Answering Liberty’s Call: Anna Stone’s Daring Ride to Valley Forge: A Novel by Tracy Stone Lawson

Reviewed by Allen Hott

A very interesting historical yet fictional story of a young woman and her adventures in the late 1700’s as she pulls off a tremendous feat. Anna Stone’s husband, as a member of the Minutemen, is called off to join the other colonials in the revolt against the British. Both Stone and Benjamin, her husband who is a Baptist preacher, knew that this call to duty could come but neither of them looked forward to it. It meant leaving Anna, and her small children, to stay with relatives and fend for themselves pretty much.

However it becomes much more exciting and nerve-racking as Anna hears of the happenings up and around Valley Forge. She gets word that Benjamin and her brothers aren’t doing well. Several brothers have become ill with the pox (one does die) and they are having trouble getting food and other staples. Anna has been helping to fight the disease as she had been treated for it as a small child and was immune to it.

After internal debating with herself Anna makes the decision that she will make the trip from lower Virginia to Valley Forge. She has a horse named Nelly, who is not only well trained but of great stamina; Anna believes Nelly can carry her and supplies to the North.

Though she has very little support from her family and friends she heads north .She really doesn’t understand what is in front of her. She has been given names of some of her uncle’s associates but overall she is going pretty much without contacts or places to stay.

The trip becomes the entire story as she makes her way north and has many incidents along the way. Most of them are not happy and she has to be constantly thinking and planning as she works to avert problems from other travelers. Winter weather and also hoodlums both affect her ride. She is always looking ahead for trouble or else places to stay.

Her many adventures however do not just have to deal with herself and her problems. The author has put together a very good look at history during this time period. She uses Anna to introduce well know historical figures and she also uses Anna to carry what in the overall picture impacts some of this country’s pulling away from British rule.

Well written but one does have to get somewhat used to moving forward and backward in the calendar of that period. There are many things that have to follow the true time cycle so Anna becomes the reader’s watchdog of historical developments.

Overall well written, interesting, and a great look at our early history!