Becoming Valley Forge

Written by Sheilah Vance
Review by Fiona Ness

In her epic-length novel Becoming Valley Forge, Sheilah Vance dramatizes the horrific depredations experienced by George Washington’s Continental Army as it endured brutal conditions during the winter camp at Valley Forge, Pennsylvania in 1777.

The author centers her story around a small cast of colourful characters whose lives become tangled up in the war, whether they want to or not. There is a local blacksmith named James, a former slave, a conflicted patriot, Daniel, tavern-keeper Norman, Continental General Anthony Wayne, and the seemingly opportunistic Pennsylvania brothel-keeper, Connie.

The result of all these viewpoints playing out against the broader historical backdrop becomes a truly immersive reading experience.