I, Eliza Hamilton
|December 8, 2017||Posted by admin under Fiction, Historical Fiction|
Written by Susan Holloway Scott
Published by Kensington
Distributed by Penguin Random House Canada
Reviewed by Christa McGrath
Publication Date: September 2017
From the very first page, I was absorbed into this story and all its wonderful characters and complexities.
The book is set back in the George Washington era when the American Revolution was in full swing. A young Eliza Schuyler meets Alexander Hamilton (an ambitious aide to George Washington) at her parents’ home during a social evening with soldiers and other dignitaries. The first half of the book focuses on the evolution of their relationship and their eventual engagement and marriage. Back in the 1800s, this involved chaperoned visits and monitored encounters. A far cry from modern day dating, but the details are true to the time period and are fitting in this book. I felt very immersed in the story up to this point and enjoyed visiting this era, meeting all the characters, and watching the plot unfold. I truly felt transported back in time.
The second half of the book focuses on the marriage and family of Eliza and Alexander and explores Alexander’s career progression and his vision for America’s future. When Eliza married Alexander, she also married his aspirations and often played second fiddle to his work and career. There is quiet a bit of political information provided here. I found some of this information overwhelming to my non-political-oriented mind. Some readers with more passion and interest in politics will enjoy this. Admittedly, I glazed over some of these pages only because I found the amount of political content hard to get my head around (even though it has historical importance). I preferred the parts that focused on their growing family, on Eliza’s parents and sisters, and on their marriage. They experienced many hurdles in their 24-year marriage, including: yellow fever, adultery, miscarriage, death of a child, and war. And while I enjoyed learning about her husband’s plight in forming a new government in the United States, I found myself more intrigued by her family, particularly her older sister Angelica, and feel a story about Angelica could be equally interesting.
This is a well-written book that progresses nicely through the life stages. The amount of research that went into telling this story is evident and the authors attention to detail is to be commended. I always enjoy reading stories about family dynamics and relationships. And I, Eliza Hamilton certainly touches on theses themes. Though it was heavy on the political side for my liking and perhaps could have been a little more condensed, I still enjoyed this book. Eliza is a very likeable character and you can sense her intelligence and intuitive nature (and her extreme patience with her husband). She is the yin to her husband’s yang and is a true heroine who remained fiercely loyal to her husband even 50-plus years after his death. I, Eliza Hamilton is a gem and would be enjoyed by readers who adore drama, history, and romance.
For more information about this book or to learn how to get your very own copy, visit the publisher’s website here.