Wednesday, April 24, 2013

THE YEAR WE WERE FAMOUS by Carole Estby Dagg

It is 1896 and Clara Estby is seventeen. Her goal is to attend college and become a writer, but first she must help her family. Her mother Helga recently took to her bed claiming she suffers from consumption. Clara is used to her mother's bouts of what is likely depression, and she tries her best to lend a hand caring for her siblings and her father.

Clara knows another concern her mother has is the threat of losing the family farm.  Harvest have been extremely poor in recent years and the bank may soon force them to move.  Everyone is surprised when Helga suddenly makes a quick recovery and proposes a plan to save the farm.  She has figured out a way to earn the money they need by walking from Mica Creek, Washington to New York City in hopes of selling rights to a book of her adventures.

It is decided that Clara should accompany her mother on the journey across the country.  The two use Clara's college savings to purchase a minimum of supplies and their trek begins.  The plan is to follow the railway lines, stopping at newspaper offices along to way to have their story recorded and published.  After writing letters to numerous publishers in New York, Helga receives a commitment of $10,000 if they can complete their journey by a required deadline.

The two women survive blizzards, flash floods, and getting lost in a lava field.  They camp with Indians and meet the president-elect of the United States.  Readers will become fascinated with the adventures of Helga and Clara as they strive to make their deadline and show the country just what determined women can accomplish.

Author Carole Estby Dagg has based THE YEAR WE WERE FAMOUS on the true story of her great-grandmother and great-aunt.  Their story will live on in the minds of readers and perhaps inspire a few to follow their own dreams.

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