Jack Darrell Crowder
Outskirts Press (2020)
Reviewed by Tammy Ruggles for Reader Views (08/2020)
“Abby’s Secret: The Story of a Young Girl’s Courage and Determination During the American Revolution” by Jack Darrell Crowder, is a novel about courage and individualism in the face of adversity. Abby is a young lady who risks her life for the American Revolution in a time when girls and women were expected to work and live at home and be content with it. Abby learns how to do all that is expected of women at the time and is an avid reader. But, Abby wants more – an adventure – and is willing to give her all for a cause she believes in. Her bravery will remind you of Susan B. Anthony or another female social reformer in history (mentioned in this book: Joan of Arc) and is a forerunner to women who made their mark throughout history. Abby dresses as a man in order to help the Revolution and faces potentially adverse consequences.
There are many good things to like in this novel, but what shines most to me is the fact that Abby stands up to tradition and the customs of the day, regardless of cost. Her strong personality seems to be in her genes, as at least one ancestor took similar risks–one male dressed as a female to escape Native American captivity.
For the war, Abby makes a daring decision that could jeopardize her freedom. Crowder carefully lays out the interesting plot, beginning when Abby is just a little girl of five, and then takes you through her childhood and the people that shape her. At one point a little boy tells young Abby she looks like a boy in a girl’s dress. Abby faces ups and downs that in some ways prepare her for the war and circumstances to come.
The author has an incredible way with details and setting, which brings a sense of credibility and realism to the novel. This is a memorable story of a servant girl who grows into a bold woman with convictions and courage. “Abby’s Secret: The Story of a Young Girl’s Courage and Determination During the American Revolution” by Jack Darrell Crowder, will resonate with today’s girls and women.