Alex and Eliza: A Love Story

Written by Melissa de la Cruz
Review by Diane Scott Lewis

Young Colonel Alexander Hamilton works as secretary to General George Washington in Albany, New York, in 1777. Hamilton begs for a command of his own so he can fight the British during America’s Revolution, but Washington depends on Alex’s diplomatic skills. Alex is sent to deliver news of a court-martial for General Schuyler after the loss of Fort Ticonderoga. The Schuylers are throwing a party, and Alex reports his ugly mission as the general’s middle daughter, Eliza, overhears. An energetic, practical girl who is working for the rebel cause, she dislikes Alex at once. But Alex is instantly smitten with her. The Schuylers are a prestigious family, while Alex is an illegitimate child born in the West Indies to a Scottish aristocrat who abandoned him. He’s penniless, with little hope of marrying one of Albany’s “princesses.”

This novel is a good introduction to Hamilton, one of our Founding Fathers, and Elizabeth Schuyler, a formidable woman and humanitarian. Details of the American Revolution are worked in with the horrible conditions of the war for soldiers. The story focuses on Hamilton’s determination to rise in importance and win Eliza’s hand—even after she’s promised to a wealthy cad. The author admits to embellishing much of the private moments, since scant information is known of their courtship. De la Cruz’s writing is fluid, intelligent and beautiful, with spurts of humor and witty dialogue. The characters are well drawn. Recommended for teens who are interested in a lively tale and one of history’s great love stories. For ages twelve and up.