Alex and Eliza – Melissa de la Cruz

Alex and Eliza
Alex and Eliza by Melissa de la Cruz

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Alex and Eliza is a historical fiction novel about a love story for the ages. As much as I love history, I don’t pick up historical fiction very often and reading this book makes me want to. It is a wonderfully written young adult novel that makes America’s history more relatable. Some historical texts tend to be dry and don’t lend themselves to casual reading. My belief is that this novel (and others like it) might spark an interest in history that will lead teens, or really anyone, to seek out further information.

As this is a work of fiction, the author takes liberties with the plot and adds a fair amount of drama. Historically, there is not a lot known about the courtship between Alexander Hamilton and Elizabeth Schuyler. As you may be aware from history lessons, or your obsession with Hamilton the musical, the two fell in love quite hard and fast. It was nice to see the author’s take on their first meeting, interactions, and ultimate wedding.

This love story reads true and will warm your heart, even if you are aware of the future turmoil in their lives. I enjoyed getting to know Alexander and Eliza so much over the course of this book. The author also does a fantastic job of introducing and developing the supporting characters in this love story. They don’t feel like flat portrayals, but dimensional people that you love (or hate, as the case may be).

For those readers familiar with Hamilton, you will not find that this is the young adult novelization version of the musical. I’ve heard many readers dismaying that fact and it is unfair to the author to make those comparisons. They are two different mediums that each share their love and admiration for the powerhouse that was Alexander Hamilton. The musical follows and chronicles much of Hamilton’s life, whereas this book is a love story. It tells the tale of two souls who found their match, despite all the odds and fell in love.

While the dialogue at times can be cumbersome and strange, it is likely because the reader is used to the modern way of speaking. If you were to read letters that were composed during that era, you likely would notice they have a much more formal, or flowery, way of speaking. Although I found some of the lines to be a bit over the top, overall I felt that they were authentic to the time period in which the book takes place. It would have been unfortunate if the story had been written as if these historical characters were speaking in modern times.

I highly enjoyed this read and would recommend it to anyone who enjoys history. I believe that it is a very accessible book and would lend itself well to those who are hesitant to delve into historical fiction. It does a wonderful job of blending the love story with purposeful doses of actual historical events. Whether you are a fan of the musical, historical fiction, American history or something else – I urge you to give this book a chance.

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