I, Eliza Hamilton by Susan Holloway Scott
(Kensington ~ September 26, 2017)
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
Required reading for Hamilton fans, and highly recommended for all historical fiction fans and history buffs in general!
Thanks to Kensington Books for this review copy – all opinions are my own.
Let’s start out with the fact that I am a major Hamilton geek. My kids and I have the complete soundtrack to the musical memorized, and we have spent hours and hours discussing the musical itself, as well as the Revolution book and numerous other titles about Hamilton’s life. When I reviewed a young adult title last winter about Alex and Eliza I actually had Chernow’s biography of Hamilton open next to me to fact-check that title (and it didn’t match up, by the way). All of this means that my review is either incredibly biased, OR it just means that I have a lot of background knowledge to use in my review – you choose.
Scott manages to include incredibly detailed historical narrative along with her telling of Eliza’s story, beginning with the events where Eliza and Alexander meet. The romance and relationship are compelling enough on their own, but this book also serves as a primer on much of the Revolutionary War, sure to satisfy even the most stickler of history buffs. At over 400 pages, this novel is NOT a light romance story despite what the cover may convey – it is a political tome that absolutely fascinated me, especially the medical details (I’m a medical history fan – give me a book about Bellevue Hospital and I’m in heaven). Fans of Hamilton the musical will be compelled to have the soundtrack playing at all times during the reading of this book, and will then be forced to compare the differences between these two accounts of events – for readers like me, that’s a dream job!
Scott wowed me with this book – she chatted with me numerous times on Instagram about Eliza while I was reading it and I can not say enough about her devotion to historical detail and this story – she is amazing! We chatted about how this book is not at all inspired by the musical and is in no way fan fiction, but the musical has definitely helped bring attention to this title. Her website provides such wonderful details about her research and additional historical background on the events and places in the book – it’s a treasure trove for history-lovers and gives such a rich extended reading experience. I highly recommending checking out her blog along with this title.
If you love US history and can’t get enough of Hamilton in your life, I can’t recommend this book highly enough. If you are expecting a frothy romance, however, this will surely surprise you with its academic nature.