Bold Spirit: Helga Estby’s Forgotten Walk Across Victorian America by Linda Lawrence Hunt
What's it about:
The author, Linda Lawrence Hunt, was introduced to the story of Helga Estby through a school child’s history essay about his ancestor. This is an incredible story of courage, adventure, shame and what happened to women who strayed out of their “proper” roles in 19th century America.
Helga and her daughter accept an offer from an unknown sponsor to walk across America with promises of a much needed cash reward. Part marketing ploy, these women set off only to find that things weren't as promised. This choice, one that she believes will benefit her family, affects Helga’s life forever. The author used present-day interviews and newspapers to recreate Helga’s adventure. This work is a good combination of history and personal narrative. It’s a good reminder that our everyday ancestors did extraordinary things.
Why you should read it:
Great example of taking newspapers and genealogy to tell the story of someone's life. I love this book. Great story and wonderful research. I also love that this is a story of a woman whose family almost successfully blotted out an aspect of her life forever. Her story was saved by a daughter in law.