Featured Review: Alex & Eliza: A Love Story by Melissa de la Cruz
About This Book:
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 New York society’s biggest events: the Schuylers’ grand ball. Descended from two of 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—Angelica, with her razor-sharp wit; Peggy, with her dazzling looks; and Eliza, whose beauty and charm rival that of both her sisters, though she’d rather be aiding the colonists’ cause than dressing up for some silly ball. Still, she 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 that fateful night, so begins an epic love story that would forever change the course of American history.
*Review Contributed by Elisha Jachetti, Staff Reviewer*
Alex & Eliza: A Love Story
Just as Colonel Hamilton falls hopelessly in love with Miss Schuyler, as did I with ALEX & ELIZA: A LOVE STORY by Melissa de la Cruz. This YA Historical Fiction novel follows the courtship, if one can call it that, of Alexander Hamilton and Elizabeth Schuyler. Though Hamilton’s life has become a popular topic of late, this particular book, though fictional, offers a singularly, unique view of the man. Firstly, the novel is told primarily from Eliza’s perspective. Therefore, the audience learns who Hamilton is mainly through Eliza’s eyes. Secondly, the book takes place during the early part of Hamilton’s career, before his most notable work, while the majority of the existing literature focuses on the later part of his life.
In many ways, the novel has similar qualities to classics such as PRIDE AND PREJUDICE by Jane Austen, ANNA KARENENIA by Leo Tolstoy, and JANE EYRE by Charlotte Brontë. The impossible romance, the strict societal rules, and the subject of marriage in relation to love and duty are just a few examples. However, with that being said, Alex and Eliza’s story still has a very contemporary appeal. The strong female characters, the discussion of race relations, and the political events in this book, such as the attempted scapegoating of General Schuyler, all echo present day America.
What makes this novel so exciting though is how incredibly romantic Alex and Eliza’s love story is. In fact, I want to know more! Consequently, I am now curious to read their personal letters that de la Cruz mentions perusing in preparation for writing this book. I am also very interested in learning what parts of the story are true and where exactly artistic license has been taken. Moreover, this courtly love provides a nice contrast to today’s lazy dating behaviors.
Overall, being a living relative of Alexander Hamilton’s, I was ready to be a tough critic, but every detail of this book is absolutely wonderful. ALEX & ELIZA: A LOVE STORY will make you swoon, sigh, hold your breath, and cheer. Though I may be a bit biased, this is my favorite book I’ve read this year.