I am really proud of this book.
It probably comes as no surprise to most of you that I really, really love Hamilton. (There was about six months there where my Twitter was 99% Hamilton, I think?)
Since I was a kid, I’ve always had a thing for our Dashing Banking Policy Wonk founding father, and I remember staying in Times Square for the 2015 Romance Writers of America conference and seeing that a musical about Alexander Hamilton would be staged later that summer at a theater around the corner.
I remember thinking, They’ll probably focus on all the least interesting things about him.
Oh I was a fool.
Here I am in front of that same theater a while later, a giant fangirl in my Hamilton hoodie, getting ready to see the show, having listened to nothing but the Hamilton soundtrack and read nothing but Hamilton-related nonfiction for several months:
Afterwards, the BFF and I waited at the stage door. Lin-Manuel Miranda is not a super tall dude and we were at the back of the line. When he came out, I knew it was someone important because of the cheers, so I jumped as high as I could and saw…his hat and forehead. I CAN’T EVEN TELL YOU HOW EMOTIONAL HIS EYEBROWS MADE ME. “That was the best three hours of my life,” I told him when he got to us, and he looked pleased, and I was like my life has meaning now because I made Lin-Manuel Miranda smile.
A couple weeks later, Courtney and Alyssa asked me to be part of a Hamilton-themed anthology. After I was like YES PLZ WHERE DO I SIGN I said, and I quote: “This is great actually because I was like ‘ugh I have to start researching my next book but all I want to do is read about Hamilton.'”
But enough about me! Let me tell you about Hamilton’s Battalion…
Love in the time of Hamilton…
On October 14, 1781, Alexander Hamilton led a daring assault on Yorktown’s defenses and won a decisive victory in America’s fight for independence. Decades later, when Eliza Hamilton collected his soldiers’ stories, she discovered that while the war was won at Yorktown, the battle for love took place on many fronts…
PROMISED LAND by Rose Lerner
Donning men’s clothing, Rachel left her life behind to fight the British as Corporal Ezra Jacobs—but life catches up with a vengeance when she arrests an old love as a Loyalist spy.
At first she thinks Nathan Mendelson hasn’t changed one bit: he’s annoying, he talks too much, he sticks his handsome nose where it doesn’t belong, and he’s self-righteously indignant just because Rachel might have faked her own death a little. She’ll be lucky if he doesn’t spill her secret to the entire Continental Army.
Then Nathan shares a secret of his own, one that changes everything…
THE PURSUIT OF… by Courtney Milan
What do a Black American soldier, invalided out at Yorktown, and a British officer who deserted his post have in common? Quite a bit, actually.
They attempted to kill each other the first time they met.
They’re liable to try again at some point in the five-hundred mile journey that they’re inexplicably sharing.
They are not falling in love with each other.
They are not falling in love with each other.
They are…. Oh, no.
WE COULD BE ENOUGH by Alyssa Cole
Mercy Alston knows the best thing to do with pesky feelings like “love” and “hope”: avoid them at all cost. Serving as a maid to Eliza Hamilton, and an assistant in the woman’s all-consuming desire to preserve her late husband’s legacy, has driven that point home for Mercy—as have her own previous heartbreaks.
When Andromeda Stiel shows up at Hamilton Grange for an interview in her grandfather Elijah Sutton’s stead, Mercy’s resolution to live a quiet, pain-free life is tested by the beautiful, flirtatious, and entirely overwhelming dressmaker.
Andromeda has staid Mercy reconsidering her world view, but neither is prepared for love—or for what happens when it’s not enough.
You can buy it here:
Paperback coming soon. (Caveat emptor: this thing will be a doorstop!)
I can’t even tell you how much I love all three of these stories. Courtney’s has a subplot about cheese that I became absurdly invested in. AFTER YOU READ THIS COME TALK TO ME ABOUT THE CHEESE OKAY? And Alyssa’s Mercy is my heart. I would take a bullet for Mercy and I knew that by page 2.
And of course there’s my own.
In some ways this story takes me back to my roots: single-minded, angry heroine who bottles up her feelings + adorable hapless chatterbox hero who worships her has been my Kryptonite basically since birth (as anyone who’s read A Lily Among Thorns or heard me talk about Clark Kent and Lois Lane knows).
In other ways, it’s a new departure for me. I always knew one day I’d write a woman dressing as a man to fight in a war. I assumed it would be the Napoleonic Wars, though!
Rachel and Nathan’s story wasn’t easy to write, especially this year. I think Courtney said it best:
“For centuries, America has been locked in a struggle with itself, trying to decide if it will live up to the best of its ideals or live down to the worst of its history. This country has been through some dark times, but no matter how bad things get, I refuse to give up on the radical notion that all of us are created equal. It is my most fervent wish that someday equality will truly belong to everyone, the way it was originally promised. I don’t know if this is the book anyone needs to read, but it is the one I needed to write at this particular moment.”
The struggle over the story of the Revolutionary War and just who gets credit for fighting for America has been going on since before the war even ended. Because of that, people with the power to write history books fought tooth and nail to keep all the credit for themselves, and still do.
DAR was historically white and WASP not because that’s who was in the Continental Army, but because that’s who that organization recruited and allowed to join.
The truth is, the Continental Army was full of immigrants, Jews, black people, queer people…we were all there, at the beginning. This is our country too. It always has been.
Read the first chapter of my story
Read an excerpt of Courtney’s story
Read an excerpt of Alyssa’s story
My DVD extras for the book including deleted scenes, Pinterest boards, and an absurd amount of historical content including, but NOT limited to, “Was Hamilton Jewish?: My Thoughts (SPOILER: My Thoughts Are ‘Yes’)”, “Thomas Jefferson Totally Had A Journalist Killed”, “Old Aaron Burr Makes Up Weird Lies About George Washington”, plus a ton of info about basically everything in the book including Revolutionary Jews, women warriors, A. Ham’s romance with John Laurens, and the Great Yom Kippur Window Controversy of 1755.
It’s out today so there aren’t a ton of reviews yet BUT:“This is the most moving, inspiring, heartbreaking, hopeful book I’ve read all year. I’ve read 154 books so far in 2017.” —Heroes & Heartbreakers
“If you’re a fan of swoony romances that feature compelling characters and Hamilton, I highly recommend this collection.” —Read.Sleep.Repeat
“Please read Hamilton’s Battalion, for no review can do it justice. This book isn’t a love letter to America, but it is instead a love letter to Americans. It reminds me, more profoundly than anything I’ve ever read, that it’s we the people that make America great and not the other way around.” —TBQ’s Book Palace
What are you waiting for? GET IT!