Felciity Saves the Day

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


Felicity and her siblings are visiting their grandfather at his plantation to escape the summer heat of Williamsburg. They have a wonderful time, aside from having to be stiffly proper for visitors. One couple in particular, the Wentworths, take up a lot of time. Mrs. Wentworth blusters on and on about many topics, often her distrust and disdain of the Patriots. During one such visit, Felicity's grandfather rescues her from awkwardness and boredom by inviting her to accompany him and Mr. Wentworth to a horse seller. Felicity is stunned to see none other than Penny there for sale. She's wild and thin, but recognizes Felicity and calms down when she approaches the horse. Beneath her un-groomed hide, she's healthy. Felicity's grandfather buys the horse (and some others for his plantation) on the spot. Penny will have to stay at her grandfather's, but Felicity is thrilled to be able to enjoy her in the summer, and to know that her horse is safe.

While on a ride with Penny, Felicity finds a note...left for her by Ben. With the map he drew, she finds him nearby. He's run away from his apprenticeship agreement to join the Patriot army that George Washington is starting. But he's injured his leg, and can't seek help for fear of being caught. At first Felicity balks at the idea of keeping his secret, but he reminds Felicity that he kept her secret about Penny last fall. So Felicity agrees to help him, and starts treating his leg. She doesn't stop herself from pointing out that while Ben is right to stand up for what he believes in, he's going about it the wrong way. He didn't ask her father for permission, assuming he wouldn't give it, and now he's hiding from everyone. What will he do when he meets an enemy?

Before she can get through to him, her father places a notice in the newspaper offering a reward for Ben's return. She gives Ben a map and directions to Yorktown, where the army is forming, and supplies. But just after she's sent him on his way, a pair of bounty hunters tell her grandfather that they're searching for Ben...right where Felicity sent him. She rushes out on Penny as a storm gathers, desperate to find Ben before the bounty hunters, who had all but promised to rough him up. With Penny's speed and stamina, she finds Ben and convinces him to come clean, stressing that what he's done is dishonest and cowardly. He agrees and returns to the plantation with her. Felicity's father is there in the morning, and after a long talk with Ben, he agrees to let Ben join the Patriot's army AFTER he turns 18, two years from now, assuming there is still such a thing. He'll still have one year left of his apprenticeship contract, and Felicity's father excepts Ben to return to complete it. Both Felicity's father and grandfather express how impressed their are with Felicity's determination and integrity. In fact, Felicity's grandfather says that with Jiggy Nye in jail and Penny so spirited, perhaps the horse should return to Williamsburg with Felicity. Naturally, Felicity agrees.

Looking Back

Most people in Felicity's day didn't partake in much travel. It wasn't as easy to get places back then, without decent roads or fast transportation. But some of the better-off town dwellers had family in the country, where they could get away for a time. In Felicity's case, the place in the country was a plantation staffed by slaves.


This book is dedicated to "the staffs of the Pleasant Company and of Colonial Williamsburg, with thanks."

Slaves show up quite often in the background of Felicity books, which is consistent with her time and class. I wonder if the slave characters in her books influenced the decision to make the next American Girl one who escaped slavery (Addy, next month's focus).

Blackberries are mentioned again, but this time they're maturing at the right time (mid to late summer). Felicity and her grandfather also talk about medicinal herbs, which is pretty interesting to read.

Felicity's mother in pregnant, due in winter.

The grandfather in the book is Felicity's mother's father.

I hope Felicity's grandfather made sure her parents were okay with bringing home another horse before giving her the animal.

No comments: