- parent relationship. The mother, Helga Estby, is portrayed as impulsive, enthusiastic and strong- willed woman. She is willing to confront and change society's standard of the role of women. In contrast, the daughter is more level headed, and reistant to change. Clara, the eighteen year old daughter often questions and admonishes her mother for what she deems to be irresponsible and impulsive choices. Yet her 19th century sense of duty and loyalty ensures that she will obey and follow her mother. There is no disrespect or refusal. Both the mother and daughter have distinct yet strong moral characters and a strong sense of familial duty, even though the expression is vastly different. This is the story of an adventure that a mother embarks in order to save the family farm from forclosure. There is risk and danger involved- physical and emotional as well, yet hope drives Helga to pursue the course. Though she is hesitant, Clara goes with her mother out of a sense of duty. The story chronicles their adventures and interactions with the 19th century world around them. A map chronicles the path of their journey. I found myself turning to the map in order to get a preview of how far into their journey that they were. As a blogger for WaterBrook publishers I received this book for the purpose of writing this review. the opinions expressed are my own.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
As with all of Jane Kirkpatrick's books this is a great book. It is a glimpse into the history of the first world war era which takes place around north east Wa. but gives includes some world views too. Very worth reading.
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GracieO More than 1 year ago
This is a book you won't put down. The family dynamics, the hardships, the hope that is woven throughout this story makes it a great read.
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