Sunday, June 26, 2011

To Walk Across America - in 1896

I just finished two amazing books - both about the incredible true journey of two women, a mother and daughter, who walked from Mica Creek, Washington to New York City, a distance of about 4,600 miles - in the year 1896.

Wearing long skirts, cumbersome boots, and corsets (!) which was the proper costume of the day, they set out to accomplish this feat to win a prize of $10,000 in order to save the family farm from foreclosure.

WaterBrook Press ~ 2011

Although Helga and Clara Estby kept notes and journals along the way, much of this material has been lost, but there are still newspaper articles and other recordings of their actual journey. Both of these novels were fascinating to read, and so interesting to note how each author took the same set of events and created a slightly different story from it. For me as a writer, it was almost like taking a class in how to write Historical Fiction.

Jane Kirkpatrick has written lots of historical fiction (many about the Pacific Northwest) and I'm a big fan. THE DAUGHTER'S WALK is billed as adult, and also delves into Clara (the daughter) Estby's life in the years following the cross-country adventure.

Carole Estby Dagg is a first time author, and THE YEAR WE WERE FAMOUS is Young Adult, or for ages 12 through adult. What a great debut novel! Carole is the grand niece, and great-granddaughter of the participants in the walk, and she wrote this book because she believed their story was worth telling. And, oh is it ever!

Clarion Books ~ 2011

You can't help but be inspired by the strength, fortitude, and courage these women displayed. And it is amazing to see how much attitudes towards women have changed in just over 100 years since these events took place.

Can you imagine walking that far?

If you can't imagine, at least you can read about it, and I guarantee that reading about these spirited women's journey will leave you inspired.

Read anything lately that left you inspired?


Cinette said...

I haven't heard of these titles. Thanks for the heads up!

Miriam said...

I loveed Jane's book haven't the other one yet.

Linda Benson said...

Cinette and Miriam - Yes, what an amazing feat, huh? I just found out there is a non-fiction book about these two women, called Bold Spirit, by Linda Hunt. I ordered it from my library to read even more about them!

Linda Benson said...

Just finished BOLD SPIRIT, by Linda Lawrence Hunt and it is filled with lots of pictures and details that shed even more light on this story. Wonderful read!