Book review- My Dear Hamilton

Published by Erica on

If you love historical fiction and American history, My Dear Hamilton by Stephanie Dray and Laura Kamoie should find a spot on your to-read list. Using first-person narration, it imagines what Elizabeth Schuyler Hamilton must have felt and experienced in her lifetime. She came of age during the birth of a nation, married one of the most prolific and ingenious Founding Fathers, then survived him a following half-century. Leaving behind few historical records of her own, Dray and Kamoie weave a tale imagining what it must have been like for Eliza.

When I first added this book to my library list, I had no idea that it was written by the same authors who wrote one of my favorite books, America’s First Daughter. In fact, I probably never would have made the connection if my Kindle didn’t show the description and reviews when you first open a book. While the writing style, historicity, and perspective are all well-executed, I simply couldn’t get on board with their characterization of Eliza.

I have to add that I probably came into this book with some preconceived notions of what Eliza must have been like. I’d just spent six weeks working my way through Ron Chernow’s definitive biography Alexander Hamilton. It was an incredible read, just one that requires some brain power and dedication … and lots of time. Eliza Hamilton left behind very few personal letters or journals, so sketching her character is at best a study in educated guesses.

Add to that the inevitable integration – putting myself in the character’s shoes – and Eliza’s characterization just didn’t work for me. We are constantly reminded that Eliza, narrating in her old age, hasn’t decided how she really feels about her husbands actions and betrayal. It smacks of bitterness and continually dwelling on the past, the latter of which is a pet peeve of mine.

So, would I recommend this book? Yes. Historical fiction allows authors to imagine what past figures might have felt or thought. Dray and Kamoie flexed their creative license in bringing Eliza to life, and only you can decide if their interpretation works for you.

My rating – 3.5 ⭐️

Categories: Book Review


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