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3 Burnside Christianity- Christian Fiction
2 Local Warehouse Christianity- Christian Fiction

The Daughter's Walk

by

The Daughter's Walk Cover

ISBN13: 9781400074297
ISBN10: 1400074290
Condition: Standard
All Product Details

 

 

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.”

What Our Readers Are Saying

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Average customer rating based on 6 comments:

Narita, November 17, 2014 (view all comments by Narita)
I know I have said it before but I will say it again, Jane Kirkpatrick is one of my favorite writers! She finds historical women figures that I have never heard of and their stories are so interesting! I find it incredible the way she weaves the historical facts with fiction to the point that every novel seems like a detailed true account of the person’s life.
A Daughter’s Walk is about a young woman, Clara Etsby and her mother, Helga who in 1896, walked 3,500 miles from Spokane Washington to New York City. They did so in an effort to save their family farm that was about to be foreclosed and earn $10,000; quite a tidy sum back then.
Helga’s accepted the challenge from a wealthy group of sponsors. The purpose was to promote the “new reform” dress which was shorter, showing the ankles and worn without corsets. The new fashion was publicized for busy, active women. Two women walking cross country alone was shocking enough in the Victorian Era, but in such risqué clothing too?! This was exactly the reaction the sponsors wanted. Helga and Clara would be given $5.00 to start out but they must earn the rest of their money along the way to meet their needs. They could accept no rides and they had to be in New York City in 7 months.
Olaf, Helga’s husband and children, including Clara, were totally against the trip. Helga refuses to listen. Her husband is injured and unable to provide for their large family. As Scandinavian immigrants, she cannot bear the thought of losing all they have worked so hard to obtain. Their walk began on May 5 and was end December 13th. Goodbyes were hard, leaving her 8 children and husband behind to care for each other.
Even with Helga’s determination and strong faith in God, she was not prepared for the hardships they would face, or the price the trip would exact when they returned. They were robbed, struggled through rain and snow storms, blistering heat, harsh terrain, and bitter cold. Not to mention facing mountain lions, rattle snakes, hunger, illness and many times no shelter to sleep in. They arrive 2 weeks short of the deadline and lost the wager.
Their story does not end with the walk. Upon their return home they find two of the children have died and their family will never be the same again. They forbid either of them to talk about the trip. In bitterness, Clara’s family rejects her for supporting her mother in her endeavor. She ventures out on her own, with the same determination and courage that gave her mother the strength to make the walk. She is blessed when two rich business women take her under their wing, give her a job, mentor her, educate her, support her, and love her. It is no surprise that in time they become her new family. No matter what her accomplishments or the unconditional love she receives, she always longs to be reunited with her family. From beginning to end this is a story of a woman’s indomitable spirit to overcome tragedy and heartache. The combination of Ms. Kirkpatrick’s meticulous historical research and incredible writing talent make this an unforgettable book! I would like to thank Jane Kirkpatrick for the opportunity and privilege to review this book.
I received this book free from the author. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own.
Here is a link to her web page. I hope you will go and check out her other wonderful books. http://www.jkbooks.com/
Was this comment helpful? | Yes | No
Narita, November 17, 2014 (view all comments by Narita)
I know I have said it before but I will say it again, Jane Kirkpatrick is one of my favorite writers! She finds historical women figures that I have never heard of and their stories are so interesting! I find it incredible the way she weaves the historical facts with fiction to the point that every novel seems like a detailed true account of the person’s life.
A Daughter’s Walk is about a young woman, Clara Etsby and her mother, Helga who in 1896, walked 3,500 miles from Spokane Washington to New York City. They did so in an effort to save their family farm that was about to be foreclosed and earn $10,000; quite a tidy sum back then.
Helga’s accepted the challenge from a wealthy group of sponsors. The purpose was to promote the “new reform” dress which was shorter, showing the ankles and worn without corsets. The new fashion was publicized for busy, active women. Two women walking cross country alone was shocking enough in the Victorian Era, but in such risqué clothing too?! This was exactly the reaction the sponsors wanted. Helga and Clara would be given $5.00 to start out but they must earn the rest of their money along the way to meet their needs. They could accept no rides and they had to be in New York City in 7 months.
Olaf, Helga’s husband and children, including Clara, were totally against the trip. Helga refuses to listen. Her husband is injured and unable to provide for their large family. As Scandinavian immigrants, she cannot bear the thought of losing all they have worked so hard to obtain. Their walk began on May 5 and was end December 13th. Goodbyes were hard, leaving her 8 children and husband behind to care for each other.
Even with Helga’s determination and strong faith in God, she was not prepared for the hardships they would face, or the price the trip would exact when they returned. They were robbed, struggled through rain and snow storms, blistering heat, harsh terrain, and bitter cold. Not to mention facing mountain lions, rattle snakes, hunger, illness and many times no shelter to sleep in. They arrive 2 weeks short of the deadline and lost the wager.
Their story does not end with the walk. Upon their return home they find two of the children have died and their family will never be the same again. They forbid either of them to talk about the trip. In bitterness, Clara’s family rejects her for supporting her mother in her endeavor. She ventures out on her own, with the same determination and courage that gave her mother the strength to make the walk. She is blessed when two rich business women take her under their wing, give her a job, mentor her, educate her, support her, and love her. It is no surprise that in time they become her new family. No matter what her accomplishments or the unconditional love she receives, she always longs to be reunited with her family. From beginning to end this is a story of a woman’s indomitable spirit to overcome tragedy and heartache. The combination of Ms. Kirkpatrick’s meticulous historical research and incredible writing talent make this an unforgettable book! I would like to thank Jane Kirkpatrick for the opportunity and privilege to review this book.
I received this book free from the author. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own.
Here is a link to her web page. I hope you will go and check out her other wonderful books. http://www.jkbooks.com/
Was this comment helpful? | Yes | No
MaryEvelynLS, April 28, 2014 (view all comments by MaryEvelynLS)
I finished this book with a sense of satisfaction and a deeper understanding of what women had to endure and suffer in the late 1800's, early 1900's. The Daughter's Walk was fascinating and I was absolutely stunned to learn of the journey that mother and daughter took. 3500 miles!! (We complain about a 3-mile walk in the neighborhood.) The story that continued after the infamous walk is the author's view on what may have happened to Clara, the daughter, after they returned to Washington. Jane Kirkpatrick did extensive research that led her to tell the story as she did. Kirkpatrick was assisted in her research by members of the Estby family and various documents and city records. I am inclined to believe that Kirkpatrick must have gotten some of it right. If not, it still made for an exceptional story. Well done.

