The Hamilton Affair

Arcade: Skyhorse. Sept. 2016. 408p. ISBN 9781628727203. $25.99; ebk. ISBN 9781628727234. F
According to historian and author Cobbs (American Umpire; Broken Promises), this novel of the Hamiltons has been five years in the making. It's a happy coincidence that aligns its publishing so perfectly with the Broadway sensation. Despite its title, this novel takes on much more than just the notorious scandal in which Alexander Hamilton found himself blackmailed by his mistress Maria Reynolds and her husband. Rather, it follows Alexander's rise to fame from bastard son and Elizabeth Schuyler's privileged upbringing, their rather sweet courtship and the sordid affair that threatened their marriage, and Alexander's untimely death in a duel, all set against the backdrop of the American Revolution. There's a lot of ground to cover here, and that strain shows. While she can write quite well and has a great feel for the period, Cobbs has an odd habit of building up to a momentous scene, then skipping the event entirely. With a tighter focus or a different structure, this may not have been quite so noticeable. As is, this can make for a disorienting and choppy experience.
VERDICT While this work can sometimes be a frustrating read, interest in the Hamiltons should bring this title an audience.
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