I may be guilty of over-commitment to all things Hamilton. Though my friend did just ask me about seeing it this summer, and we both decided we couldn’t afford the $500 tickets. So, at least, I’m not too over-committed.
Anyway, I read Alex and Eliza, A Love Story last spring. It was a pretty fun read, and I’ve been looking forward to the sequel for a while. I just wanted more Hamilton action. Let’s see if I got that.
The book is named Love and War, but the war ends pretty much at the beginning of the book. Was I disappointed? Maybe. Ok, yes, a lot.
Alex and Eliza married in the middle of the war. But the book starts with the battle of Yorktown.
So we entirely skipped the winter Eliza spent with Alex on the front lines. Eliza becoming friends with Martha Washington. Hanging out with Alex and all his crew. Falling deeper in love with her husband.
Nope, none of that happens. So I’m a bit salty. Because instead, we get mopey Alex, complaining about not fighting. And Eliza stuck away at her parents house.
In real history, she only stayed with her parents once she got pregnant. And couldn’t really follow her husband marching around.
In the book, she just stays home, because…????
Ok, I was not super happy about that. maybe things will get better?
Not really. Alex and Eliza move to New York City and squabble a lot. And there’s some pretty interesting law cases.
I kind of understand that Melissa de la Cruz wanted to let Alex & Eliza have a year longer together. Without a baby & pregnancies. But it just doesn’t work. Not with a pretty popular musical highlighting their first born son. The kid Alex is thinking about when he storms the Brits at Yorktown.
It’s not like I didn’t enjoy any of the story. Alex and Eliza are pretty much always adorable. Eliza and her sisters are pretty sweet and always so quippy. The building tension between Aaron Burr and Alex is gut wrenching.
I also have some questions. Is this book supposed to be YA or middle grade? The first book felt like a YA romance historical fiction. This feels more middle grade in style, but has more adult content.
it’s hard to write a middle grade story about Alexander Hamilton. Um, just listen to the musical, specifically Say No to This. Definitely not middle school material.
Can you write Hamilton’s story with vague hints at flings? I’m just not sure. And I don’t think I like the vague, fluffiness. It’s too forced? It doesn’t feel right for the complicated life Hamilton lived.
So that covers the plot. What about characters?
There aren’t really any new characters in this story. Alex, Eliza, and the rest of the family were all introduced in the first book. We do get to see more witty banter, and the softer side of Eliza’s parents. And I think Peggy is super cute.
There’s also Aaron Burr. And a few scenes with Lafayette and Lauren. Though not really that much. We do know that Hamilton is suddenly friends with lots of very important people™
But his interactions with Washington are limited to just a few scenes. And he’s writing tons and tons of letters to very important people. But we don’t get to see these important people, at all.
Are you guessing that I’m disappointed?
I enjoyed the book, ok. I did. But it just wasn’t the book I hoped for. the first book started out with a lot of potential. It had some cringey moments, but I really enjoyed it. And I super hoped the sequel would improve and grow the saga.
So that’s why I’m disappointed. Because the sequel just fell flat. and instead of Alex and Eliza’s story being a duology, it’s now a longer series?
Even though I love all things Hamilton, I’m probably not going to pre-order the next book. I’ll probably pick it up. But not buy it.
Now, I don’t think this book was terrible. Because it was enjoyable to read. I mean, I had a high sky expectations. Should I have expectations?
- New York City
it was so fun to “see” NYC in it’s young stage. All the teasing about Broadway, and Wall Street. At one point, Eliza keeps calling it “The Broadway,” and it was just so funny?
- Aaron Burr and Alexander Hamilton foreshadowing
So yeah, this wasn’t a happy part of the book, because you know the end of this story. But it was well written without being over the top.
Also, Aaron Burr was such a complete jerk.
- Eliza’s portrait sessions and Hamilton’s first BIG case
So the entire second half of the book is wrapped up in this story about Eliza traipsing to a prison to have her first painting done. I didn’t know too much about that and it was super cool to play out.
And while that’s happening, Alex is fighting this gigantically important law case. Being a complete nerd, I loved this. It was so intense and I was cheering for Alex, obviously.
- ALL the HAMILTON shout-outs
If anything, this book is alot of fangirling with Hamilton lyrics. If you just want to grin, and sing along, then yes. Pick it up.
Published April 17, 2018
my rating 2.5 stars
Synopsis from Goodreads
As the war for American Independence carries on, two newlyweds are settling into their new adventure: marriage. But the honeymoon’s over, and Alexander Hamilton and Eliza Schuyler are learning firsthand just how tricky wedded life can be. Alex is still General George Washington’s right-hand man and his attention these days is nothing if not divided–much like the colonies’ interests as the end of the Revolution draws near. Alex & Eliza’s relationship is tested further by lingering jealousies and family drama.
Have you read Alex and Eliza and Love and War? Do you enjoy historical fiction? Or Hamilton?
Do your expectations ever ruin a book? Do you ever get confused if a book is supposed to be YA or not?