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About Jean & The Remarkable Cause

The Montana Arts Council's publication, State of the Arts, provides updates on books, film, literary, visual, and performing arts throughout the Treasure State.

Below is the main story from their review in State of the Arts of Winter 2022 in the Book section for The Remarkable Cause: A Novel of James Lovell and the Crucible of the Revolution:


Beginning with a few sentences in her grandmother’s journal, Jean C. O’Connor uncovered the story of the Lovells: Master John Lovell, headmaster at the Boston Latin School, and his son James, the under-teacher or “usher.”

At the time James became a teacher, protests against the Stamp Act were ongoing. Mob violence, burning figures in effigy, destruction of the governor’s house, and desecration of shops of any who supported the stamps were common. One can imagine the arguments that must have occurred between James and his father, as both taught in the same large square room. James agreed with the Patriots and the Sons of Liberty; Master John Lovell remained a staunch Loyalist. Following Bunker Hill, James was arrested for spying and imprisoned in the Boston Stone Jail. When General Howe abandoned his siege of Boston, taking all his soldiers and Loyalists with him, he also took the prisoners. Both James and Master John Lovell with his family ended up in Halifax, N.S. After nine more miserable months in prison there, James was eventually released through an exchange of prisoners and returned to Boston. Before long, he joined the Second Continental Congress.

Jean says that researching this story was fascinating to her, as she found primary sources in Boston at the Massachusetts Historical Society, the Harvard Archives and Harvard Houghton Library, and the New England Historical and Genealogical Society; in Halifax at the Nova Scotia Archives and the Citadel; in Washington, D.C. at the Library of Congress; and in Ithaca, NY, at the Cornell Library of Rare Books. Subsequent contacts turned up numerous artifacts in other places.

The Remarkable Cause: A Novel of James Lovell and the Crucible of the Revolution (Knox Press, 2020) is available at Amazon, Simon & Schuster, Barnes and Noble, Indiebound, in Helena, MT at the Montana Book Company, and anywhere books published by Simon & Schuster are sold.

Jean taught English and History and retired as Literacy Coach from Helena High School. She is the recipient of the NCTE High School Teacher of Excellence Award, 2018, and the MATELA Distinguished Educator Award.

You may reach Jean at

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