Love & War: An Alex & Eliza Story, by Melissa de la Cruz

In the many, many months since my review of Alex & Eliza: A Love Story, I finally viewed the original Broadway production of Hamilton through the magic of Disney+. And, I’m sorry, guys, but it just didn’t take me in the way it did for so many others. Lin-Manuel Miranda and his cast are remarkably talented, but the music style was just not my jam. 

However, that did not in any way deter me from finding Love & War, the second installment in Melissa de la Cruz’s fictionalized, young adult retelling of Alexander Hamilton and Eliza Schuyler’s love story.

The American Revolution is so close to ending, but Alex and Eliza’s marriage has only just begun. As the war closes, and Alex tries to make a name for himself on the battlefield, Eliza considers when the time will be right to start a family. When they finally move together to New York, Alex comes face-to-face with his long-time rival, Aaron Burr, while Eliza tries to make a home without her family.

From the dramatic cover art of this book, I expected there to be a lot more romantic drama in this book than there was. Make no mistake, there is drama…just, not the kind that completely tears two people apart. Which, I suppose, in a way, is a good thing.

Alex and Eliza have grown up since the last book, and the fact that there is so little petty drama between them here indicates their maturity. While they do make mistakes that test their bond, it’s not like either one is quick to blame. They have a very strong mutual understanding of each other, and it’s quite sweet.

Nonetheless, the cover lied to me just a bit.

Much like the first book, it is fun to watch the birth of America during Alex and Eliza’s marriage. The tension is not quite as high, since we get to watch the Brits leave and America start to grow as an independent country. The danger is not so much whether the Brits will show up and destroy Alex and Eliza’s family, but rather whether the couple can navigate the murky waters of marriage.

This book is definitely more slice-of-life. Now that we’ve established Alex, Eliza, and their family’s personalities, we can focus on how they move through life in a new country. Eliza throws parties for her neighbors while Alex burns the candle at both ends to start a successful law practice. All the while, they start to learn some hard truths about maintaining their relationship.

The sweet banter between Eliza and her sisters is still there, and, as is expected, Angelica and Peggy have grown just as much as Eliza. Now that the pace is slower, we get to enjoy their company a lot more, along with a few new additions to the Schuyler family.

The whole book is not historically accurate, so I’ve heard, but that does not make it any less enjoyable for fans of Revolutionary War history. It also might not make me love the musical any more, but I never turn away a compelling, healthy historical romance set against turning points in history. On to the third book…

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