year old Anne is an uneducated serving girl at the Penny Pot tavern when she
first meets the commanding Benjamin Franklin. The time she spends with the
brilliant young printer teases her curious mind, and the money he provides
keeps her family from starving. But the ambitious Franklin is committed to
someone else, a proper but infatuated woman named Deborah Read who becomes his
common-law wife. At least Anne has William, her cherished infant son, to remind
her of his father and to soften some of life’s bleakness.
growing up a bastard amid the squalor of Eades Alley isn’t the life Anne wants
for her only son. Acutely aware of the challenges facing them, she makes a
heartbreaking sacrifice. She will give up William forever, allowing Benjamin
and Deborah Franklin to raise him as their own.
she cannot be with him, Anne secretly watches out for her beloved child, daring
to be close to him without revealing the truth about herself or his birth, and
standing guard as Deborah Franklin struggles to accept her husband’s bastard
son as her own.
the years pass, the bustling colonies grow and prosper, offering opportunities
for wealth and power for a talented man like William’s father. Benjamin’s
growing fame and connections as a scientist, writer, philosopher, businessman,
and political genius open doors for the astute William as well, and eventually
King George III appoints Benjamin’s bastard son to the new position of Royal
Governor of New Jersey. Anne’s fortunes also rise. A shrewd woman of many talents,
she builds a comfortable life of her own, yet nothing fills her with more joy
or pride than her son’s success and happiness.
all that her accomplished son has achieved is threatened when the colonies, led
by influential men, including his own father, begin the fight for independence.
A steadfast, loyal subject of the British Crown, William cannot accept his
father’s passionate defense of the patriots’ cause, and the enduring bond they
share fractures, a heart-wrenching break that will forever haunt them and those
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