My Dear Hamilton (Paperback)
A Novel of Eliza Schuyler Hamilton
William Morrow Paperbacks, 9780062466167, 672pp.
Publication Date: April 3, 2018
“Not since I read Erik Larson’s Dead Wake have I had such an edge-of-my-seat immersion into historical events. . . . No study of Alexander Hamilton would be complete without reading this book.”—Karen White, New York Times bestselling author
From the New York Times bestselling authors of America’s First Daughter comes the epic story of Eliza Schuyler Hamilton—a revolutionary woman who, like her new nation, struggled to define herself in the wake of war, betrayal, and tragedy. In this haunting, moving, and beautifully written novel, Dray and Kamoie used thousands of letters and original sources to tell Eliza’s story as it’s never been told before—not just as the wronged wife at the center of a political sex scandal—but also as a founding mother who shaped an American legacy in her own right.
A general’s daughter…
Coming of age on the perilous frontier of revolutionary New York, Elizabeth Schuyler champions the fight for independence. And when she meets Alexander Hamilton, Washington’s penniless but passionate aide-de-camp, she’s captivated by the young officer’s charisma and brilliance. They fall in love, despite Hamilton’s bastard birth and the uncertainties of war.
A founding father’s wife...
But the union they create—in their marriage and the new nation—is far from perfect. From glittering inaugural balls to bloody street riots, the Hamiltons are at the center of it all—including the political treachery of America’s first sex scandal, which forces Eliza to struggle through heartbreak and betrayal to find forgiveness.
The last surviving light of the Revolution…
When a duel destroys Eliza’s hard-won peace, the grieving widow fights her husband’s enemies to preserve Alexander’s legacy. But long-buried secrets threaten everything Eliza believes about her marriage and her own legacy. Questioning her tireless devotion to the man and country that have broken her heart, she’s left with one last battle—to understand the flawed man she married and imperfect union he could never have created without her…
About the Author
Stephanie Dray is a New York Times, Wall Street Journal & USA Today bestselling author of historical women’s fiction. Her award-winning work has been translated into eight languages and tops lists for the most anticipated reads of the year. Before she became a novelist, she was a lawyer and a teacher. Now she lives near the nation’s capital with her husband, cats, and history books.
Laura Kamoie is the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, and USA Today bestselling author of historical fiction. She holds a doctoral degree in early American history from The College of William and Mary, published two non-fiction books on early America, and most recently held the position of Associate Professor of History at the U.S. Naval Academy before transitioning to a full-time career writing fiction. Laura lives among the colonial charm of Annapolis, Maryland, with her husband and two daughters.
Praise For My Dear Hamilton: A Novel of Eliza Schuyler Hamilton…
— Pam Jenoff, New York Times bestselling author of The Orphan’s Tale
“Eliza Hamilton assumes her rightful place as one of America’s founding mothers as she guides first her husband and then her fledgling nation into the annals of history. My Dear Hamilton is historical fiction at its most addictive!”
— Stephanie Thornton, author of The Tiger Queens
“No study of Alexander Hamilton would be complete without reading this book [...] Full of history, engaging characters who shimmer on each page, and a tremendous love story, this is a book for everyone.”
— Karen White, New York Times bestselling author
“An incredible, surprising, and altogether lovely tribute to the woman who stood beside one of the most unknowable, irascible, energetic, and passionate men wo contributed to the foundation of this nation.”
— Lars Hedbor, author of The Path: Tales from a Revolution
“My Dear Hamilton is a superbly written, meticulously researched homage to the birth of America [...] At once a wartime drama, a woman’s coming of age, and a lesson on politics that resonates in today’s world, My Dear Hamilton is the book of the year.”
— Kate Quinn, USA Today bestselling author of The Alice Network
“My Dear Hamilton is a fascinating work of historical fiction, beautifully crafted and richly detailed. If you think you already know Eliza Schuyler Hamilton, her role in the founding of our country, her marriage, and her heartbreak, you’ll marvel at the woman you meet in this compelling novel.”
— Jennifer Chiaverini, New York Times bestselling author of Mrs. Lincoln’s Dressmaker and Enchantress of Numbers
“Beautifully written and meticulously researched, this stunning novel captures the courage, strength, and kindness of the remarkable woman behind Alexander Hamilton. A fascinating read!”
— Ellen Marie Wiseman, international bestselling author of The Life She Was Given
“If you’ve ever wanted to banter with Hamilton or share a dish of tea with the Marquis de Lafayette, open the covers of My Dear Hamiltonand step right in to Eliza Hamilton’s parlor [...] The gang’s all there!”
