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The Daughter's Walk: A Novel [Kindle Edition]

Jane Kirkpatrick
4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (200 customer reviews)

Print List Price: $14.99
Kindle Price: $7.99
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Sold by: Random House LLC

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Book Description

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)

From the Trade Paperback edition.

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Starred Review. Nineteen-year-old Clara Estby is hauled by her mother, Helga, on a 7,000-mile walk from Spokane, Wash., to New York in 1896. The fashion industry is looking for promotion of the new, shorter dress for women; Helga is looking for a ,000 prize to save the family farm from foreclosure. The historically factual walk is only the first half of the book; the rest follows Clara after she leaves her family, becomes a businesswoman, and makes her way as times change for women at the turn of the century. 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. (Apr.)
(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.


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 ...

Product Details

  • File Size: 1530 KB
  • Print Length: 402 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 1400074290
  • Publisher: WaterBrook Press (April 5, 2011)
  • Sold by: Random House LLC
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B004EWFUX2
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #236,283 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

4.2 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
28 of 30 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A Fascinating Historical Novel April 6, 2011
I decided to read The Daughter's Walk because it sounded like such an interesting story-two women walking across the country for a wager in the late nineteenth century. What a fascinating premise for a novel! The fact that this walk is an actual historical event makes it even more interesting. Of all the main characters in the novel, only three are completely fictional. Clara, her mother, her siblings, and the two female furriers who Clara goes to work for are all real people whose names have not been changed.

The novel spans forty years of Clara Estby's life from the time her mother first decided to walk across the country and take Clara along, to her mother's death decades later. Part one, which is almost half the length of the book, recounts in fictional detail the walk from Spokane to New York City. Part two, which spans most of the second half of the book imagines what Clara's time in exile from her family was like, and part three, which is just a few pages long, tells of how Clara made peace with the remaining members of her family over twenty years later.

The backdrop for the entire story is the early feminist movement, which began to gain widespread support in the late nineteenth century. Helga Estby was a suffragette, and although Clara begins her journey without any feminist inclinations, we soon find her embracing the independent lifestyle of a businessperson which was rarely pursued by women in those days.

Being a Christian novel, there is mention of God, but I feel that this is one of those books where God is tacked onto the story as an afterthought. Take God out of this story and you probably wouldn't miss Him much. Even more disappointingly, there is no satisfying spiritual resolution.
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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars This Book's A Winner on So Many Levels!! February 24, 2011
Format:Paperback|Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
I had my hesitations about this book when I ordered it but once I started reading it, I couldn't put it down. It's a book that should on everybody's reading list. There is so much about Clara Estby and her mother's 3,500 miles trek to New York City from Spokane, Washington on foot to save their family farm and their family. The trek is only a part of the story.

When Clara and her mother return home, they are not happy. Nobody in the family is. A lot happened there while they went to save their farm. Upon their return home, nothing went as planned. I won't spoil the secrets that Clara learns along the way. This story is also about a mother and daughter relationship as well. The book is also about family and the immigrant family experience in the Victorian era. But the book is also about women like Clara and her mother and others who try to fight for equality.

The book is first rate reading material. You will not be disappointed by reading this book. It's just first rate and based on a true story. The author, Jane Kirkpatrick, does a first rate job in writing, researching, and delivering a classic book to readers everywhere. I can't speak enough of this book or read it fast enough.

If I would cast anybody, I would cast Amelia Heinle for the role of Clara Estby and Melissa Leo to play her mother in a film version. I could this story becoming a film classic of high quality.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars More walk, less drama, please June 21, 2011
I have been taken in by tales of cross-country races, like the "Bunion Derby" of 1928, as told in C.C. Pyle's Amazing Foot Race, and the more recent Trans American foot race, as in David Horton's A Quest for Adventure. More recently, I followed Jeff Rudisill's walk across America, which he chronicled at [...]. So I was interested to hear about Helga and Clara Estby's walk across America in 1896.

Think about coast-to-coast travel at that time: transcontinental railroad tracks had been completed less than 30 years before. But Helga Estby boldly accepted a wager from sponsors in the clothing industry to walk from their home in Spokane, Washington to New York. If they complete the walk in the allotted time, they would be awarded $10,000. That money would have saved their farm from foreclosure and helped their struggling family.

