Bunker Hill: A Novel

Written by Janet Tinney
Review by John R. Vallely

Joseph Warren (1741-1775) was one of the most important and influential political leaders in the opening stages of the American Revolution. He grew up in poverty in Boston and worked himself up the social ladder from poor farmer to respected physician in pre-Revolutionary Boston. Dr. Warren was a tireless advocate for freedom from what he and his fellow Sons of Liberty believed to be British tyranny. After assuming a central role in armed rebellion, the young father of four was killed in the Battle of Bunker Hill in 1775. Warren was a true hero to Americans but has been largely forgotten on both sides of the Atlantic in the years since he stood as a symbol of American resistance. I approached Janet Tinney’s novel of Warren’s life with a certain amount of excitement and anticipation. Sadly, Ms. Tinney’s unimaginative and wooden style of writing coupled with her portrayal of Dr. Warren as almost saintly in his daily life combined to make Bunker Hill an ordeal rather than a treat. The characters in these pages remain one-dimensional and the Boston that emerges is more a stage set than a city threatening to boil over under the twin threats of armed troops and uncompromising rebels filling the streets. A sterile, lifeless treatment of an interesting man living in a fascinating period. Dr. Warren, and the reader, deserve better. Not recommended.