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Reviewed by Grant Leishman for Readers' Favorite
Answering Liberty’s Call: Anna Stone’s Daring Ride to Valley Forge by Tracy Lawson is a thrilling historical novel firmly rooted in factual events. Anna Stone, a young mother with three little children, was the wife of a Baptist preacher and farmer in the early days of the American Revolution, in the Commonwealth of Virginia. Despite the persecution of the early Baptists by the Anglican church and the Virginian authorities, Anna’s husband Benjamin, along with many other members of their faith, would join the colonial army in the hope that victory against the British would finally achieve religious tolerance and fair taxation that they so desperately sought. When Anna receives a letter from Benjamin detailing the trying conditions being experienced at the army’s winter camp at Valley Forge in Pennsylvania, she determines to drop everything and take some much-needed supplies to her husband as well as her brothers, who are also in winter camp. With Benjamin telling her that two of her brothers are in the hospital, she also hopes to use her skills as a healer to make a difference and save their lives. Anna’s perilous ride will be undertaken in the depths of winter, alone, across the dangerous country but she is a determined wife and sister.
Answering Liberty’s Call is an absolute triumph of courage and heroism. Kudos to author Tracy Lawson for bringing this little-known story of the revolution to our attention. Anna Stone was an amazing woman who no doubt was decades, if not centuries, ahead of her time in her thoughts and ideals. Not for her the risks of her husband dying in the war and her children being declared orphans. Not if she could help it! That she was prepared to undertake such a perilous journey and indeed play an incredibly important part in General Washington’s ultimate victory was a revelation to me and the authenticity of the story just gave it more depth and meaning. The character, as molded by the author, was a wonderfully strong, resolute woman who was prepared to risk all for the love of her husband, her family, and her burgeoning new nation. The plot may have been based in fact but credit goes to Lawson for presenting it in such an exciting and breathtaking manner. As a reader, I was right there on her horse Nelly as she rode for her life from traitors, spies, and general riff-raff that inhabited the countryside at the time. I believe there is a familial connection between the author and Anna Stone, which just makes the telling of this story incredibly important and redolent with pride. I absolutely adored this book and can only give it my highest recommendation. Simply put, it is a triumph of courage and womanhood.