While our focus at A World Adventure by Book is on global literature, we can't always resist great historical fiction so in honor of the 4th of July, we compiled a list of the best Revolutionary War novels.
Today on July 4th, celebrate America's day of independence with one of the eight historical fiction books below for adults or either of the two bonus historical fiction novels for younger audiences.
"Ethan Saunders, once among General Washington’s most valued spies, now lives in disgrace. An accusation of treason has long since cost him his reputation and his beloved fiancée, Cynthia Pearson, but at his most desperate moment he is recruited for an unlikely task–finding Cynthia’s missing husband. To help her, Saunders must serve his old enemy, Treasury Secretary Alexander Hamilton, who is engaged in a bitter power struggle with political rival Thomas Jefferson over the fragile young nation’s first real financial institution: the Bank of the United States.
Meanwhile, Joan Maycott is married to another Revolutionary War veteran. With the new states unable to support their ex-soldiers, the Maycotts make a desperate gamble: trade the chance of future payment for the hope of a better life on the western Pennsylvania frontier. There, amid hardship and deprivation, they find unlikely friendship and a chance for prosperity with a new method of distilling whiskey. But on an isolated frontier, whiskey is more than a drink; it is currency and power, and the Maycotts’ success attracts the brutal attention of men in Hamilton’s orbit, men who threaten to destroy all Joan holds dear.
As their causes intertwine, Joan and Saunders find themselves on opposing sides of a daring scheme that will forever change their lives and their new country."
Foreword by Diana Gabaldon
"When newlyweds Gilbert and Lana Martin settle in the Mohawk Valley in 1776, they work tirelessly against the elements to build a new life. But even as they clear land and till soil to establish their farm, the shots of the Revolutionary War become a rallying cry for both the loyalists and the patriots. Soon, Gil and Lana see their neighbors choose sides against each other—as British and Iroquois forces storm the valley, targeting anyone who supports the revolution.
Originally published in 1936, this classic novel was a bestseller for two years—second only to Gone with the Wind—and was adapted into a motion picture in 1939. Now, some three-quarters of a century later, Drums Along the Mohawk stands as a brilliant account of the majesty of the New York frontier, the timeless rhythms that shape a marriage, and the battles of a revolution that would change the world. "
"A novel about George Washington’s trip across the Delaware River and the Battle of Trenton by a #1 NY York Times–bestselling author.
Immortalized on canvas by Emanuel Leutze, Washington’s journey across the Delaware River is one of the most celebrated moments in American history. But the true story of the crossing, and of what came after, is often lost in the legend. In The Crossing, Howard Fast writes with striking historical detail and relentless narrative drive about Washington’s surprise attack, leading the Continental Army to its Revolutionary War victory against the one thousand Hessian mercenaries in Trenton, New Jersey—a momentous occasion in American history."
"Stewart Jameson, a Scottish portrait painter fleeing his debtors in Edinburgh, has washed up on the British Empire's far shores—in the city of Boston, lately seized with the spirit of liberty. Eager to begin anew, he advertises for an apprentice, but the lad who comes knocking is no lad at all. Fanny Easton is a fallen woman from Boston's most prominent family who has disguised herself as a boy to become Jameson's defiant and seductive apprentice.
Written with wit and exuberance by accomplished historians, Blindspot is an affectionate send-up of the best of eighteenth-century fiction. It celebrates the art of the Enlightenment and the passion of the American Revolution by telling stories of ordinary people caught up in an extraordinary time."
"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 and abused the laws he holds sacred.
The taut courtroom drama soon broadens into a stunning epic of war as King George III leads a reckless and corrupt government in London toward the escalating abuse of his colonies. Outraged by the increasing loss of their liberties, an extraordinary gathering of America's most inspiring characters confronts the British presence with the ideals that will change history.
John Adams, the idealistic attorney devoted to the law, who rises to greatness by the power of his words . . . Ben Franklin, one of the most celebrated men of his time, the elderly and audacious inventor. . . George Washington, the dashing Virginian whose battle experience in the French and Indian War brings him the recognition that elevates him to command of a colonial army . . . and many other immortal names from the colonial struggle captured as never before in their full flesh-and-blood humanity.
