Alex and Eliza

Back in May last year my friends and I got cheap tickets to Hamilton this February, which was the best way to celebrate the new year. However, riding the hype, I decided to try this novel and was bitterly disappointed.

The novel endeavours to cover a bit of the story that the musical barely touches on: Elizabeth Schuyler and Alexander Hamilton getting together. It follows their courting, Alex’s struggle with his work and Eliza’s need to aid the war effort, all only briefly touched on in the play.

“The practical girl who would not settle for less than a love story for the ages found the life long romance she had yearned for all her life.

My first problem with this novel was the characters. Eliza was such a Mary Sue- smart, kind, beautiful (despite her humble dress, of course), incredible at anything she takes her hand to- from horse riding to administering medication, and just all round amazing. As the narrator and protagonist, she was exceptionally dull. I understand that the author didn’t want to sully the name of this quite impressive American heroine but she could have made her a little less pretentious and cut the “she’s different to every other girl” cliché.

Alex felt like he could have been an interesting character, and I know he was very striking in real life, but little of the novel was dedicated to his character development outside of his relationship with Eliza. Which was fine, I understand this novel is meant to be Eliza’s turn in the spotlight, although Alex showed more character development throughout the course of the novel than she did. The side characters showed more potential- I enjoyed Angelica’s sass and Aunt Gurtrude’s fierce personality, it was just a shame Eliza shared little of these traits and showed no character development because, of course, she was already perfect.

“I like to think I’m not like other girls” – Eliza

The setting of the novel was the 1780s when Eliza went to stay with her aunt Gertrude. Not knowing much about the time period I don’t know how accurate the descriptions were, although Eliza and Hamilton do go to all the places described in the novels and the events are vaguely chronological to her actual history. I can’t say much for the authenticity of the setting, but if anyone is big on American history reading this I’d quite like to know.

The ‘world building’ could have been better incorporated into the actual story- the reader is presented with full on chapters of the history of the revolution which could have been given in a more entertaining and digestible way, like characters discussing the past or diary notes. However I enjoyed how much background was given and understood Hamilton’s life in the Caribbean a lot more from its explanation in this novel than its portrayal in the musical, which is very brief.

“Mark my words, Alex. You are a man whose future lies before him for all to marvel at one day

What upset me most about this novel was the plot. The author has clearly researched the topic: she puts paragraphs and paragraphs of historical fact, goes into minute details about battles and onto long tangents on the history of Eliza’s family, yet the entire plot was made up. The tensions in the novel have no historical basis and, rather than use the research to tell the story, the author has taken the wealth of history she’s learnt, dumped it in the novel and then written her own story on top of it, taking vague likenesses to historical figures.

You may wonder why I am so annoyed about this, and it’s not just the preservation of history my historian of a boyfriend has drummed into me. It’s because I researched Eliza’s history to write this review and it’s interesting. She deserves her own book, she spoke out against slavery, co founded an orphanage, studied all of Hamilton’s writing and her sister Peggy saved them all when the family home was attacked by red coats with a quick lie. She had an interesting life, and it’s understandably very glossed over in the musical, they do attempt to cover a complex history in just three hours. She deserves a novel, as the author says in her author’s notes, but a real one. One that properly tells Eliza’s history. I know there’s creative lisences but this really isn’t the point of historical fiction. It’s just the plot the author wanted to write, riding on the coat tails of a popular musical.

And you, Colonel Hamilton, are mine, and I am yours always.

The target audience for this novel was difficult to decipher. It didn’t appeal to the historian in me, curious to find out more about a history only briefly discussed in the musical, or the romantic. The romance in this novel was cheesy. The lines have been used over and over in romance novels and the acceptance of Hamilton by Eliza’s parents was very corny, it ended with Mrs Schuyler giving a speech about how she would be happy with her marrying Alex if it made her daughter happy. All very overdone and terribly corny.

Overall I wouldn’t recommend this novel. The characters were flat, the plot entirely fictional and the romance was substandard.

Fall tbr Update

Hello all, hope you’re having a great Tuesday! I’ve taken a break from my NaNoWriMo, which is at 926 words, not exactly on target but oh well, to write a Top Ten Tuesday! Also if you’re doing/have done NaNo, how on earth do you keep up?! And writing that much in so short a time, I’m finding it very tricky 😣

This week’s topic is backlist, but I thought I’d revisit an old list, my Fall tbr, and see how well or not well I’m doing!

1. Throne of Glass by Sarah J Maas ✔️

I succeeded! Yep, I polished of this one last month I want to say? It was not as amazing as I was hoping, but I still enjoyed it! You can read my review here.

