Changes for Felicity

Published in 1991; author Valerie Tripp; illustrators Dan Andreasen, Luann Roberts, and Keith Skeen


It's a confusing time for Felicity. The colonies are full of tension as the unrest toward the king grows stronger, her horse Penny is expecting a foal, she discovers that Penny's former owner Mr. Nye is gravely ill in debtor's prison (and back then prisoners or someone who cared about the prisoner had to pay for medical attention, so he's not get better) and she doesn't want to feel sorry for him but Elizabeth urges her to have pity...and then Elizabeth's father is arrested for being a Loyalist. Felicity's grandfather is visiting, and petitions an influential politician to release Elizabeth's father. Her grandfather is also ill, and gets steadily worse. While he's successful in his errand, it strained him. He dies in the night, not long after Felicity spent time reading to him to help him sleep. She's angry and devastated because of the loss, but her mother gives her comfort. She reminds Felicity that changes will always happen and focusing on the bad things will only make her miserable, but she can look forward to new exciting changes and fondly remember the past. She counsels Felicity that there's nothing wrong with missing people when they die, but it's useless to wish that things never change. She reminds Felicity that not even death can end the love she and her grandfather shared.

After the funeral, Felicity finds her new normal. The absence of her grandfather isn't all that's changed. Elizabeth's father is free now, but he's leaving for New York to lessen the risk of being arrested again. Elizabeth, Annabelle, and their mother will stay in Virginia to keep up the property, so Felicity's friend will still be around, but much busier that before. The girls decide to go back to visit Mr. Nye, both now of the mind that life is too short to hold grudges. But he's been released! Felicity and Elizabeth had left a basket of medicine for him, which helped him heal, and Felicity's grandfather gave him money to pay him for Penny. He used the money to pay his debt. Felicity is certain now that Mr. Nye won't try to stake a claim to her beloved horse.

Shortly after, Penny goes into labor. There's a problem with the birth, and Felicity's father and their slave Marcus are both gone. Felicity knows who can help: Mr. Nye was renowned for his knowledge of animals before he became an alcoholic. She rushes to his house, and he tells Felicity that he knows she and Elizabeth left him the medical supplies, and that her grandfather gave him the money. He agrees to help, considering it payback for their good deeds. With his help, the foal is born safely. Felicity names him Patriot.

When Felicity's father returns, he informs the family that he and Marcus will be commissary agents in the Patriot Army, delivering supplies to the fighting forces. Felicity offers him Penny to help with the work, and will help man the store while he's on his errands. Together, everyone will do their part to help.

Looking Back

When the Revolutionary War began, the effects were felt far and wide. Men were separated from their families--patriots because of joining the Patriot Army, loyalists because of fleeing to England to escape imprisonment. In either case, women often stayed on the family property to tend the land and save their claim to it. They had to work hard keeping their families fed and clothed with limited supplies and without the help they were used to, as even male slaves were fighting in the war.


This book is dedicated to "my husband Michael and my daughter Katherine, with love."

Mr. Nye turned to alcohol following the death of his wife.

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