Monday, April 24, 2017

Book Review: Alex & Eliza by Melissa de la Cruz

Pages: 336
Genre: YA Historical Fiction
Pub. Date: April 11, 2017
Publisher: Putnam
Other Books By Author: Blue Bloods
My Rating: 3.5 out of 5 stars

Goodreads says, "1777. Albany, New York.  As battle cries of the American Revolution echo in the distance, servants flutter about preparing for one of New York society’s biggest events: the Schuylers’ grand ball. Descended from two of the oldest and most distinguished bloodlines in New York, the Schuylers are proud to be one of their fledgling country’s founding families, and even prouder still of their three daughters—Angelica, with her razor-sharp wit; Peggy, with her dazzling looks; and Eliza, whose beauty and charm rival that of both her sisters, though she’d rather be aiding the colonists’ cause than dressing up for some silly ball. Still, she can barely contain her excitement when she hears of the arrival of one Alexander Hamilton, a mysterious, rakish young colonel and General George Washington’s right-hand man. Though Alex has arrived as the bearer of bad news for the Schuylers, he can’t believe his luck—as an orphan, and a bastard one at that—to be in such esteemed company. And when Alex and Eliza meet that fateful night, so begins an epic love story that would forever change the course of American history.   In the pages of Alex and Eliza, #1 New York Times bestselling author Melissa de la Cruz brings to life the romance of young Alexander Hamilton and Elizabeth Schuyler."
Alexander Hamilton is one of George Washington's most trusted men and known to be not only very smart, but handsome too.  He has the unfortunate job of telling Mr. Schuyler some bad news straight from Washington himself, but maybe things don't turn out to be so bad when he sets his eyes on Schuyler's daughter Eliza.  Not only is she politically aware, she is smart, beautiful, and charming.  Alexander finds himself rubbing elbows with society's elite at the Schuyler's ball, which is an ironic fact not lost on him as he comes from a very humble background as an orphan. After Alex and Eliza meet, the rest is history, but the course of true love never did run smooth and that is the case here with these two lovebirds.  Melissa de la Cruz's Alex & Eliza is an interesting glimpse into their young courtship.

I don't know much about the real-life Eliza Schuyler, but I really enjoyed her character as portrayed in Alex & Eliza.  I liked that she cared about more than just a pretty dress or an advantageous marriage; instead, she cared about the world around her. She truly is a perfect match for Alex.

Alex is portrayed as larger than life in Alex & Eliza.  I also love his background and his rags to riches story.  Although his young life isn't explored too much in this novel, it is often referenced as it obviously shaped who he is and makes him insecure from time to time.  Alex & Eliza focuses mostly on their courtship and the many ups and downs in the beginning.  My only issue was sometimes de la Cruz makes Alex seem to be some sort of a mythical being. There's one part where he saves Eliza just-in-time and that seemed a bit too good to be true.

My major issue with Alex & Eliza is whether or not it was well-researched.  I am not sure that is the case as de la Cruz has embellished or fabricated a few things to make her story work. I know that is the point of historical fiction, but it felt a little more contrived than I would have liked.  For example, there is one part involving Eliza's fiancee (not sure about this either!), Henry Livingston, that is a bit embellished and I am not sure it's based on fact at all.  Also, from what I understand, this novel is also very different than Hamilton, so fans of the Broadway show should be forewarned.

Other than those few minor issues I had, I thought it was a solid historical love story that fans of Alexander Hamilton can appreciate as long as you are able to get past some of the historical inaccuracies.


  1. Hmm. I'm still on the fence about reading this one. I love historical fiction and would like to learn more about Alexander Hamilton and Elizabeth Schuyler but I have my doubts because of the author. I know there is a historical fiction novel about them written for adults so maybe I'll check that out first.

    1. I liked this one better than some of her other novels that I've read lately. You should definitely give it a try. I will have to check out the novel for adults. That definitely sounds intriguing. Thanks for visiting, Christina!

  2. Hmmm. I really like the idea of this book. The musical Hamilton makes me want to kn ow more about the Schuyler sisters but I was actually hoping this would more well-researched and feel less dramatic but by the sounds of it, it is more so. I appreciate an engaging piece of historical fiction but I do want it to feel like I'm learning about the person. Great review!
    Cassi @ My Thoughts Literally

    1. Yes, me too. That's the best part about historical fiction, but when I researched various aspects of this story, I couldn't find anything connecting the dots regarding a few events in the novel. Nonetheless, it was rather entertaining! Thanks for visiting, Cassi!


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