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Aug 20, 2018

My Dear Hamilton: A Novel of Eliza Schuyler Hamilton by Stephanie Dray and Laura Kamoie

Monday, August 20, 2018

My Dear Hamilton: A Novel of Eliza Schuyler Hamilton: Wife, Widow, and Warrior in Alexander Hamilton’s Quest for a More Perfect Union by Stephanie Dray and Laura Kamoie
William Morrow, April 2018 paperback edition
eBook from library
Link to BurtonBookReview of authors' last work

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. Haunting, moving, and beautifully written, 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 thoroughly enjoyed this writing teams' last novel based on Thomas Jefferson and family, and I could not wait until the library loan became available for this novel based on Eliza Hamilton, wife to Alexander Hamilton. Most of what I remember from grade school history studies is more on place names and the colonies themselves along with important dates. What I had not gathered was how my country was born divided and really still is, despite its "united" moniker. The founding fathers were not all that super special but were certainly intelligent and eager to get their opinions out there. This novel delves into the behind the scenes as it happened during the revolutionary times to the Schuyler family but shows us a flawed but devoted marriage of Eliza and Alexander Hamilton.

"Worse than that, he made me despair of the traitor in him, too. For though Alexander Hamilton did not betray his country, he did betray me. And now, I struggle with whether love or hate burns more intensely inside me."

The character of Alexander Hamilton is fleshed out as much as possible given the history that is available to us, and there are a lot of letters. Through the tenacity and sheer will of Eliza Schuyler Hamilton is how Hamilton's legacy has not been thoroughly erased. The ways in which we see the mainstream media at work today is not much different than centuries before as we may never know what really is true or not. We are lucky to have the letters that Hamilton liked to write regarding his opinions on how an economy should work and how a country should be run.

The fact that Alexander Hamilton could have been gay is something I never came across until now .. and the novel does address it some.  Again this is through Eliza's eyes however -- so what is truth and fiction is fit for the tabloids. There are many intriguing angles to the novel which made for fast reading and I felt like I learned so much more than a year of grade school could have ever provided. The character of Eliza Schuyler Hamilton is one that forces you to admire her and wish you could have known her, and wish that there were that same caliber of women survivors around for today's generation:
"Silence is often the only weapon available to ladies. And I wield mine expertly."

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