I’m delighted to be a stop on the official Alex & Eliza: A Love Story book blog tour today! Below, I discuss what I felt while reading the book (and listening to the audiobook), I share my favorite lines from the book + my favorite songs from the hit Broadway musical, Hamilton (Thank you, LMM), which inspired this novel, and I lead you to the other stops on the tour as well as the official giveaway which Penguin is hosting! Here we go!
Alex & Eliza: A Love Story by Melissa de la Cruz
Narrated by: Cassandra Campbell
Release Date: April 11, 2017
Publisher: G.P. Putnam’s Sons Books for Young Readers / Listening Library
Genre: Young Adult Historical Romance
Running Time: 9 hours and 49 minutes
Source: Received Print Copy & Audiobook From Publisher
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From the #1 New York Times bestselling author of The Witches of East End and The Descendants comes the love story of young Alexander Hamilton and Eliza Schuyler.
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.
I had no idea what to expect when I opened up Alex & Eliza: A Love Story. After all, who can follow up with anything Hamilton related and it measure up? It is no small task. So after reading, I’m torn between satisfaction and the desire for so much more. But we all want so much more from these two and I don’t think it will ever be enough, whether from their quills or our keystrokes. So with expectations put aside, I dove in.
The story is told between the POVs of both Alex and Eliza, moreso Eliza it felt like. Or maybe I simply connected with Eliza’s POV more… her POV felt much more detailed oriented and rich to me. With Alex, it felt like a tease. Like not even a glimpse into the genius and all consuming personality that he is. Like a shot and you’re not even sure what you just consumed because it went down so fast. I could say that Alex wasn’t done justice but from the very first moment, this felt like Eliza’s story. In fact, the whole novel could have been written from her POV and it would have been fine. So while I definitely wanted more from Alex since he was one of the POVs, I did enjoy how heavily the story was told from Eliza’s POV because we get a clearer dream of what falling in love with Alexander Hamilton could have been like.
Melissa de la Cruz takes many liberties with their romance since so little is known about their early courtship. So with that, this honestly could have been a very engaging historical romance novel without the names, Alex & Eliza attached. But because this is based on them, we’re able to dive into not only their romance but their lives in a certain moment in time, one of the most important moments in U.S. history. Putting these names and putting humanity behind the history text makes for a captivating day read.
Now there is a time jump early on in the book which was a bit jarring at first. I just wasn’t expecting that so soon. The story begins on the evening of the unforgettable night of the ball when Alex & Eliza meet and then it jumps two years ahead, when Alex & Eliza cross paths again, while the story ends in that same year with their marriage. In retrospect, I do really appreciate the time jump. It makes sense. Plus, we get to see Lafayette and Laurens make their exciting and bittersweet appearances sooner. Throughout the year of 1780 though, I can’t help but long for more time spent here and there with X character and Y setting and Z conflict. The whole time, I just wanted more.
Speaking of conflict, get ready for Alex & Eliza to hit you with a love triangle. And not the one that you’re thinking of. The Ham doesn’t get all of the spotlight in this picture. Yes, we know who Eliza ends up with in the end, and even if we didn’t, the other choice here clearly never would have been the one. Henry Livingston is a POS. He sexually assaults Eliza in his hurry to have sex with her. I hate that it takes this to move the story forward and I wish there were some other way to have had this triangle, to have had something scandalous happen that would break Eliza and Henry apart and bring Alex & Eliza closer together. That would have been enough.
While I was looking for less of Henry, I was also hoping for more of Eliza fighting for her beliefs in the war, coming head to head with her mother more and the people around her. I was hoping that her passion, her charisma, her politics would make more of an imprint throughout the story. But again, expectations. This is not the focus of the story. And this is not the Alex and Eliza that we know and love from Hamilton. The spirit of them is here but these are different versions of them – and that’s okay, it just takes some getting used to. It’s like Hamilton is Eliza, we are Alex, Alex & Eliza is Angelica and “Satisfied”is on loop…. or it’s like a choose your own romance adventure walk down history lane. If you’re down for that, you don’t have to wait for it because Alex & Eliza: A Love Story released this month and is available now.
I listened to the audiobook while reading, which is narrated by Cassandra Campbell – she is quite a heavy hitter as an audiobook narrator which you’ll soon discover when you take a look at all of the work she’s done. She’s fabulous. She brought this story to life and I couldn’t have imagined consuming this story any other way. Especially because I’m so used to hearing the music, the story of Hamilton, I think it was only natural for me to want to hear this story too. If you’re an audiobook listener, this one is worth listening to.
Favorite Lines from Alex & Eliza: A Love Story:
1. “Yes, but the Van Rensselaers are coming and the Livingstons, and, of course, that famous young Colonel Hamilton. Husband season is open. The hounds are on the loose.”
Eliza’s face brightened. “A good thing, then, that I have no intention of being a fox!”
2. “You look very beautiful tonight, Miss Schuyler,” he said bravely. “I hope you will allow me to compliment you.”
Eliza lowered her lashes. “I’m afraid I did not pack many party dresses but thankfully, my sisters did.”
“I do not think it is the dress,” he murmured, finding her dark, almost-black eyes-and the gentleness in them-her most appealing feature.
3. Further, in my defense, my name – my name, I tell you, and not my father’s or my grandfather’s or some other moldering ancestor – my own name is known to every American of any distinction whatsoever, from Ambassador Franklin to Thomas Jefferson and James Madison to John Adams, and John Hancock to John Jay.
4. Alex was torn about the mission. It was, in its own way, an even greater responsibility than command of a regiment, with perhaps twenty thousand lives hanging in the balance. Yet Alex was tired of telling powerful men how powerful they were.
5. “Oh, nonsense,” Eliza said, stroking his hand. “I can’t believe you risked your life for me!”
“I would risk it a thousand times more, to win your heart.”
Favorite Songs from Hamilton:
TOP TEN SONGS FROM ACT ONE
Wait For It
That Would Be Enough
Guns and Ships
History Has Its Eye on You
What Comes Next?
TOP TEN SONGS FROM ACT TWO
Cabinet Battle #1
The Room Where It Happens
Washington on Your Side
One Last Time
It’s Quiet Uptown
The Election of 1800
The World Was Wide Enough
Finale (Who Lives, Who Dies, Who Tells Your Story)
April 21 – Bookworm Everlasting
Blog Tour Giveaway Details:
Enter for a chance to win one (1) of five (5) copies of Alex & Eliza: A Love Story by Melissa de la Cruz (ARV: $17.99 each).
NO PURCHASE NECESSARY. Enter between 12:00 AM Eastern Time on March 27, 2017 and 12:00 AM on April 24, 2017. Open to residents of the fifty United States and the District of Columbia who are 13 and older. Winners will be selected at random on or about April 26, 2017. Odds of winning depend on number of eligible entries received. Void where prohibited or restricted by law.
Melissa de la Cruz is the New York Times, USA Today, Wall Street Journal, Los Angeles Times and Publishers Weekly internationally bestselling author of many critically acclaimed novels. Her Blue Bloods series has sold over three million copies, and the Witches of East End series became an hour-long television drama on the Lifetime network.
Alex & Eliza: A Love Story by Melissa de la Cruz is available now in print, ebook, and audiobook formats.