It is certainly a time of Hamiltonmania. I will be the first to admit to an appalling lack of knowledge about American history. I’ve always been more fascinated with European history – but for a long jog down the rabbit hole that is reading about the Civil War. This is a serious lack in my reading so I was excited to be given the opportunity to read My Dear Hamilton by Stephanie Dray and Laura Kamoie. I thank TLC Book Tours for sending me a free copy for my honest review.
About My Dear Hamilton:
• Hardcover: 672 pages
• Publisher: William Morrow (April 3, 2018)
“Not since I read Erik Larson’s Dead Wake have I had such an edge-of-my-seat immersion into historical events. […] No study of Alexander Hamilton would be complete without reading this book.”–Karen White, New York Times bestselling author
From the New York Times bestselling authors of America’s First Daughter comes the epic story of Eliza Schuyler Hamilton—a revolutionary woman who, like her new nation, struggled to define herself in the wake of war, betrayal, and tragedy. In this haunting, moving, and beautifully written novel, Dray and Kamoie used thousands of letters and original sources to tell Eliza’s story as it’s never been told before—not just as the wronged wife at the center of a political sex scandal—but also as a founding mother who shaped an American legacy in her own right.
A general’s daughter…
Coming of age on the perilous frontier of revolutionary New York, Elizabeth Schuyler champions the fight for independence. And when she meets Alexander Hamilton, Washington’s penniless but passionate aide-de-camp, she’s captivated by the young officer’s charisma and brilliance. They fall in love, despite Hamilton’s bastard birth and the uncertainties of war.
A founding father’s wife…
But the union they create—in their marriage and the new nation—is far from perfect. From glittering inaugural balls to bloody street riots, the Hamiltons are at the center of it all—including the political treachery of America’s first sex scandal, which forces Eliza to struggle through heartbreak and betrayal to find forgiveness.
The last surviving light of the Revolution…
When a duel destroys Eliza’s hard-won peace, the grieving widow fights her husband’s enemies to preserve Alexander’s legacy. But long-buried secrets threaten everything Eliza believes about her marriage and her own legacy. Questioning her tireless devotion to the man and country that have broken her heart, she’s left with one last battle—to understand the flawed man she married and imperfect union he could never have created without her…
You can purchase My Dear Hamilton at Harper Collins
About the Authors:
Stephanie Dray is a New York Times, Wall Street Journal & USA Today bestselling author of historical women’s fiction. Her award-winning work has been translated into eight languages and tops lists for the most anticipated reads of the year. Before she became a novelist, she was a lawyer and a teacher. Now she lives near the nation’s capital with her husband, cats, and history books.
Laura Kamoie is the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, and USA Today bestselling author of historical fiction. She holds a doctoral degree in early American history from The College of William and Mary, published two non-fiction books on early America, and most recently held the position of Associate Professor of History at the U.S. Naval Academy before transitioning to a full-time career writing fiction. Laura lives among the colonial charm of Annapolis, Maryland, with her husband and two daughters.
I was really anticipating this book. I had enjoyed America’s First Daughter, the book these same authors wrote about Patsy Jefferson (who makes an appearance in this novel.) It is certainly delightful learning about the country’s Founding Fathers through the eyes of the women closest to them. This book tells Alexander Hamilton’s story but it is very much Eliza’s book.
It is delightfully hefty book that allows the reader to sit down and truly get immersed in the subjects of the tale. The problem faced by the authors as they explained in the note at the end is that there was very little left in the historical record specifically about Eliza. It’s as if the men in her life sucked up all that would be remembered and left only crumbs for her. Given the times in which she came of age and the company she kept I suppose it could be understood. When your father is fighting to found your country and your husband is molding it – what is left for you? It also wasn’t exactly a time that revered the efforts of women was it? The authors had to rely upon those crumbs and then do what fiction writers do – imagine.
Imagine they did using their extensive research and knowledge of the era. But while this is Eliza’s story, Hamilton does overwhelm her as soon as he appears in the pages. From the moment they are introduced it is all about him. I can’t say that I liked him. I also can’t say that I have much to compare this characterization t0 so I don’t know if it is accurate to his personality or not. He did suck the air out of any room he was in and even after he was dead it was Hamilton, Hamilton, Hamilton.
Eliza was apparently a very devoted wife.
It was a very good read, as annoyed as I got at Mr. Hamilton. I also wonder how this country survived it’s first few decades. I really need to do more reading of American history. The story of Eliza, so dedicated to her husband and to her country is a fascinating look at the woman behind the man who did so much for a country that did not always respect him or his ideas. It is very much worth reading.