Answering Liberty’s Call: Anna Stone’s Daring Ride to Valley Forge

Written by Tracy Lawson
Review by Thomas j. Howley

As the American Revolution is on the verge of potential collapse and internal political intrigue abounds, Anna Stone receives news that her preacher/soldier husband and other family members are suffering from hunger and disease at Valley Forge. Anna is an amateur but gifted healer and decides to ride from Virginia on her trusted mare, Nelly, to deliver aid to her loved ones and other needy soldiers. Along the dangerous journey, readers learn of Anna’s background, which includes indentured servitude and her own history of suffering and family tragedies.

At times disguised as a boy, she encounters Loyalist sympathizers, even more dangerous common thieves and cutthroats, and friendly German-American patriots who show her a different side of some Hessian mercenaries. Anna also unexpectedly gets news of a plot to overthrow American Commander-in-Chief George Washington. She now finds herself enlisted as a courier, only to subsequently discover she is being followed by a tenacious adversary. As she finally and barely makes her way into the Patriot encampment and safety, she meets not only her husband and relatives but also General Washington. Anna then learns the significance of the message she delivers.

This novel is a grand and rollicking revolutionary adventure undertaken by a young mother and brave American patriot. Based on a true story, the book gives illuminating historical glimpses into primitive but effective treatments of smallpox, the relationship between slaves and indentured whites, and the interplay among the various Protestant religious groups of the times—Anglicans, Quakers, and Baptists. The geopolitical perspectives displayed are refreshingly sophisticated. Lawson’s afterword deftly provides the well-researched historical data behind the tale described in the book. Highly recommended.