My Dear Hamilton [Book Review]

April 27, 2018

My Dear Hamilton by Stephanie Dray and Laura Kamoie

My Dear Hamilton by Stephanie Dray and Laura Kamoie (cover) Image: a young woman in a red dress stands with her back to the camera looking out over a field of soldiers

Genre/categories: Historical Fiction, U.S. History, Revolutionary War, Founders, Biographical


A general’s daughter, Elizabeth Schuyler meets and marries Alexander Hamilton amid the union’s fight for independence and the uncertainties of war. Eliza and Alexander find themselves establishing their life together at the same time as they are at the center of our nation’s founding. Authors Dray and Kamoie used thousands of letters and original sources to imagine Eliza’s story as a patriot, loving wife, political partner, loyal friend, supportive sister, and devoted mother of eight.

Amazon Rating (April Early Reviews): 4.8 Stars

My Thoughts:

If you’ve seen Hamilton the Musical or read Ron Chernow’s Alexander Hamilton or if you’re a fan of historical fiction and the American Revolution, trust me, My Dear Hamilton needs to be your next read! Currently, it occupies first place in the “best book I’ve read in 2018” category.

Strong and Independent: As modern women, it’s amazing to immerse ourselves into the stories and lives of strong and independent women living at a time when a woman’s well-being, success, and status were subject to a husband’s or father’s control, permission, and blessing. As Eliza Hamilton looked to her mentor, Martha Washington, it’s inspiring to hear about Eliza’s influence and achievements despite the constraints.

Supportive and Faithful: Feisty and adventuresome by nature, Eliza is expected to be a quiet and supportive wife. Although she struggles with the quiet part (sometimes using it to her advantage), she is certainly supportive and loyal and holds dearly to her father’s military motto of “semper fidelis” meaning ‘always faithful’ in Latin. Throughout her life, this motto is one of her most highly held values.

“Silence is often the only weapon available to ladies. And I wield mine expertly.”
~Eliza Hamilton

Intelligent and Independent: As an intelligent woman and independent thinker, Eliza is revealed as a participant with Hamilton in a personal debate on difficult issues, as his sounding board, and as a collaborator and writing partner. She holds definite views on slavery and earnestly strives to reconcile her personal ideals with the realities of the world in which she lives.

Determined Restorer: Alexander is a complicated and complex man, and Eliza and Alexander have a complicated relationship. Forgiveness is a major and poignant theme in the story as Eliza struggles to comprehend and forgive her husband’s betrayals. Authors Dray and Kamoie provide vivid details of Hamilton’s traumatic childhood experiences and imagine well constructed, dramatic, and tender dialogue between Eliza and Alexander that allows readers to truly understand the motivations that might drive some of his actions and also to fully appreciate and comprehend the source and sincerity of Eliza’s forgiveness.

“But the measure of a man, of a life, of a union of man and wife or even country is not in the falling. It’s in the rising back up again to repair what’s broken, to put right what’s wrong. Your father and I did that. We always did that. He never stopped trying until the day he died. And neither will I.”
Eliza Hamilton

Partners: Eliza is Hamilton’s most valued and treasured partner as she’s able to help him strategize, think, and write. She is strong enough to calm him, challenge him, and help him reason out the best actions and plans. She becomes his only personal confidant whom he learns to trust.

Compassionate: We also notice that Eliza is a compassionate person. Most compelling is the compassion she shows to her husband after agonizing about his betrayal, eventually deciding that all the good outweighs the bad and that he deserves the benefit of the doubt. Her compassion extends to those in need, and even though she is the mother of several children, she takes in a young child whose parents have died and raises this child as her own. In addition, she invests a great deal of time establishing and supporting orphanages.

As I stared at this man who’d once been an abandoned child, I became even more certain of my decision to take Fanny into our household. “All children need love, and we are blessed to have more than enough to spare.”

My husband had a gift for government, but I had a gift for charity. A talent for it, if there be such a thing. I’d already helped to found a society to care for widows, an orphanage to shelter children, and a school to provide guidance and learning….. “Then what is this school? What is your orphanage? These things seek to expand the promise of America. To give opportunity to all as free citizens.”
~Eliza Hamilton

Hostess: Eliza is a gifted hostess with a warm sense of hospitality. Not only does she host political meetings for her husband, but everyone who comes to her door is welcomed, cared for, treated to baked goods, and entertained regardless of their points of view.

Advocate: Eliza is committed to preserving Hamilton’s legacy and spends decades creating a record of her husband’s contributions to the Founding. It seems fitting that a woman who is devoted to telling her husband’s story and recording his achievements should also have her story told because it’s truly their story and legacy. Dray and Kamoie are committed to sharing Eliza’s story of heartache, hardship, endurance, determination, and devotion so that we can appreciate and recognize her vital participation with Hamilton to establish the ideals and structures upon which our country was founded.

Recommended: This is one time I wish I could award more than 5 stars to a story. Eliza has earned a spot in my reading as one of the year’s most memorable characters.

