Saturday, March 31, 2012

The Daughter's Walk by Jane Kirkpatrick

I normally don't enjoy fiction novels, not even those under the umbrella called the  "Christian" genre.  Most "Christian" novels are either Amish love stories or just simply romance stories in general. Even the genre "historical" fiction usually is another name for a romance novel that takes place either in Amish country or in the 1800s out west. I usually find them dull, predictable and uninspired.  The Daughter's Walk by Jane Kirkpatrick is quite different.  True to its claim, it actually is to be considered a historical fiction novel  True details about society's standards, the townspeople and technologies are faithfully included.  Even the descriptions of towns, characters and circumstances are well researched right to the very last little detail. Historical facts and accuracy enlighten the reader as well as add to the authenticity.  This book held my attention from the start.  It was not a chore to read.  Furthermore, the course of the story and its events were unexpected and as well as the ending.  Unlike typical books, in which there is a typical fairy tale happy ending in which the heroine gets married and has children, this story an a non traditional happy ending where as the heroine, a strong, independant woman, remained strong, independant and single despite disspointements, rejection  and financial hardship.  This book brought on a new twist to society's perception of a happy ending.

The author challenges the common social view of the mother- parent relationship.  The mother, Helga Estby, is portrayed as impulsive, enthusiastic and strong- willed woman.  She is willing to confront and change society's standard of the role of women.  In contrast, the daughter is more level headed, and reistant to change.  Clara, the eighteen year old daughter often questions and admonishes her mother for what she deems to be irresponsible and impulsive choices.  Yet her 19th century sense of duty and loyalty ensures that she will obey and follow her mother.  There is no disrespect or refusal.  Both the mother and daughter have distinct yet strong moral characters and a  strong sense of familial duty, even though the expression is vastly different.

This is the story of an adventure that a mother embarks in order to save the family farm from forclosure.  There is risk and danger involved- physical and emotional as well, yet hope drives Helga to pursue the course. Though she is hesitant, Clara goes with her mother out of a sense of duty.  The story chronicles their adventures and interactions with the 19th century world around them.  A map chronicles the path of their journey.  I found myself turning to the map in order to get a preview of how far into their journey that they were.  Yet, the story doesn't have the traditional happy ending as the author and her family are faced by disapointments and hardships.  As a blogger for WaterBrook publishers I received this book for the purpose of writing this review.  the opinions expressed are my own.

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