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Thursday, April 5

Secret Love (Mona Lisa Smile)


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 those of both her sisters, though she’d rather be aiding the colonists’ cause than dressing up for some silly ball.

Still, Eliza 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. Melissa de la Cruz brings to life the romance of young Alexander Hamilton and Elizabeth Schuyler.


The author does a good job of bringing to life this romance, while throwing in a lot of historical era (learning!) and keeping it appropriate for the young adult audience. We haven't seen the musical, so I don't know how it compares to that, but it seems to be well-researched. There are also times, however, that it seems she took creative license to embellish incidents or squish timelines to make the book flow more smoothly. The book begins when Alex and Eliza meet. It flows through the Revolutionary War, including historic figures and events, and ultimately ends with (spoiler) their marriage. It's always fascinating to see a retelling of prominent figures, and this one does not disappoint.

 Unit StudyPick up this free 19th Century Unit Study to accompany Hamilton... 

Love & War (Book 2 of the series)

1781. Albany, New York.

As the war for American independence rages on, Alexander Hamilton and Elizabeth Schuyler begin their new life as a married couple. Still, Alex is as determined as ever to prove his mettle and secure his legacy . . . even if that means leaving his beloved Eliza behind to join the front lines at the Battle of Yorktown. But when the war unexpectedly arrives on Eliza's doorstep, she must fight for a better future--for their fledgling country and for her marriage.

Yet even after the Revolution comes to its historic close, Alex and Eliza's happily-ever-after is threatened. Eliza struggles to build a home in the hustle and bustle of New York City just as Alex's burgeoning law practice brings him up against his greatest rival--the ambitious young lawyer Aaron Burr. And with Alex's star on the rise, Eliza can't help but feel neglected by a husband who seems to have time for everyone but her. Torn apart by new trials and temptations, can Alex and Eliza's epic love survive life in the big city?

The battles are just beginning in the sumptuous sequel to Melissa de la Cruz's New York Times bestselling Alex & Eliza: A Love Story.


In a beautiful and appropriate sequel to the initial story, the author maintains age-appropriateness and continues to inject the Revolutionary War spirit into every page!  Once again, we haven't seen the musical, so I don't know how it compares to that, but it seems to be well-researched. (Photo to the right from the musical...credits to Playbill. The story travels through the darker days of the Revolutionary War, features prominent historic figures and events (history class!), and continues through the post-war era as the couple struggles to find their footing together.  At times, there are situations that are more appropriate for older teens, but younger teens probably won't even notice them.  Overall, an excellent sequel.

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