My Dear Hamilton is highly recommended for fans of America’s First Daughter by Stephanie Dray and Laura Kamoie, Alexander Hamilton by Ron Chernow, and Hamilton the Musical. Also, this is a valuable read for all fans of well-researched and well-written historical fiction about ordinary women doing extraordinary things in the most difficult circumstances. It would make a great book club selection. Add this title to your favorite reads about the Founding, and to your collection of stories featuring strong, independent women. It makes history come alive! It’s a perfect companion read with Chernow’s popular book.

My Rating: 5+ stars


my dear hamilton

My Dear Hamilton Information Here

Meet the Authors, Stephanie Dray and Laura Kamoie

Stephanie Dray

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. She lives near the nation’s capital with her husband, cats, and history books.

MORE ways to connect with Stephanie:
* Website:
* Facebook:

Laura Kamoie

A New York Times, Wall Street Journal, and USA Today bestselling author of historical fiction, Laura Kamoie has always been fascinated by the people, stories, and physical presence of the past, which led her to a lifetime of historical and archaeological study and training. 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 genre fiction. She is the author of AMERICA’S FIRST DAUGHTER and MY DEAR HAMILTON, co-authored with Stephanie Dray, allowing her the exciting opportunity to combine her love of history with her passion for storytelling. Laura lives among the colonial charm of Annapolis, Maryland with her husband and two daughters.


I’d love to hear about a memorable character from your reading!

Have you read My Dear Hamilton or is it on your TBR?

Happy Reading Bookworms!

“Ah, how good it is to be among people who are reading.”
~Rainer Maria Rilke

“I love the world of words, where life and literature connect.”
~Denise J Hughes

“Reading good books ruins you for enjoying bad ones.”
~Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society

“I read because books are a form of transportation, of teaching, and of connection!
Books take us to places we’ve never been, they teach us about our world, and they help us to understand human experience.”
~Madeleine Riley, Top Shelf Text

Looking Ahead:

Next week, I’ll be highlighting a few bookish suggestions for Mother’s Day gifts.

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  1. Great review Carol! so complete! I read America’s First Daughter with our Lit Group a while back, so this sounds like something we’d love. thanks for the recommendation! Hope you are doing well. What have you been up to (besides reading??!). xo

    • My hubs just finished My Dear Hamilton and felt it was a great companion read to Chernow’s Hamilton which he loved. He loves the narrator they use for the audible version. We’ve had great discussions about the book!

      In addition to reading and keeping up with the blog, we had a family wedding last weekend! Good times!

      • That’s cool– Larry and I almost never read the same books. And don’t you love family weddings, getting everyone together at a happy occasion??! We have our niece’s wedding in July and it will be fun to to have our kids all come down to go with us. Blessings, xo

      • My hubs and I have shared more books in the past 2 years than ever before! Our favs have been:
        *News of the World (western histfic, this is the first one I’d recommend for you and Larry to read together!….hubs loved the narration on audible)
        *Beartown, The Deal of a Lifetime, A Man Called Ove (we both love Backman!)
        *Wait Till Next Year (Memoir)
        *Killers of the Flower Moon (true crime)
        *Hillbilly Elegy (Memoir)
        *My Dear Hamilton (it has more history and politics in it than First Daughter)
        *From Sand and Ash (both loved this)
        *The Warmth of Other Suns (nonfiction, lots of history which hubs loved and I skimmed)
        There are some others but these are the highlights. I hope you find one to read together!

        Re family weddings: I think were done for a while…..we’ve had 3 in one year! One last June, one in October and the one last week. My hubs officiated at all of them. Fun but less than relaxing for him!

      • Wow Carol– so many weddings. It’s wonderful that he could be such an important part of their weddings–starting out together… And love love your list. I’ve read 4 of them. I have From Sand and Ash and My Dear Hamilton on my list from reading your blog. I’ll see what Larry’s up for!! He usually sticks to John Stott/Tim Keller sorts of books. thanks for the list– love corresponding with you1 xox

      • It took me a while to win my hubs over to the dark side of histfic! Now he even asks me if I have recs for him! He loves that it gives us a lot to talk about! News of the World was one of his favs …..

        I’m so glad to talk books with you! Happy Mother’s Day!

      • I have that one on my list Carol– We have friends who read to each other, especially when they’re traveling in the car. I can’t imagine Larry listening to me read! ha ha. But it’s so cool that you can talk through books you’ve both read… Happy week ahead Carol… xo

  2. Can anyone tell me if My Dear Hamilton is appropriate for my 13 and 10 year old daughters to listen to with me? They are obsessed with the music of Hamilton and we’re taking a road trip. I thought what a great way to pass the time. Thanks!

    • 13 probably ok….. it’s hard for me to remember when I wasn’t reading it with that consideration. I’m almost certain there’s no profanity or explicit sex or violence. She does have a lot of babies! There is a great deal of politics which might not be that engaging. There are some MG hist fic titles that might be interesting. E.g. Jefferson’s Sons. Good luck!

  3. […] My Summary: “A general’s daughter, Elizabeth Schuyler meets and marries Alexander Hamilton amid the union’s fight for independence and the uncertainties of war. Eliza and Alexander find themselves establishing their life together at the same time as they are at the center of our nation’s founding. Authors Dray and Kamoie used thousands of letters and original sources to imagine Eliza’s story as a patriot, loving wife, political partner, loyal friend, supportive sister, and devoted mother of eight.” My review of My Dear Hamilton here. […]

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