From the New York Times bestselling authors of America’s First Daughter comes the epic story of Eliza Schuyler Hamilton—a revolutionary woman who, like her new nation, struggled to define herself in the wake of war, betrayal, and tragedy. Haunting, moving, and beautifully written, Dray and Kamoie used thousands of letters and original sources to tell Eliza’s story as it’s never been told before—not just as the wronged wife at the center of a political sex scandal—but also as a founding mother who shaped an American legacy in her own right.
A general’s daughter…
Coming of age on the perilous frontier of revolutionary New York, Elizabeth Schuyler champions the fight for independence. And when she meets Alexander Hamilton, Washington’s penniless but passionate aide-de-camp, she’s captivated by the young officer’s charisma and brilliance. They fall in love, despite Hamilton’s bastard birth and the uncertainties of war.
A Founding Father’s wife...
But the union they create—in their marriage and the new nation—is far from perfect. From glittering inaugural balls to bloody street riots, the Hamiltons are at the center of it all—including the political treachery of America’s first sex scandal, which forces Eliza to struggle through heartbreak and betrayal to find forgiveness.
The last surviving light of the Revolution…
When a duel destroys Eliza’s hard-won peace, the grieving widow fights her husband’s enemies to preserve Alexander’s legacy. But long-buried secrets threaten everything Eliza believes about her marriage and her own legacy. Questioning her tireless devotion to the man and country that have broken her heart, she’s left with one last battle—to understand the flawed man she married and imperfect union he could never have created without her…
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So after nursing my newborn, I took Philip for a short but painful stroll to the printer, then up Broadway past the hospital to the nearby apothecary shop. “Mrs. Hamilton,” the apothecary said in a scolding tone, his bushy brows knitted behind the counter. “You’re so soon out of childbed. I’d have come to you if you’d sent a servant or Colonel Hamilton to fetch me.”
“I just needed some fresh air, raspberry leaves for my cramps, and a little lavender oil for my aching head.”
While I kept my curious boy from reaching for one of the many fascinating corked glass jars on the counter, the apothecary rummaged through the drawers and we chatted about the various states that had ratified the Constitution—six by my count, five by his.
“You forgot Massachusetts,” I said, just as the roar of angry voices reached our ears.
We both looked up toward the street to see a horde of angry men marching from the direction of the battery. A mob. I’d once seen a group of men like this armed with feathers and tar. This time, they had sticks and, as I was about to learn, a far more righteous rage. “Grave-robbing bastards!” someone shouted, just before a brick sailed through the glass window, sending a spray of shards at my feet. Instinctively, I grabbed my son and pulled him behind the counter. But from where I crouched, I saw the swarm move right past us on the street.
I could guess their destination.
The hospital. For the Constitution was not the only divisive thing in the newspapers that year. It had been reported that medical students, in need of cadavers to dissect, dug up bodies in the Negro Burial Ground outside the city. No one of prominence had seemed to care until the corpse of a white woman from Trinity Churchyard was also dug up and stolen.
Now the public was in an uproar.
I knew the importance of cadavers to the field of medical science, but I couldn’t help but shudder at the gross indignity of having anyone I loved violated and dissected in such a way.
As we heard the crash of more windows farther down the street, the apothecary rose to wrap a sheltering arm around my shoulder. “I’ll get you and the boy home,” he said, rushing us out the back. Across the way, furious citizens broke the hospital door to splinters and overran the hospital, sending young medical students running in every direction. Over my shoulder, I saw a young doctor climbing from a window. And my son stared as shouting men hauled cauldrons of dismembered body parts out of the hospital, the stench of it recalling the war immediately to my mind.
We saw a bloody foot, a swollen human head in a bottle, and some poor fellow’s pickled genitals hanging from a string before we fled up Broadway, only to come against hundreds more furious men blocking our way. The jostling crowd swept us up like a tidal wave, separating us from the apothecary and nearly tearing Philip’s hand from mine. Breathless and frightened, having quite forgotten about aches and pains, I realized the mob was descending upon the original nearby buildings of the old King’s College—which had been recently renamed the more republican Columbia College.
“Bring out the butchers!” someone in the mob cried, and I knew they were looking for medical students to punish.
“Keep walking,” I whispered to Philip. But my son made of himself a dead weight, pointing with one hand at something I couldn’t see. And then the crowd parted to reveal my husband on the college stairs, pleading with the mob to see reason.
Hamilton was a great orator, and his military voice could just be heard over the fray. “The mayor has already jailed the culprits. Allow the law—”
The mob pushed past him, breaking open the doors to the chapel, the library, and the dorms of the college he’d recently helped reopen.
Then he caught sight of us and dodged the rioters until we were all together, and he tugged us into his arms. “Dear God, Betsy, what the devil are you doing here?”
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About Stephanie Dray:
Stephanie Dray is a New York Times bestselling author of historical women’s fiction. Her award-winning work has been translated into multiple languages, illuminating women of the past so as to inspire the women of today. She is a frequent panelist and presenter at national writing conventions and lives near the nation’s capital.
About Laura Kamoie:
Laura Kamoieis a New York Times bestselling author of historical fiction, and the author of two nonfiction books on early American history. Until recently, she held the position of Associate Professor of History at the U.S. Naval Academy before transitioning to a full-time career writing genre fiction under the name Laura Kaye, also a New York Times bestselling author of more than thirty novels.