Summary: A Founding Father, Alexander Hamilton is one of the most important figures in American history. However, little has been said about his wife, Eliza Schuyler Hamilton, who some argue is the true hero of Hamilton’s story. As the daughter of a respected general, Eliza is used to meeting the soldiers and dignitaries coming in and out of the Schuyler household. But no one’s captured her attention as strongly as Alexander Hamilton, George Washington’s most prized aide. Told from Eliza’s point-of-view, I, Eliza Hamilton explores Eliza’s life as she helps her husband shape the nation.
My Rating: 5/5 Stars
I started reading I, Eliza Hamilton the second weekend in September. I was home that weekend and thankfully didn’t have too much schoolwork so I dived right into reading. If you’re new to Fangirl Fury, this fangirl has been obsessed with Hamilton: An American Musical since her senior year of high school. I’ve been one of the lucky few in the scheme of things (more like in the scheme of the impossibility of getting Hamilton tickets) to see the show on Broadway, and last year, Ron Chernow came to my school and talked about Alexander Hamilton and his role in the musical. That being said, Susan Holloway Scott’s I, Eliza Hamilton was one of my most anticipated releases of 2017. My only “disappointment” of Hamilton is that we really don’t get too much time with Eliza herself. I, Eliza Hamilton is completely told from Eliza’s point of view and tracks her life from the moment she meets Alexander Hamilton in the late 1770s to his death in 1804 (sorry if you have not finished the Hamilton album yet, but it’s a historical fact that Alexander died from dueling with Aaron Burr).
While I, Eliza Hamilton is a fictional narrative, the amount of research Susan Holloway Scott did is evident throughout the novel. Being the Hamilton fan that I am, which basically means that I’ve seen almost every interview with Lin Manuel-Miranda about the show, I’ve learned that the musical is obviously not one hundred percent accurate. Sorry folks, but Hercules Mulligan was not the flower girl at Alex and Eliza’s wedding (the Schuylers made up the majority of their wedding guests).
It was really cool though to read more about some of the characters from the musical. For example, Eliza discusses the duel between John Laurens and Charles Lee, we get interaction between the Schuyler sisters, Aaron Burr and Thomas Jefferson make a few appearances, and of course, there’s the dreaded Reynolds Pamphlet.
My favorite aspect of reading I, Eliza Hamilton was how hard it was to put it down! While we can tell through Eliza’s language that she’s an eighteenth-century woman, the writing felt modern and it was quite easy to understand Alexander’s dilemmas in the political world as he explains them to his wife. I read I, Eliza Hamilton over one of the busiest weeks of my fall semester, but you better believe I read at least fifty pages before going to bed each night. Speaking of Alexander and politics, Susan Holloway Scott clearly illustrates is Eliza’s help to Alexander. Alexander would talk to Eliza about the problems facing Congress and the nation and look for her opinion, and Eliza would often help write and proofread Alexander’s various writings, from essays and correspondences to Washington’s Farewell Address. Amidst raising their family and helping her husband in any way she can, it was amazing to understand how strong of an individual Eliza was herself.
In conclusion, if you love Hamilton, you will love I, Eliza Hamilton. If you enjoyed Melissa de la Cruz’s Alex and Eliza, you will love I, Eliza Hamilton, especially since it expands past Alex and Eliza’s wedding. If you want find yourself belting out “Helpless” or “Burn” and needing more Eliza, you will love I, Eliza Hamilton. And most of all, you will love Eliza Hamilton for the hero she is.
I was fortunate enough to be sent a galley of I, Eliza Hamilton from Kensington Books. Thank you for helping expand my love for Eliza and the Hamilton story.
Do you plan to pick up I, Eliza Hamilton? Share in the comments!