The Treason of Betsy Ross

A Woman of the Revolution Novel

Fiction - Historical - Personage
332 Pages
Reviewed on 07/16/2023
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Author Biography

Wendy Long Stanley writes historical fiction that brings interesting, elusive women in history back to life. She holds a BA in English Literature and an MA in History. She was born in England, raised in Canada, and now lives in the US outside of Philadelphia with her husband and two teenage daughters.

    Book Review

Reviewed by Jamie Michele for Readers' Favorite

The Treason of Betsy Ross: A Woman of the Revolution Novel by Wendy Long Stanley is set in 18th-century Philadelphia where Betsy forges her independence while working for John Webster at an upholstery shop. As the Townshend Duties stir up political activism, Betsy, a Quaker, reconciles her personal life and political beliefs when she learns of John's involvement with the Sons of Liberty. In the face of familial and societal expectations, she marries John Ross. As time marches on so too do the personal losses experienced by Betsy, including the disappearance of a dear friend, but she remains resilient. As the city teeters on the brink of turmoil and the rebellion escalates, Betsy staunchly defends the Patriot cause, unaware that the future is going to be even more dangerous and what is at stake might be greater than she can bear.

Betsy Ross is not a woman I knew much about and so when I came across The Treason of Betsy Ross by Wendy Long Stanley, it wasn't a tough sell. I love strong women. I love history. This is a good fit. I was right! There are a couple of areas that Stanley took the time to work through compassionately and, to me, they are what turn a story about Betsy into one where we feel like she is a living person, and connect with her. The first is with her fertility issues, which are so infrequently documented or spoken of that to witness the grief she experiences is both heartbreaking and really authentic. The second is with her agency, something not many women had at the time but Betsy exerted over and over again. The writing is clean and the narrative is straightforward, with major events like the Boston Tea Party and a visit from a very important man with the initials G. W. As an American in London and having been to Sulgrave Manor many times, I am always amazed that, even knowing what the Washington coat of arms has looked like since the 14th century, and comparing it to the American flag...well, we will just leave it at that. This is a book that lovers of clean historical fiction will adore. Recommended.