The best historical fiction that brings to life the American Revolutionary War

Why am I passionate about this?

Growing up in New England, I discovered a passion for the historical landmarks around me. My grandmother’s home in Andover, MA, had a plaque on the front door, declaring Lafayette made a speech from its front steps. In my grandmother’s journal, I discovered the story of the Lovells: Master John Lovell, Loyalist, of the Boston Latin School, and his son James Lovell, teacher at the school and patriot. Imagining the conflicts that must have brewed between them, I knew I had to write The Remarkable Cause: A Novel of James Lovell and the Crucible of the Revolution. An English and history teacher, I wove historical background into study of literature.


I wrote...

The Remarkable Cause: A Novel of James Lovell and the Crucible of the Revolution

By Jean C. O'Connor,

Book cover of The Remarkable Cause: A Novel of James Lovell and the Crucible of the Revolution

What is my book about?

James Lovell and his father Master John Lovell teach together at the Boston Latin School as 1770 approaches. But political differences divide them and strain their relationship: James is a patriot, John a Loyalist.

In icy March winds of 1776, pounded by the Americans’ cannon, General Howe evacuates British troops and Loyalists from Boston. James Lovell is forced into a ship bound for Halifax, while his father and family take passage for the British stronghold in the ship’s upper berth. In jail in Halifax, James can only write letters and pray for release, hoping General George Washington will hear his appeal.

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The books I picked & why

Book cover of Johnny Tremain

Jean C. O'Connor Why did I love this book?

Set in Boston at the beginning of the Revolutionary War, Johnny Tremain tells of a young silver-smith apprentice whose pride leads to disaster. His hand is crippled and he can no longer pursue his dream. His courage and desire to improve his life make him memorable; I still recall Johnny’s passion years after reading the novel. Eventually Johnny’s hand is healed by a surgeon and he joins the patriots. 

Johnny Tremain presents a brave character living in challenging and divisive times. Johnny Tremain brings to life conflicts with British rule and the determination of those on both sides of the struggle.

By Esther Hoskins Forbes,

Why should I read it?

4 authors picked Johnny Tremain as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 10, 11, and 12.

What is this book about?

This thrilling Newbery Medal-winning novel about the Revolutionary War is a classic of children's historical fiction.

Fourteen-year-old Johnny Tremain, an apprentice silversmith with a bright future ahead of him, injures his hand in a tragic accident, forcing him to look for other work. In his new job as a horse-boy, riding for the patriotic newspaper The Boston Observer and as a messenger for the Sons of Liberty, he encounters John Hancock, Samuel Adams, and Dr. Joseph Warren.

Soon Johnny is involved in the pivotal events of the American Revolution, from the Boston Tea Party to the first shots fired at…


Book cover of Rise to Rebellion

Jean C. O'Connor Why did I love this book?

Like a brilliant painting, Jeff Shaara’s novel Rise to Rebellion brings to life the major players in the rising conflict between Britain and her American colonies. Colorful description and details help us see King George, ruling far from his colonies alongside ruthless advisers; Royal Governor Thomas Gage, determined to put down the colonists’ uprising; John Adams, industrious lawyer and farmer; Benjamin Franklin, lively inventor and scientist; and George Washington, ambitious Virginian military leader, as they lead in the saga that results in independence for our nation.

By Jeff Shaara,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Rise to Rebellion as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Jeff Shaara dazzled readers with his bestselling novels Gods and Generals, The Last Full Measure, and Gone for Soldiers. Now the acclaimed author who illuminated the Civil War and the Mexican-American War brilliantly brings to life the American Revolution, creating a superb saga of the men who helped to forge the destiny of a nation.

In 1770, the fuse of revolution is lit by a fateful command "Fire!" as England's peacekeeping mission ignites into the Boston Massacre. The senseless killing of civilians leads to a tumultuous trial in which lawyer John Adams must defend the very enemy who has assaulted…


Book cover of Burr: A Novel

Jean C. O'Connor Why did I love this book?

A romp through the Revolutionary War and afterward, through the eyes of the infamous Aaron Burr and his biographer, the fictional Charlie Schuyler, Gore Vidal’s Burr is replete with colorful characters, from the vain and wealthy Madame, Burr’s last wife, to the complex and brilliant Alexander Hamilton, whom Burr shoots in a duel. Burr serves as an aide to George Washington, whom he describes as plodding and phlegmatic, prospers in military service, becomes a lawyer, is Vice President to Jefferson, whom he disdains, and forms an unfortunate friendship with ambitious General James Wilkinson. After trials on charges of treason for plotting to overthrow Spaniards in Mexico and create a new country, Burr is acquitted, despite Jefferson’s opposition. Burr is a thought-provoking read, at times sardonic, at times laugh-out-loud hilarious.

By Gore Vidal,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Burr as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

For readers who can’t get enough of the hit Broadway musical Hamilton, Gore Vidal’s stunning novel about Aaron Burr, the man who killed Alexander Hamilton in a duel—and who served as a successful, if often feared, statesman of our fledgling nation.   

