Published by William Morrow on April 3, 2018
Source: the publisher
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“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…
I received this book for free from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
My Dear Hamilton by Stephanie Dray and Laura Kamoie is fantastic! I’m so glad I have this one on my shelf. When I read their previous book written in a similar style, I had no idea what I was stepping into, but I was blown away by how wonderful it was. With this book, I had every idea and I knew what I was in for and oh my gosh, it delivered again.
“I was someone before I met Alexander Hamilton.” -Eliza, p. 11
Eliza’s story stole my heart from the first line of the first chapter, when she talks about being a patriot before she ever met the man that would change this nation. In a lot of ways, this book takes this tone throughout, where Eliza is in someone else’s shadow, whether it be her military-general father’s or Alexander’s. At times I felt like she was even compared to her beloved sisters. In this book, however Eliza is finally given her chance to talk and to fully come out from beneath everyone else.
The line that I have highlighted above broke my heart when I first read it, but Eliza is not no frail thing.
To my delight, My Dear Hamilton is every bit as big and sweeping as I hoped it would be. Eliza’s story in this book begins long before she meets Alexander, back when her family was under scrutiny for her father’s military work. Here she is already sharing her own thoughts and ideas, and I loved being in her head. By the time Alexander was introduced into the story, I already had a grip on how Eliza felt about what was going on around her – the people around her, including famous historical figures contemporary to Eliza, as well as the true condition of our nation and the soldiers fighting for it. I wasn’t looking at things through Alexander’s eyes. It was awesome to see the rest of Eliza’s story unfold through her own perspective. (The authors mention in their notes that they used primary sources for their research as much as possible. *fist bumps and high fives*)
It’s true that there was some sadness and pain mixed in with Eliza’s good times and for this, my heart broke for her. I wish much of it had happened differently, but this is history: hers and ours. I feel like this book has given me a much more full and robust picture of the Eliza (and even Alexander and the time they were living in) that many of us have only just begun to know since the Hamilton Broadway musical became popular or even since many of us have tuned into popular American Revolutionary Era historical TV shows like TURN: Washington’s Spies.
I love that authors Stephanie Dray and Laura Kamoie have done this twice now: given us two stories of women that have lived upright and with dignity, being true to themselves behind very large-and-in-charge founding fathers in US American History. It was Martha “Patsy” Jefferson Randolph with their previous book, America’s First Daughter, and now Eliza Schuyler Hamilton with My Dear Hamilton. I know it’s too early to go ahead and wish for more from them about these strong women in our long-ago history, but I’m already craving it and I know there are other readers out there like me. If Ms. Dray and Ms. Kamoie will write it, I will read it. These two authors write so well together; they are so seamless in their transitions that I can’t tell where one ends and one begins. And they clearly have a love for the history because their books take me completely in and make me feel like I AM THERE, wherever/whenever they are writing about.
When this book was announced – forever ago! – I was so excited and the wait for this one genuinely felt like forever, but oh my gosh, it was so worth it. Eliza’s story has stolen my heart with how amazing it is and how utterly heartbreaking, but it is wonderful to just listen to her. I want so badly to put this one into the hands of everyone that I know that loves historical fiction. It’s long, but it is immersive, and I think that’s probably the best kind of historical fiction there is.