Jane Kirkpatrick, an accomplished writer of historical fiction, pieced together the limited historical record of their walk and creates an epic story of the Estby family. The account of the walk itself fills only about a quarter of the book. Most of the book deals with the impact on the family, specifically Clara's life after the walk. Two of Helga's children died while they were on the journey, so the grief-stricken, controlling patriarch forbade the rest of the family from even mentioning "the walk." Helga and her daughter Clara, then 19, had kept detailed accounts of the walk, but the family destroyed those records. This family rift bothered me. Talk about holding grudges: twenty years later, Clara was still ostracized from her family.

Kirkpatrick paints a detailed picture of life at the end of the 19th century and the beginning of the 20th, especially from the women's perspective.
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15 of 19 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Good writing. However.... March 24, 2011
Format:Paperback|Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
The writing in this novel is impeccable. However, aspects of the novel's structure were bothersome. (In the last 100 pages, I felt like I was the one who was walking, walking, walking... getting lost, back on track... walking.... I started skimming after awhile--never a good sign.)

Having said that, the analytical part of my brain makes it difficult for me to fully appreciate historical novels, so that's my bias, not the author's error. I always want to know what exactly did happen with the real person in history, sometimes so much so that I lose interest in the novel and want to go research the real-life subject.

Also, I will admit to skimming all the parts on the fur trade. Warning to animal lovers and animal activists: graphic depictions contained herein. Read with caution. I would make further comments here, but I don't want to sabotage Kirkpatrick's success with this novel. I know there are many fans of historical novels out there who will love it.

Thanks for reading this biased opinion.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
3.0 out of 5 stars Like of Clara.l
It was too drawn out and it was hard to stay interested.
Published 20 hours ago by Katharine Ramfield
4.0 out of 5 stars Enjoyable book
Very interesting read - based on an actual incident. Drags a bit in a few places, but worth the read.
Published 5 days ago by Nikki's Opinion
5.0 out of 5 stars True and litlle-known story
This is a true story of women's courage and resilience, yet not a well-known story. I had never heard of Helga Estby and her daughter Clara before finding this book by chance. Read more
Published 9 days ago by Sylvie
5.0 out of 5 stars A real page turner; loved the historical content!
Couldn't put it down! Don't miss it!
Published 29 days ago by LanaMarie
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
One of Jane's books I will keep and re-read.
Published 1 month ago by Bettina Enneberg
5.0 out of 5 stars Every womans walk?
I gleaned a lot of information and some new insight into an ages old conflict. Woman trying to define who and what she is in her culture. Read more
Published 1 month ago by Kindle Customer
4.0 out of 5 stars Clara finds her way.
Well written with great smilies. We choose this book for book club and I know we'll have much to talk about. Is the story a tragedy or a conquest? Read more
Published 2 months ago by snowbound
5.0 out of 5 stars I want to know more....
Very compelling and enlightening story. I want to know more...
Published 2 months ago by Amazon Customer
5.0 out of 5 stars Awesome story!
Awesome story....incredible that these women could make this journey so many years ago. My book club loved it!
Published 2 months ago by Winnie kane
4.0 out of 5 stars Excellent Read.
Excellent read. My ancestors are Scandinavian and I grew up in Washington which made this historical novel exceptionally appealing. Read more
Published 2 months ago by Jenny Webster
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More About the Author

If you'd like more information about me, please come visit my website at and click on my blog. My dog also has a blog and you can find out what it's like to be Bodacious Bo, too. A monthly newsletter called Story Sparks is my way of sharing books about authors I enjoy as well as commenting on life and love. You'll find out more about me than you probably ever wanted to know!

One item not listed on my lists of books is my selection included in an anthology called "Crazy Woman Creek: Women Rewrite the American West" published by Houghton Mifflin I also have a piece in Storytellers II, a book published a few years ago by Multnomah Press and a few short selections in Daily Guideposts of a few years back. My first novella, "The Courting Quilt" is part of a collection that made the New York Times bestsellers September 2011 in a collection called Log Cabin Christmas. The rest of my writing, as they say, is history. Or it was until my first contemporary came out this fall. Called Barcelona Calling, it's the story of a writer who loses her way as she seeks fulfillment thinking she'll find it with fame. It's a laugh out loud book according to reviewers. I hope you'll enjoy it.

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