Here is an extraordinary portrait of one of the most complicated—and misunderstood—figures among the Founding Fathers. In 1804, while serving as vice president, Aaron Burr fought a duel with his political nemesis, Alexander Hamilton, and killed him. In 1807, he was arrested, tried, and acquitted of treason. In 1833, Burr is newly married, an aging statesman considered a monster…


Book cover of The Smoke: Tales From a Revolution - New-York

Jean C. O'Connor Why did I love this book?

Part of a seven-book series, in this historical fiction novel, young soldier Joseph Killeen finds himself questioning the army’s treatment of the Haudenosaunee Confederation in the wilds of western New York. Under General Washington’s direction, his group scouts out an Iroquois village, Joseph and his group set fire to long houses and crops and capture the natives. But they themselves are overpowered and killed.

The last survivor, Joseph, is spared for his kindness to a tribal woman and becomes a member of the tribe. As his understanding and respect for the Haudenosaunee grow, he must decide whether to remain with them or return to his family. The conflict between colonial settlers and native peoples plays a significant role in the country’s history before, during, and after the Revolution. Practices and attitudes of the Iroquois are carefully depicted by the author, making this read interesting.

By Lars D. H. Hedbor,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Smoke as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

They Should Have Been Enemies, But They Became Brothers

Joseph Killeen was sent to eliminate the threat of savage enemies in the forests of New-York, but when he meets Ginawo and his peaceful village of Skarure, he realizes that nothing is as simple as he was told. The Haudenosaunee Confederation is being torn asunder by the American Revolution, forced to choose sides in a fight that's not their own. Can Joseph and Ginawo bridge the divide between their peoples, when warfare threatens to destroy both societies?

The Smoke is the New-York volume in the Tales From a Revolution series, in…


Book cover of Forge

Jean C. O'Connor Why did I love this book?

Laurie Halse Anderson masterfully helps us see the dilemmas of those who endured the Revolutionary years, from a young runaway slave to soldiers at General Washington’s winter camp at Valley Forge. For younger readers, Forge gives the experience of surviving the bitter cold and hunger of the winter camp for both the fearful runaway slave, Curzon, posing as a freedman and soldier in Washington’s army, and his friend Isabel. You can feel the cold seeping into your rag-bound feet and taste the sand in your rock-baked flatbread, hunger pangs tormenting you as you read.

By Laurie Halse Anderson,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Forge as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 10, 11, 12, and 13.

What is this book about?

“One of the best novels they have ever read.” —Kirkus Reviews

Curzon navigates the dangers of being a runaway slave in this keenly felt second novel in in the historical middle grade The Seeds of America trilogy from acclaimed author Laurie Halse Anderson.

Blistering winds. Bitter cold. And the hope of a new future.

The Patriot Army was shaped and strengthened by the desperate circumstances of the Valley Forge winter. This is where Curzon the boy becomes Curzon the young man. In addition to the hardships of soldiering, he lives with the fear of discovery, for he is an escaped…


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The Others

By Evette Davis,

Book cover of The Others

Evette Davis Author Of Woman King

New book alert!

Why am I passionate about this?

I’ve worked in journalism, politics, and public policy for 30-plus years and watched as the extreme voices gained the most traction on either side of a debate. On social media, these minority views often dominate the discussion. 48 States is a stand-alone novel highlighting the problems of extremist viewpoints in a civil society. I also have another book series that features a political consultant who discovers she's a witch and joins a secret society that uses magic to manipulate elections to protect humanity. Bottom line: if I can’t fix political discourse for a living, I can write science fiction novels that contemplate how to do it.

Evette's book list on dystopian stories for the bada** feminist in us all

What is my book about?

True Blood meets Supernatural in the kickoff of this urban paranormal fantasy series from an acclaimed author. Readers enter a dystopian San Francisco filled with empaths and vampires embroiled in political unrest—and Book 1 is just the beginning.

Much as she wishes otherwise, superstar political consultant Olivia Shepherd was born a powerful empath. It’s a legacy she walked away from long ago—but when she wakes up one morning to find Elsa, a tenacious time-walker, standing in her kitchen, she realizes she can no longer ignore her gifts. She is quickly plunged into the hidden world of powerful “Others” and drafted…

The Others

By Evette Davis,

What is this book about?

True Blood meets Supernatural in the kickoff of this urban paranormal fantasy series from an acclaimed author. Readers enter a dystopian San Francisco filled with empaths and vampires embroiled in political unrest—and Book 1 is just the beginning.

Much as she wishes otherwise, superstar political consultant Olivia Shepherd was born a powerful empath. It’s a legacy she walked away from long ago—but when she wakes up one morning to find Elsa, a tenacious time-walker, standing in her kitchen, she realizes she can no longer ignore her gifts. She is quickly plunged into the hidden world of powerful “Others” and drafted…


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Interested in the American Revolutionary War, the American Revolution, and Boston?

11,000+ authors have recommended their favorite books and what they love about them. Browse their picks for the best books about the American Revolutionary War, the American Revolution, and Boston.

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