Hamilton Fans Rejoice: Ya Author Melissa de la Cruz Has Your Back!
By Yolanda Rodriguez
If you are obsessed with the musical Hamilton, then you will certainly enjoy the YA historical romance Love & War, a continuation to author Melissa de la Cruz’s Alex and Eliza. The first book of this series told the story of how Alexander Hamilton, an immigrant who served as George Washington’s aide, and Elizabeth Schuyler, the second eldest daughter of a renowned war general, met and fell in love. Love & War explores the couple as newlyweds, navigating their marriage just as the war is ending and the nation begins to form.
Though my historical knowledge of this couple does not extend much beyond anything presented in the musical Hamilton, I enjoy getting to imagine through this book what their day to day life was like. The book does have some historical deviances, which de la Cruz notes this to the reader as well. In reality, Alex and Eliza quickly started a family, but in this book, de la Cruz chose to hold off that part of their marriage in order to explore the couple as newlyweds. This choice helps to focus in on Alex and Eliza in how they view each other, and seeing where their priorities lie in their first years of marriage. This is not a novelization of the musical, which is much appreciated in getting to read a new side of the story even with de la Cruz filling out the world with her own additions. Fans will appreciate that there are references to the musical, though mainly as chapter titles or a phrase here and there.
Just as with the first book in this series, the story alternates between Alex and Eliza narrating. Eliza is desperate for them to have their own home, settle down as a couple, and start a family. While Alex’s ambitions take precedence as he strives to make a name for himself while seeking to provide for Eliza and their future family. He’s an incredibly ambitious person who works tirelessly and at times it seems his love of their country overshadows his love of Eliza. Alex is well aware that he will not be able to provide the luxurious, comfortable lifestyle that Eliza was accustomed to while growing up, but Eliza makes it clear that does not matter to her. The two have made sacrifices for each other and even with the financial difficulties they face, they have each other.
“That Would Be Enough” – Lin-Manuel Miranda
Hamilton: Will you relish being a poor man’s wife. Unable to provide for your life?
Eliza: I relish being your wife.
This book does explore the reality of their marriage and at one point, Eliza even admits to herself that the two are still getting to know one another. Their epic romance faces the trials of establishing their own home, no longer being dependent on the Schuyler name or fortune. They fall into the traditional spousal roles with Eliza learning to become the woman of her household, and Alex being the provider. Where Eliza’s days are occupied with establishing the couple in society, Alex works on making a name for himself as a lawyer in New York City. In alternating narrators, de la Cruz is able to give insight to how Alex and Eliza go about their duties and even how they view each other. Alex’s work as a lawyer becomes more time consuming as he engages in case going up against Aaron Burr, and his time away from home leaves Eliza feeling lonely. Thankfully, Eliza does have her sisters and despite Alex’s long hours, the two have the utmost admiration and dedication to one another. De la Cruz incorporates the small romantic moments between the newlyweds like the way Eliza whispers Alex’s name in his ear, the way Alex steals a kiss in the shadows of a crowded party. You want the best for this couple, even though as history tells us, their biggest trials are yet to come.
Fans of the musical would have noticed that in this series, the near romance between Alex and Angelica Schuyler, the eldest Schuyler daughter, is non-existent. The two have small coquettish interactions, but the same could be said for Alex and Peggy. Angelica and Peggy as the bold sisters in this series are quick to tease Alex in a brazen manner, and Alex would reciprocate. Angelica’s husband wishes to return to his homeland of England to pursue a political career. Perhaps in de la Cruz’s next book in this series we will see hints of Angelica and Alex’s flirtatious relationship in their letters, but since it has not been present so far, it’s possible that will not be part of this story.
The book is a wonderful continuation of the epic love story we are attached to and readers can already look forward to the third book in the Alex and Eliza series which is set to release next Spring.
About the Author
Yolanda enjoys writing in her free time and obsessing over various fandoms. She's the co-host of The Pemberley Podcast which covers modern-day Jane Austen adaptations. She lives and works in Los Angeles.
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