Love & War

Written by Melissa de la Cruz
Review by Diane Scott Lewis

In this sequel to Alex & Eliza, Alexander Hamilton has married Elizabeth Schuyler. It’s 1781 and Alex, anxious to be part of the American Revolution, demands a command from General Washington. Washington relents, Alex leads a battle, Cornwallis surrenders at Yorktown, and the war draws to an end. Alex and Eliza rent a townhouse in New York City, where he works as a lawyer, but the city is ravaged by the former British occupation, and paying clients are few. Eliza is used to grand living from her prominent upbringing, but she dives in to support her husband with no servants and little furniture.

Alex at last finds a client, a loyalist widow, who has had her property confiscated. She can’t pay him unless he wins her case. Will his peers condemn him for representing a former supporter of the King? His main nemesis is Aaron Burr—a man who will figure in Alex’s future.

This is a chatty book with much telling rather than showing. The battle scene is exciting, but the dinner party scenes can drag. Canned food did not exist yet, and berries would not have ripened in April in upstate New York.

Eliza and her sisters discuss important matters, such as a central government to bring the states together and make the country strong. Details of food and clothing, the bleak picture of New York City (excellent) after the war, and the struggles of the fledgling government will all teach students about life, history and reality in this era. De la Cruz’s writing is lyrical and intelligent, and there will be a third book in this series. For ages twelve and up.