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Hamilton and Peggy!: A Revolutionary Friendship


Hamilton and Peggy!: A Revolutionary Friendship

Following some of the most historically savvy characters in our present day society, HAMILTON AND PEGGY follows the point of view of the youngest and arguably most overlooked of the Schuyler Sisters, Margarita. Used to being resigned to the position of “and Peggy,” an afterthought and tagalong to her older sisters Eliza and Angelica, Peggy looks to rise up during the Revolutionary War. Through her father’s powerful position in the war effort, Peggy uses the opportunity to prove herself as a valuable asset to the cause of liberty with her wit and intelligence.

I, like many others, have fallen under the entrancing spell that is “Hamilton: An American Musical,” created by none other than Lin Manuel Miranda himself. Naturally, my love and passion for his musical would be an enticement to pick up this read or, quite frankly, any YA read that looks to follow these revolutionary icons, which there have been an increasing amount of since the Broadway debut of “Hamilton” in 2015. Despite the clear connection between the two, as a reader I find it incredibly important that the authors of these titles distinguish themselves from Miranda’s piece. There is absolutely no point in taking the time to write a novel that shows no creative interpretation of the subject. I want to be able to see narratives that display different aspects of the historical characters than that of which Miranda developed in his creation of “Hamilton.”

"For any and all readers who have a passion for history and feminism, HAMILTON AND PEGGY! the perfect read....Elliot does a phenomenal job of presenting an honest depiction of a woman who was truly revolutionary."

I’m very glad to say that HAMILTON AND PEGGY completely lived up to my standards. By expanding upon and presenting to the reader an entirely redeveloped version of the highly underappreciated Peggy Schuyler, author L.M. Elliot gives the reader a new perspective on the subject. Based on Manuel’s characterization of Peggy in his musical, she’s arguably an enigma. Not much of her story is told in the one act in which she is very briefly featured. Elliot’s brilliant novel looks to rectify this issue and it does so spectacularly.

It’s very clear from the onset that Elliot did her research before beginning to tell Peggy’s story. As a reader, I appreciated getting to see Elliot’s extensive bibliography at the end of novel. Not only does it give the reader access to the sources that were used in crafting the piece, but it very well establishes Elliot’s credibility. These sources are essential not only in crafting the story, but in telling it, as well. To frame each of her chapters, Elliot uses snippets of letters from the revolutionary period to introduce the subject matter that will be focused on in that section of the novel. These primary sources look to set the scene of the chapter and develop on the many characters that are present within the piece. Elliot herself even mentions in the afterword that the diction used in the letters was a grand assistance to her ability to formulate the characters’ personalities and identities. It clearly shows in her writing. All of the characters have their own unique persona that feels very true to what it is that historians know about them from primary sources, like the very ones Elliot would have examined in her research for the piece.

Focusing specifically on the development of the main character, Peggy, I must note that I was slightly surprised with the way she was created. I was not expecting Peggy to be the bookish and curiously intelligent figure that Elliot made her out to be. Many times throughout the novel, Peggy shows an interest and aptitude in the war effort, eagerly snooping to hear her father’s plans to take on the British. This could feel startling to many who have dismissed Peggy as irrelevant compared to the witty Angelica and passionate Eliza. After a bit of thought and further read into the novel, I can say that I did not expect anything less. In learning about Peggy’s daring escapade to rescue her baby sister from enemy Tories at the Schuyler mansion in Albany almost a year ago, I was immediately convinced that Margarita Schuyler was a force to be reckoned with. Elliot beautifully tells this story within the novel and I was so giddy to see it featured. It’s one of the many things that so perfectly characterize Peggy to be anything but a tagalong.

For any and all readers who have a passion for history and feminism, HAMILTON AND PEGGY!: A Revolutionary Friendship is the perfect read. Peggy’s strong sense of nationalism lead to her taking on daring escapades, much of which would not have been tolerated for women at the time period. Today, women can easily appreciate the unprecedented strides Peggy took to involve herself in the war effort. Although historians do not know much about the youngest of the dynamic trio that is the Schuyler Sisters, Elliot does a phenomenal job of presenting an honest depiction of a woman who was truly revolutionary.

Reviewed by Gabby B., Teen Board Member on March 12, 2018

Hamilton and Peggy!: A Revolutionary Friendship
by L. M. Elliott