A Heart for Any Fate

Written by Suzanne Lyon
Review by Sue Schrems

On the beautiful banks of the New River in Virginia in 1790, Hannah Allison married Willard Temple Cole. Hannah and Temple took up farming on the Cole farm in the nearby area. The farm, like many frontier farms, was overworked, and Temple looked westward for a new beginning. The new frontier of Kentucky offered a fresh start and better economic opportunities. The Coles migrated to Kentucky. Lucy, the Allison family slave, accompanied Hannah. Lucy became a trusted servant and helped Hannah through many difficult times on the frontier, including Indian raids, starvation, and natural disasters, along with helping Hannah raise her children.

Suzanne Lyon bases her novel on the true story of Hannah Cole, Missouri’s “Pioneer Mother.” The author states, “In the center of Boonville, a statue of Hannah, ‘Breaking New Ground,’ was recently unveiled. The dedication ceremony was attended by over 2000 of her descendants. This event celebrated several firsts for Missouri women… ‘Breaking New Ground’ is the first life-size statue of a woman in the state of Missouri.”

The author also writes that at the wedding of Hannah and Temple, Dolley Todd and her husband, a cousin to Temple Cole, gave Hannah a personal journal and encouraged the newlywed to record her life. Dolley Todd, after the death of her husband, married James Madison and eventually became First Lady of the United States.

A Heart for Any Fate is an interesting story based on historical fact. Definitely a good read.