Hamilton and Peggy!: A Revolutionary Friendship
Set in late-1700s New York during the American Revolution, this is an entertaining homage to Lin-Manuel Miranda’s musical, Hamilton. Peggy Schuyler, eighteen, is the youngest of Patriot General Philip Schuyler’s three eldest—and in 1777, as yet unmarried—daughters. With the commander of the Northern Army as her father, Peggy is privy to the tribulations, and, eventually, to the hard-won victories that turn the tide toward American independence.
There are two struggles for independence here—the one the Patriots are fighting, and the one in Peggy’s heart. Through her relationship with the “quicksilver” Alexander Hamilton, who hopes to marry Peggy’s sister, Eliza, readers experience Peggy’s yearning to make a genuine contribution to the Revolution, no matter how small; in short, to claim her own identity and not live in the long shadow of sweet Eliza and beautiful, flirty Angelica. Peggy’s sharply observed interaction with her future brother-in-law, “Hammie,” begins when he writes to enlist her as an ally in wooing Eliza. Against this backdrop, Peggy faces personal and political turmoil head on until, finally, she must summon all her courage to keep her family safe.
I particularly appreciated the author’s sidelong glances at contemporary issues. Three out of four men in the Continental Army were born somewhere other than America. Hamilton, the immigrant son of a single mother, sailed from the Caribbean Island of St. Croix to America to make his name and fortune. Many famous men and women (Benedict Arnold, Martha Washington) inhabit these pages, including the affable young French aristocrat, the Marquis de Lafayette, who volunteered with the Continental Army, was named a Major General at age nineteen, and very nearly steals the show. The author’s engaging afterword and a thorough bibliography nicely round out the book. Highly recommended.