The Daughter's Walk by Jane Kirkpatrick - My Review

Melissa Meeks

4 Stars

June 9, 2011

Jane Kirkpatrick's books have been must reads for me since I discovered her historical novels at the library several years ago. Her books span a variety of places, times, and events yet as a reader I can always expect to discover something new with each book while finding a familiarity with the writing style and feel of the books each time I open her novels. The Daughter's Walk is no exception to the rule for Kirkpatrick's novels that they will be filled to the brim with detail and history pertinent to the story and characters of that particular book. I love the way Kirkpatrick can always bring to life the scenes and people of her books without slowing the pace of her stories through excessive details. Though she always weaves the threads of rich description and imagery into her stories I have yet to find one that moves too slowly to hold my attention.

Once again Kirkpatrick's work has reinforced the status of must read in my opinion. Above all she has a knack for finding intriguing stories that have not yet become so familiar to readers that it seems to be just another book added to an already extensive selection on a particular event or topic. If the event or topic are familiar, she brings a new perspective or character to the forefront and pens a book uncommonly engrossing for readers. The Daughter's Walk though focused on the specifics of Clara (Estby) Doré's life during and after the "walk" her mother forced upon her, that walk is only a small fraction of what forever changed her life and forced a rift in the only family she'd known until that point. Clara's perspective and choices bring topics such as women's suffrage, abilities in occupations and positions that have been otherwise jealously reserved for males, equality of the genders, and intelligence of females to the forefront in an era where everything is changing despite the attempts of many to hold the status quo immobile and prevent change whether it could be for the better or worse. In truth life is always changing around us but in order to progress ourselves we must embrace that change not inhibit it and thus fall behind as others continue to press forward beyond that standstill point we refuse to release. For Clara the support of friends who become her adopted family and the faith they exhibit as well as share with her become the one stable foundation she can count on in life. Faith and supportive, caring people around us are sometimes the only constant in life yet we overlook their value until everything else is yanked from beneath us leaving no pillar to lean upon. Clara's experiences, choices, and feelings illustrate our needs as humans and the unique desires and passions that God has wired into each person to fit the roles He created them to fill.