Saturday, March 25, 2017

Annotation: Historical Fiction

The Hamilton Affair
By Elizabeth Cobbs
Arcade Publishing
408 Pages

The Hamilton Affair is part historical fiction, part biographical novel, and part love story. The novel is told from the perspective of both Alexander Hamilton and his future wife Elizabeth Schuyler in alternating chapters and details their lives through childhood to Hamilton’s death in a duel. With a supporting cast of characters includes figures like George Washington and Thomas Jefferson, The Hamilton Affair covers the Revolution and early post-colonial history through the lens of a marriage well-known to fans of Hamilton’s eponymous hit musical. As the title suggests, much time is spent detailing Hamilton’s scandalous affair with Maria Reynolds and the effect it had on his marriage and political future.  

Historical Appeal  
Set in the colonial and post-colonial era, the writing is very engaging. Readers get a sense of the economic and social struggles common to that time period. The historical setting is richly detailed, though the story is primarily character-driven. Characters who actually lived are realistically portrayed as flawed but sympathetic, and though Cobbs takes liberties with certain subjects, there is enough documented history for readers who want accuracy.

Ben Franklin’s Bastard by Sally Cabot is another character-driven historical novel about people who actually lived. It is similarly set during the Revolutionary, and deals with the scandalous life of a founding father. The book is detailed and dramatic.

Patriot Hearts by Barbara Hambly is a richly-detailed account of the Revolutionary War from the founding mothers’ perspectives. It balances biographical information about Martha Washington, Abigail Adams, Dolley Madison, and Sally Hemmings with personal narratives. Focusing on Sally Hemmings adds a layer of drama to the story for readers who want a little more.   

The Traitor’s Wife by Allison Pataki is an account of the life of Peggy Arnold, wife of Benedict, and their betrayal of the Revolution told by Peggy’s maid. Readers who want richly-detailed accounts of the colonial era will like this authentic look at historical figures who do not often get starring roles.


  1. Nicely done, Darcy.

    As a devout Hamilton fan, I am intrigued! It would be nice to learn more about Elizabeth Schuyler who we don't meet in the musical until she's older. Glad to know the author doesn't stray too far from the actual history.

  2. Very good annotation, Darcy!

    I am a fan of historical fiction, and this has intrigued me! I have heard so much about Hamilton, but the only interaction I have had is the soundtrack(?), just the cast singing the musical numbers. I wish I could see the musical itself! This sounds like a good book to help give me some back story.

  3. Great job on your annotation! It was concise and compelling. Full points!

  4. Are you a big historical fiction fan? I enjoy them but I don't typically read them for whatever reason. I'm more drawn to other genres.