More than a powerful portrait of the people and purpose of the revolution, Rise to Rebellion is a vivid account of history's most pivotal events all recreated with the kind of breathtaking detail only a master like Shaara can muster. Rise to Rebellion reveals with new immediacy how philosophers became fighters, ideas their ammunition, and how a scattered group of colonies became the United States of America."
'Howard Fast is fiercely American, he is one of ours, one of our very best.' -The Los Angeles Times
One battle will determine the fate of Boston.
Three thousand soldiers from the world's greatest army are cornered in Boston, surrounded by farmers and doctors turned rebel soldiers and generals. For a week both sides are at an impasse, until June 17, 1775, when the standstill comes to a violent, bloody end on Breed's and Bunker hills.
In Bunker Hill, master storyteller Howard Fast recounts the unlikely battle that changed the course of the Revolutionary War forever. Tensions rise among both the British and Colonial soldiers as political and tactical frustrations, dissent, confusion, and fear threaten to tear both sides apart before the fighting even begins."
Winner of the American Library Association's Notable Book Award.
"Based upon a true story, The Hessian tells the story of the capture, trial, and execution of a Hessian drummer boy by Americans during the Revolution. At the heart of the story is a Quaker family, who hide the boy after his landing party has been killed in an ambush. Because the captain of the Hessians had ordered the hanging of a local whom he thought might be a spy, the town militia lay in wait, massacred the Hessians, and hunted down the only survivor, Hans Pohl. His capture and trial provide an opportunity to explore the difficult moral position that war presents, complicated by the presence of the Quaker family. The story is told from the point of view of Evan Feversham, a doctor who has seen enough of death, and an outsider in the narrow world of Puritan New England."
"In this novel, Kenneth Roberts portrays a very different side to the story of the American Revolution, that of the loyalists (those colonists who supported the British monarchy). Spanning the years from 1775 to 1783, Oliver Wiswell traces the adventures of a Yale student who is deeply loyal to the established government of the colonies. This wonderfully far-ranging novel is packed with battles, sudden flights, escapes, intrigue, massacres, romance, and exile as it follows Wiswell, a spy for Sir William Howell (Commander in Chief of the British Armies) on Long Island, as well as in Paris and London. He captures a sloop single-handedly and joins Benedict Arnold against the American revolutionaries of the southern colonies. Oliver Wiswell did no less than challenge the accepted perceptions of the loyalists. Though branded by history as cowardly traitors, many of them were men of strong convictions and fierce courage, sometimes defeating triple their number of Continental troops and militiamen in battle. With strong historical detail and vivid depictions, Roberts explores the hearts and minds of those men and women who opposed the Revolution."
Bonus: 2 revolutionary way novels for younger audiences
For ages 10-12
"Johnny Tremain, winner of the 1944 Newbery Medal, is one of the finest historical novels ever written for children. As compelling today as it was fifty years ago, to read this riveting novel is to live through the defining events leading up to the American Revolutionary War.
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 shaping the American Revolution from the Boston Tea Party to the first shots fired at Lexington. Powerful illustrations by American artist Michael McCurdy, bring to life Esther Forbes' quintessential novel of the American Revolution."
"Howard Fast’s bestselling coming-of-age novel about one boy’s introduction to the horrors of war amid the brutal first battle of the American Revolution.
On April 19, 1775, musket shots ring out over Lexington, Massachusetts. As the sun rises over the battlefield, fifteen-year-old Adam Cooper stands among the outmatched patriots, facing a line of British troops.
Determined to defend his home and prove his worth to his disapproving father, Cooper is about to embark on the most significant day of his life. The Battle of Lexington and Concord will be the starting point of the American Revolution—and when Cooper becomes a man.
Sweeping in scope and masterful in execution, April Morning is a classic of American literature and an unforgettable story of one community’s fateful struggle for freedom."