Friday, April 1, 2011

Review and Giveaway: The Year We Were Famous by Carole Estby Dagg

The Year We Were Famous by Carole Estby Dagg (Rated: C)
Clarion Books
ISBN: 978-0618999835
Published  April 4, 2011
Hardcover, 256 pages

First-time author Carole Estby Dagg has taken a piece of her family’s history and weaved a tale of courage and adventure, honouring her great-grandmother and great-aunt—two women in 1896 who walked (that’s right, walked!) across America to save their farm.

When their home faces foreclosure, Helga who has a flare for the “hoopla” decides she is going to leave her children and husband to walk 4600 miles from Mica Creek, Washington to New York City, where a publisher has promised the reward of $10 000 if she makes it before the deadline. It will take seven months to do it. Clara, her 17-year-old daughter, decides to join her mother, and they trek out with only $10 in their pockets. They will rely on hospitality for food and shelter.

Clara is shy, hardworking, and reliable. She worries about her mother and doesn’t think the walk is a good idea but she also wants more to life than to marry the farm boy next door. Helga is charming, draws others to her and is the center of attention, but she can experience depression to the point of immobility.

I really enjoyed their adventure as they battled their own imperfections, met Indians, got caught in a blizzard in the Blue Mountains and survived a flash flood that nearly cost them their lives. They suffered hunger, heat, cold, extreme fatigue and painful blisters on their swollen feet as they wore out 32 pairs of boots. But this story is more than just a difficult trek across America. It’s about a mother and daughter relationship, about learning to choose what you want to do with your life rather than just settling because it’s safe; it’s about women’s rights and the strength to overcome even the most difficult circumstances. It’s about determination, courage and the will to survive.

The story is told from Clara’s point-of-view, and I liked her small town voice and expressions as she described her feelings, such as: “…but having too many choices put me into a mugwumping dither.” I could so easily picture the era and the changing times of America on the brink of the 1900s.

The traveling experience changes Clara, helping her to become more assertive. The ending leaves many possibilities for her future and the author’s message is that dreams are accomplished one step at a time. I have to admit I would have liked the story to be longer as I was left wondering what Clara would go on to do. I was so caught up into their adventure I did not want it to end so soon.

I highly recommend this for mother/daughter book clubs and anyone who enjoys a good adventure and needs a boost to overcome their fears of dreaming big. It would also make a great addition to any high school library.

To find out more about this book and its author be sure to visit:
Check out the trailer:

And now for the giveaway. The author has graciously provided one copy for one winner. Thank you, Carole! Here are the rules:

1. Leave a comment about anything crazy you've done to accomplish a dream. Include your email address.
2. For an extra entry, leave another comment if you are a follower new or current.
3. Open to US and Canada only.
4. Giveaway ends April 15, 2011.

Thanks for participating!

I will count this book toward the following challenges: TwentyEleven Challenge, YA Reading Challenge, and The Historical Fiction Challenge

Disclosure: Thanks to the author for sending me this book for review. I was not compensated in any other way, nor told how to rate or review this product.

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  1. I love when I start to leave a comment after reading a review...and then notice the rest of the review and it's a giveaway!! THis sounds really good. If I don't win, I sure hope my library gets it!
    derekannette at gmail dot com

  2. I agree with Annette. I hope my library gets it too.
    I've always wanted to do a triathlon. My 11yr old niece had to do for her Gymnastics and I did it with her and whole bunch of kids younger than her. I loved it. It wasnt crazy competitive because all the parents were just cheering for the kids.

  3. My daughter and I would love to read this. Sounds wonderful! :O)

    I follow you on GFC.

    estrella8888 at roadrunner dot com

  4. I love that it's based on a true family story! When we wanted to buy our first home, mortgage rates were sky high. We found out about a limited amount of bond money available (at a lower rate) and waited in line overnight to borrow our share. kathy(at)

  5. I added this to my goodreads list a few weeks ago, but this is the first review I've read...thank you!
    Not sure that this would be considered crazy or a dream -- but at an "advanced" age, I took up tennis a year ago and finally played in my very first match -- and WON!! Felt like I'd won a medal! :)

  6. My dream was to be a teacher. I quit my job, went to teacher's college, and became $42,000 in debt, When done teacher's college, I moved 3000 km west to teach.

    I would love a copy of this book, and I'm a follower.

    wenzowsa at canisius dot edu

  7. A gfc follower

    Would love to read, thanks ! for the giveaway.

    stop and see mine and my giveaways.

  8. This comment has been removed by the author.

  9. Would like to read the book.

    I moved from my beloved, safe, perfect farmhouse to a 5th wheel with 6 kids (2 of them 4mo. old twins)on an unimproved 340 acre peice of virgin land to help my parents start a ranch from scratch. Learned good lessons! =)

  10. My dream 13 years ago was to be married to the love of my life with all of our family and friends there. We were far away from said family and friends. We took a weekend and met them all at a church in our old home town and got married. Too bad we had to leave at the end of that weekend but it is one I will never forget.
    hootowl1978 at gmail dot com

  11. I am a new follower of your blog. I love your header. Such a great picture.
    hootowl1978 at gmail dot com

  12. Let's see, comment on something crazy I've done to fulfill a dream. I wanted to be a mother and I raised six children. Some would think that is crazy. I would do it again in the blink of an eye.

    This book sounds interesting, I hope I win a copy.

  13. Oh, I am a new follower.

    drjakesma at yahoo dot com


Thank you for commenting! I appreciate your feedback.

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