A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this book.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that L.M. Elliott's Hamilton and Peggy: A Revolutionary Friendship draws on extensive research, personal journals, and letters to create a fictional tale of the friendship between Alexander Hamilton and Peggy Schuyler, sister of Hamilton's future wife. The title is somewhat misleading, as the main focus of the book is on the lives of the three Schuyler sisters and their family's personal relationships with many of the most famous figures of the American Revolution (George and Martha Washington, the Marquis de Lafayette, and even Benedict Arnold). Elliott does a remarkable job of blending two compelling storylines: the American Revolution interwoven with romance and family drama. This makes for a first-rate read for fans of historical fiction, but the sheer volume of events and personalities included in the story may overwhelm some readers.
What's the story?
The Revolutionary War has been under way for two years as HAMILTON AND PEGGY begins, and Peggy Schuyler's family is in the thick of it. Her father, General Phillip Schuyler, commands the Northern Army, and it's a desperate time for the rebelling Patriots, whose soldiers are short of supplies and arms. The Schuyler family (18-year-old Peggy, her parents, two older sisters, and younger brothers) are living in Albany, New York, and there's constant worry that British troops will attack the town. During the next four years, life is turned upside-down for the family. Under a cloud of scandal, Peggy's father is relieved of his command, Peggy finds herself meeting with spies and double agents, and British troops loot their home in Saratoga. But there's also romance for all three sisters, as Angelica elopes with a most unsuitable man, Eliza (with Peggy's help) is courted by and marries Alexander Hamilton, and Peggy falls in love with a dashing young French nobleman.
Is it any good?
A seamless blending of history with romance and family drama makes this a lively addition to the wealth of books inspired by the success of the musical Hamilton. The title Hamilton and Peggy leads readers to expect their relationship is at the heart of the novel. But, other than a brief appearance on page 137, Hamilton doesn't become an active part of the storyline until 30 pages later, and even then, his interactions with Peggy never justify the wording of the title. What does make the novel a compelling read is the effortless way Elliott lets the Schuyler family introduce readers to people who've previously been only names in a textbook. A lengthy afterword updates readers on the future lives (both happy and tragic) of the novel's major characters.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about the role of women in Hamilton and Peggy. How difficult do you think it was for someone as intelligent as Peggy to be seen only as a pretty girl and not someone who could contribute as much to the war effort as some of her father's officers and advisors?
Were you surprised at the vital part tribes from the Iroquois Nation played in the Revolutionary War? Why do you think their contribution is often overlooked when that period in history is studied?
Some of the soldiers Peggy meets decide that going home to bring in their crops and support their families is more important than fighting the British. Do you think they made the right decision?
- Author: L.M. Elliott
- Genre: Historical Fiction
- Topics: Book Characters, Friendship, Great Girl Role Models, History
- Book type: Fiction
- Publisher: Katherine Tegen Books
- Publication date: February 13, 2018
- Publisher's recommended age(s): 13 - 18
- Number of pages: 448
- Available on: Nook, Hardback, iBooks, Kindle
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