Random House, $14.99, 400 pages
In The Daughter’s Walk, Helga Estby and her teenage daughter Clara accepted a challenge from the fashion industry to walk across the country in hopes of earning $10,000 to save their Washington state family farm from foreclosure. Based on a true story,The Daughter’s Walk begins as the story of a family farm in peril, then blossoms into the story of a family in peril. Author Jane Fitzpatrick uses the cross country walk as the event that rips apart a family already torn. Estranged from her family, Clara spends her entire adult life trying to redefine the meaning of family and find a new place in the world.
Although descriptions of the places seen on their walk and the ever ticking clock of their deadline demand the reader’s attention, after the walk is completed and Clara leaves her family the story seems to lag, wandering through Clara’s many financial endeavors. But the tension finally returns when Clara returns to her hometown, penniless and constantly at risk of running into old family and friends. The book is at its best when investigating the relationships of the Estby family: what side they take in the family quarrel and why.
Reviewed by Jodi M. Webb