Alex and Eliza is a young adult novel, documenting the love story between Alexander Hamilton and Eliza Schuyler. Written by best-selling author Melissa De La Cruz, it is likely to be a popular choice for young Hamilton fans. Netgalley offered me a sneak peek of the first 4 chapters. Will Hamilton fans be disappointed?
The prologue gives an interesting historical insight into the Schuyler family history. As a prologue should, it left me wanting to read more . The opening chapter introduces the Schyuler sisters. Their portrayal is different to the girls presented in Hamilton the Musical. Eliza is the central character and the author clearly has a strong emotional attachment to her . She is presented as both clever and beautiful, very principled and caring little about the common frippery of young girls seeking a husband. Angelica, certainly in the first part of the book, does not appear to be the leader of the sisters (although she is also described as beautiful, intelligent and the boldest of the sisters) and seems more interested in looking beautiful and attracting men than more intellectual pursuits. Eliza is independent of her sister in the novel in comparison to her portrayal in the musical. This is also reflected in her initial meeting with Alexander, where her clever use of wordplay puts Alexander down a peg or two. The characters are immediately likeable and interesting and have enough depth to make you care about them.
I was interested in my teenage daughter’s view, as an avid Hamilton fan who has researched the history behind the Hamilton story intensively. I personally like the way the Schuyler sisters were portrayed but wasn’t sure how close the representation would be to her understanding of the sisters. She liked it and didn’t find the different portrayal from the musical annoying, as I had wondered she might. She said that she found the switch between the traditional use of language used by the characters and the more modern narrative voice strange at first, I personally didn’t notice a strong switch in tone. My daughter liked it and wanted to read the rest of the book but wasn’t chomping at the bit because she only had the first four chapters.
To be honest that was also my opinion, I liked it, the characters were compelling and I would like to finish reading the book but I wasn’t desperate to read it in one sitting which is always my benchmark for my favourite books. Perhaps only having four chapters and already knowing the main plot was a factor, so I’m still looking forward to reading the rest of the book.
Alex and Eliza is available to pre-order with a release date on 11th April 2017.
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