The Daughter's Walk is based on the true story and 3,500-mile historical walk of Helga Estby and her eighteen year old daughter, Clara, that began in May of 1896. The fashion industry offered a wager to Helga Estby to walk from Spokane, Washington, to New York City within seven months in an effort to earn ten thousand dollars and save the family farm that was in foreclosure. The women were asked to wear the new reform dresses, to show that women were strong and just as sturdy as men and could accomplish anything in such attire. Their expected arrival was to be December 13th, with exceptions and extensions for illnesses. Along the way, the women could accept food and lodging but not ask or beg for it. There were many supporters en route but there were those that scoffed at the women's dresses and considered them vulgar and obscene for their fashion notion and traveling unescorted. Helga Estby was a supporter of women suffragettes and never believed that the journey could be unsuccessful. After a year away from the farm, mother and daughter return home to heartbreaking, tragic circumstances that will devastate relations and split a family apart. Clara chooses to walk away from her family and must find her own way in the world. It is a story of strength, utter sadness, unlikely friendships, and a woman's ability to succeed against all odds and provide for herself. Yet, Clara proves to be a woman that cannot succeed without the strength and support of the family ties that bind us all.

I thoroughly enjoyed this book and it will be a story that I will always remember. A story of incredible will and courage. The Daughter's Walk changed lives of mother and daughter forever.
Was this comment helpful? | Yes | No
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Product Details

ISBN:
9781400074297
Author:
Kirkpatrick, Jane
Publisher:
Waterbrook Press
Subject:
Historical - General
Subject:
Historical
Subject:
Christianity-Christian Fiction
Edition Description:
Trade paper
Publication Date:
20110431
Binding:
TRADE PAPER
Grade Level:
General/trade
Language:
English
Pages:
400
Dimensions:
8.2 x 5.5 x 0.8 in 0.75 lb

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The Daughter's Walk Used Trade Paper
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Product details 400 pages Waterbrook Press - English 9781400074297 Reviews:
"Publishers Weekly Review" by , "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.)" Publishers Weekly (Starred Review) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
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