Wednesday, April 4, 2018

Alex & Eliza: A Love Story - Melissa De La Cruz


Summary:  Their romance shaped a nation.  The rest was history.

1777, Albany, New York

As battle cries of the American Revolution echo in the distance, servants flutter about, preparing for one of the New York society’s biggest events: the Schuyler’s grand ball.  Descended from the oldest and most distinguished bloodlines in New York, the Schuylers are proud to be one of their fledgling country’s founding families, and even prouder still of their three daughters—Angelic, with her razor-sharp wit; Peggy, with her dazzling looks; and Eliza, whose beauty and charm rival those of both her sisters, though she’d rather be aiding the colonists’ cause than dressing up for some silly ball.

Still, Eliza can barely contain her excitement when she hears of the arrival of one Alexander Hamilton, a mysterious, rakish young colonel and General George Washington’s right-hand man.  Though Alex has arrived as the bearer of bad news for the Schuylers, he can’t believe his luck—as an orphan, and a bastard one at that—to be in such esteemed company.  And when Alex and Eliza meet on that fateful night, so begins an epic love story that would forever change the course of American history.  (Summary from book flap – Image from goodreads.com)
My Review:  I snapped up this book at our local library the second I heard of its existence, because I could hardly pass up the chance to read a little more about one of America’s famous romantic couples: Alexander Hamilton, the first US Secretary of the Treasury; and Elizabeth (Schuyler) Hamilton, his wife.  According to the author, Melissa De La Cruz, “Not much is known about Alex & Eliza’s romance, except that they fell hard and fast and were so in love that Eliza carried a poem he wrote for her in a necklace that she wore until the day she died.”   After seeing the Broadway musical based on Hamilton's life, De La Cruz was swept up in the magic of it all and decided to write, in her words, a “fictional embellishment” of their story. 
Alex & Eliza: A Love Story, takes place between the fall of 1777 and winter of 1780 in the newly liberated American colonies.  As such, it only encompasses a small part of the couple’s story, which begins with a tense altercation at a winter's ball that places Hamilton in an unsavory light.  Through a not-so-chance-encounter on a deserted road and several interactions thereafter, Eliza is minded to think better of the man she has heard is no better than a fatherless scoundrel.  As the couple grows closer, challenges arise that seem insurmountable and require a great deal of brash heroics before everything is said and done.  As far as I could tell, De Le Cruz used key historical details (people, places, events) to craft her story, while the rest is entertaining, but fictional.  There was some adorable romantic tension between the two main characters, something that can be hard to achieve when most of your readers already know how the story ends.  All in all, it wasn’t earth shattering, but it was fun YA reading and an enjoyable way to spend the afternoon.  I’d recommend this book to anyone who’d like a little more Alex and Eliza in their lives. 
My Rating:  3.75 Stars
For the sensitive reader:  There might have been one or two bad words.  One mildly written attempted rape scene.  One allusion to sex (not descriptive—really more of a nightgown-drop-fade-to-black kind of moment). 

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