Thoughts About Eliza
I got married Saturday to my editor, collaborator and love of my life, Victoria Wright. Despite all the wedding prep, Hamilton’s Choice debuted on Amazon this month in both paperback and digital formats, and we are gratified with initial sales and reader comments.
Hamilton’s Choice is the only adult novel about the life of Alexander Hamilton though many have been written about Eliza, who bore eight children and was an exemplary mother and spouse. Eliza was at his side through all the ups and downs of war and politics and she tirelessly supported her husband’s work, including helping to prepare The Federalist Papers for publication and transcribing his draft of Washington’s Farewell Address as well as his plan for the First Bank of the United States.
How, then, could Hamilton go to his duel and betray her trust, leaving her penniless with seven children to raise? Hamilton’s Choice provides a plausible answer to this question by showing how a deep emotional scar drove Hamilton to meet Aaron Burr in a duel. Hamilton tried to explain this insane miscalculation to his trusting wife in a letter he wrote to be opened posthumously, which he signed, “Adieu, best of wives and best of women.” Then he went to the duel and to his death without consulting her.
Eliza’s character in Hamilton’s Choice gets her great vibrancy from my Victoria’s insights and patient editing. Eliza combined the virtues of a practical Dutch wife with high-minded spiritual qualities. She survived her husband by fifty years and as a widow, she worked with others, including Mother Elizabeth Anne Seton, the first canonized American-born saint, to improve the plight of widows and orphans.
I am so blessed with Victoria, who takes such a great interest in my work, and who helps many others by giving her time and skills. The term “best of wives and best of women” pertains equally to her. Our wedding and the publication of the book have lifted our lives into a new dimension which we are anxious to share.
Next Thursday, February 6, I’m speaking at the Rensselaer County Historical Society (6:30 pm) about the book, and so arm-in-arm we begin our promotion, together.