The Daughter's Walk: A Novel by Jane Kirkpatrick
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
“We are going to walk to New York City, Clara, you and I”- not exactly the words that you would expect to come out of your own mother’s mouth. And did I mention this walk was to originate in Spokane, Washington and that the time was 1896? Two women unaccompanied by a man and out to “save the farm” literally in an effort to earn ten thousand dollars provided by sponsors of the walk to pay off their mortgage on their farm. Not your everyday undertaking I must say, but then neither is this book. Jane Kirkpatrick’ offering of The Daughter's Walk: A Novel is truly historical fiction at its finest, as this book is based on a true story. The tremendous amount of research helped to make this story truly come alive and to ring very true to the reader.
Clara Etsby starts off on what proves to be an incredible journey with her mother Helga to walk across the county wearing the new reform dress- a garment meant to symbolize “freedom for busy, active sturdy women” and to show that women did indeed possess endurance. A walking advertisement if you will to promote Women’s suffrage. Along the way they meet much adversity and I don’t want to give away anything there, but as a result of these two taking the walk, and much tragedy at home, there is a “family schism” that last for years. The story continues to follow Clara’s story and her life “after the walk”- the people she meets, challenges she faces and her growth as she reaches for reconciliation with her family. The characters are very real and the depth in their development is definitely there.
I must say that it is apparent to me that Jane Kirkpatrick put much time, energy and imagination into this story of Clara Etsby and later Clara Dore’. She obviously did her homework as it comes through in flying colors in the story. Might I suggest that the reader takes the time to read the Author’s notes and acknowledgements at the end of the book? It is truly fascinating to follow her research trail and see how she pieced this story together based on interviews with relatives, historical documents and experts on the time. I must admit a small bias as the story largely takes place in the Spokane area- I’m very familiar with this area being from Washington State so I really personally enjoyed all the geographical references. If you like a good historical novel with very real characters, I highly encourage you to pick up this book.
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.
View all my reviews