2. The Railway Man by Eric Lomaz ✔️

I’ve read this! It was startling, shocking and amazing. It’s message is so important and I definitely recommend this novel.

3. The Raven King by Maggie Steivfater ❌

This list was going so well. Sadly, Gansey and friends continue to be Welsh kingless in my mind.

4. A Gathering of Shadows by VE Schwab ❌

I still keep putting it off for its brick like tendencies 😬 hopefully I’ll pick this novel up soon.

5. To Kill a Kingdom by Alexandra Christo ❌

I am so excited for this novel. It sounds so good and I am just as sad you with my failing to read it.

6. Magnus Chase and The Hammer of Thor by Rick Riordan ✔️

I’m currently reading this! And as I’m over half way through I think I definitely deserve a gold star for this one!

7. Hero at the Fall by Alwyn Hamiliton ✔️

We’re on a role with the ticks! I read it, loved it, and am completely gutted to have finished this incredible series. Definitely one of my favourite series ever.

8. The Mime Order by Samantha Shannon ❌

Ok, yes, I am still failing on this account. I will get round to reading this one it’s just not my most anticipated read.

9. Alex and Eliza by Melissa de la Cruz ❌

A read with a deadline. I intend to read this novel before I go see Hamilton in February. Also Hamilton 😍

10. Rose Under Fire by Elizabeth Wein ❌

It’s sitting on my shelf glaring at me. I’m sure I’ll read this exciting, plane related read soon!

Lets Compare Notes

Have you read any of these? Are they on your tbr? How are you doing with your tbr? Would love to hear from you in the comments, and feel free to drop your list by!

Fall TBR

In England fall basically means rain. Forget your romantic notions of crispy orange leaves and woolly hats, think more soggy shoes and damp, frizzy hair. It’s a horrendously wet season that holds a few very key events: my birthday, bonfire night and the date the John Lewis Christmas Add is released.

And with those key dates in your diary here’s the books I’ll be reading this fall, snuggled under a blanket, in my thickets socks, listening to the patter of rain on the windows.

1. Throne of Glass by Sarah J Maas

How have you not read this??? I hear you cry and yes, I have no idea how I’ve managed not to read one of the biggest fantasy YA series for so long, please don’t unfollow this blog out of principle. I plan to soon fix the situation. Honest.

2. The Railway Man by Eric Lomaz

What’s this? A non-YA book on my blog? And a non-fiction no less. Wow if you weren’t hovering over the unfollow button earlier then you definitely are now. This novel follow the author and protagonist through his experience of the second world war where he’s a prisoner and forced to work on one of the most deadly railway projects ever endeavoured. And yeah, it’s pretty good.

3. The Raven King by Maggie Steivfater

Time to see if everyone’s favourite private school boys find that Welsh King, and who’s getting that wish.

4. A Gathering of Shadows by VE Schwab

Because of this novels brick like tendencies I’ve been putting it off (I know, I know, that is in no way a valid reason for avoiding a book). But I hope to make amends this fall and actually read part two! Maybe. I don’t know, that things pretty hefty.

5. To Kill a Kingdom by Alexandra Christo

It might just be all the pretty pictures I’ve seen of this book, surrounded by model ships, compasses, maps, sea shells and other assortments of sea related treasures, on bookstagram but I’m really excited to read it! And yes, I am fickle enough to just want the book because Instagram.


6. Magnus Chase and The Hammer of Thor by Rick Riordan

Because a little Riordan humour always brightens up those frosty fall mornings.

7. Hero at the Fall by Alwyn Hamiliton

If you at all follow this blog (you wonderful wonderful bookworms) then you will know that I love Alwyn Hamiliton’s books and will shoe horn her work into any and most Top Ten Tuesday. So, of course, I am so excited to finish her trilogy this fall.

8. The Mime Order by Samantha Shannon

Recently discovered this is a seven book series which, I’m not going to lie, is a little daunting. But if it’s seven books I really need to get cracking on book two.

9. Alex and Eliza by Melissa de la Cruz

Have I mentioned before that I’M GOING TO SEE HAMILITON IN FEBUARY???! Yes? Oh. Well, of course to further the hype I must read the book.

10. Rose Under Fire by Elizabeth Wein

I really enjoyed Code Named Verity and it’s been far too long since I’ve read one of Wein’s female pilot based escapades.

Let’s Compare Notes

What books are you looking forward to reading this fall? Have you read any of the books above? Are you looking forward to the John Lewis Christmas add? (Don’t lie, you are 😉 ) If you have or haven’t done this topic then it would be great to hear from you! Let’s compare TBRs!!