Historical travel memoirs are my favorite books, so it’s no surprise that I loved The Daughter’s Walk: A Novel by Jane Kirkpatrick. The Daughter’s Walk is based on the true story of Helga and Clara Etsby, who accepted a challenge in 1896 to walk 3500 miles across America for $10,000 (which would be the equivalent of approximately $250,000 in 2010 dollars). Actually, Helga accepted the challenge, and we’re never quite sure if it was due to impulsiveness or deliberation. Clara, more practical than her mother, is resistant to the trip, as are Helga’s husband and her other eight children.
The story continues to follow Clara after she and her mother return from their journey. Despite heartbreak and feelings of betrayal, she determines to follow her dreams and in the process learns what family is really about.
Is there a difference between bravery and recklessness? When does self-respect cross the line to too much pride? Why is it so hard to forgive ourselves and others? What began as a trip to save the family farm and show the world what women can do, completely changed the lives of Helga, Clara and everyone around them. This book reminds us that through life’s tragedies, we can choose to lie down and give in or we can stand up and fight back.
You can read the first chapter of the book here. There are also two videos on this site. Don’t watch those unless you want to find out what happened at the end of the walk. (Personally, I like to follow the story as it unfolds, but I know some people don’t mind a little “spoiler”.)
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I received this book for free from WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group for this review.