Answering Liberty's Call
In January 1778, Anna Stone is a twenty-nine-year-old healer, wife of a rebellious Baptist-preacher-turned-soldier, and mother of three. Her husband, Benjamin, writes from Valley Forge with worrisome tidings. Anna’s brothers, Henry and Jeremiah, who are in Benjamin’s unit, have contracted smallpox. Benjamin downplays the severity of their illness in his letter, which arouses Anna’s suspicions that he, too, is ill. Not content to remain at home in Virginia, Anna packs food and supplies, leaves her children with family, and strikes out alone on horseback for Pennsylvania. Anna knows that, should Benjamin perish, the county orphan’s court will appoint a male guardian to oversee her children’s futures—without regard for her preferences. After her experience being raised under the care of a guardian, Anna vows to move heaven and earth to keep her children from suffering the same fate. In her efforts to render the aid that will hold her family together, Anna is swept into a plot that could spell dire consequences for George Washington, the Continental Army, and the new nation’s quest for liberty. Answering Liberty’s Call is based on family legend and events in the lives of the author’s six times great-grandparents.