— Lauren Willig, New York Times bestselling author of The English Wife
“Through Eliza’s eyes we are treated to an in-depth portrait of Hamilton, not to mention forward-looking psychoanalysis of his genius and personality defects.”
— Kirkus Reviews
“My Dear Hamilton is both an intimate portrayal of the strength, courage, and grace of one of our nation’s founding mothers and the engrossing saga of the birth of a country. Richly detailed, beautifully written, and impressive in its scope and heart, this is historical fiction at its best!”
— Chanel Cleeton, author of Next Year in Havana
“This entertaining blend of romance, fictional biography, and history will be in suitably high demand.”
“Stephanie Dray and Laura Kamoie weave such an enchanting spell with their take on the life of Eliza Hamilton [...] An excellent experience, a festival for the mind and heart, this is a true gem that’s worth every cent and every second spent upon it.”
— All About Romance
“Dray and Kamoie have written a book that stands as a real tribute to Eliza, one of America’s founding women. Their research has rewarded the reader with a truly immersive read.”
— Historical Novels Review
“The historical fiction dream team does it again with the wife of Hamilton...Haunting, moving, and beautifully written, Dray and Kamoie used thousands of letters and original sources to tell Eliza’s story as it’s never been told before...”
— Fresh Fiction
Conversation Starters from ReadingGroupChoices.com
1. What do you think of Eliza’s declaration that she was someone before she met Alexander Hamilton? Why do you think she feels it’s important to remember that?
2. A young Eliza wonders how a daughter can make a difference in the revolution. Does she make a difference? In what ways?
3. How does Eliza view herself in the novel and how does that change over the course of her life?
4. Does seeing Alexander Hamilton through his wife’s eyes make him more relatable as a Founding Father? How so or why not?
5. Martha Washington tells a newly married Eliza that achieving independence will require the support of women, and one way women can offer that support is by advising their husbands. What did you think of her advice? Does Eliza take it? How and when? How effective is Mrs. Washington’s advice?
6. The Schuyler family’s motto was Semper Fidelis. Always loyal. How does this play out in the book for Eliza?
7. Was Hamilton a good husband? Was Eliza a good wife? How did they change in those roles over the course of a novel?
8. What were the most important choices that Eliza made throughout her life and in her marriage? Do you agree with why she made them? Could or should she have chosen differently?
9. What did you think of the relationship between Eliza, Angelica, and Alexander? What do you make of the open flirtatiousness between Angelica and Alexander? How and why does Eliza’s relationship with Angelica evolve over the course of their lives?
10. What did you think of Eliza’s reaction to learning about Alexander’s infidelity with Maria Reynolds? What did you think of the reconciliation they found after suffering Yellow Fever?
11. How do Eliza’s thoughts about slavery evolve? What factors influence her thinking? How do the depictions of slavery in New York differ from or meet your expectations and understandings of American slavery?
12. What did you think of Aaron Burr’s characterization in the novel? How do Alexander and Eliza’s relationship with him change over time?
13. How much was Alexander to blame for the challenges he faced in his political career and attacks launched by his enemies, and how much was he the victim of others’ political machinations?
14. Though Thomas Jefferson is not often on the page, he looms large in the Hamiltons’ minds and lives. Why was that?
15. In our portrayal, Eliza believes that “they” murdered her son, Philip, and her husband. Who are they? Why does she believe her loved ones were murdered? Do you agree–why or why not?
16. What did you think of Eliza’s reaction to learning about Alexander’s possible infidelity with her sister, Angelica, and his intimacy with John Laurens? What did you think of Lafayette’s advice to Eliza about it? What does Eliza conclude in her attic trials and why? What does she conclude in her conversation with William in Wisconsin?
17. In what ways is the family story in this book relatable to modern families? To your family?
18. What did you think of the relationship between Eliza and James Monroe? How did it change over time? Why did Monroe represent such a touchstone for Eliza’s feelings about Alexander? What did you think of their confrontation in 1825?
19. Eliza argues that the United States is Alexander’s country, and that the country itself is the monument to him that she’d been searching for and wanting. What does she mean by this? Do you agree? Why or why not?
20. What did Eliza and her family sacrifice for the sake of the nation?
21. In what ways did Eliza shape Alexander Hamilton’s legacy? In what ways did she shape that of the United States itself?