My Dear Hamilton: A Novel of Eliza Schuyler

Written by Laura Kamoie Stephanie Dray
Review by Hilary Daninhirsch

Hamilton, the smash Broadway musical, was the authors’ inspiration for this sweeping novel about Alexander Hamilton’s wife, Elizabeth Schuyler Hamilton. The writing duo also authored America’s First Daughter, about Martha “Patsy” Jefferson.

The book shines a very different light on the Eliza the public has come to know through the musical. Extensive historical research resulted in this lively account of Elizabeth Schuyler Hamilton, an extremely accomplished woman who, in addition to her marriage to Alexander Hamilton, made her own mark on society as the co-founder of New York City’s first private orphanage. But long before that, she was the daughter of Philip Schuyler, a Congressman, and later, the wife of the first Secretary of the Treasury.

Elizabeth, later nicknamed Eliza, was the backbone behind her husband’s political career and contributed to some of his important writings. She also suffered greatly, enduring the unspeakable heartbreak of losing a child and suffering through her husband’s infidelities, as well as his untimely death. She is portrayed as a strong woman when women were not expected to be much more than wives and mothers, one who held the family together in times of tragedy.

Although the book is nothing like the musical, fans of Hamilton may find many familiar scenes and characters that graced the Broadway stage. The authors also incorporate a slew of fascinating additional information that rounds out the book.

The book is quite detailed, but my interest never waned because the story is so engaging. Though the story focuses on Eliza and her relationship with Hamilton, the historical background that provides the framework is a compelling look at the founding of our country, and for that alone, the book provides for fascinating reading.