In post-American Revolution New York City, Theodosia Burr, a scholar with the skills of a socialite, is all about charming the right people on behalf of her father—Senator Aaron Burr, who is determined to win the office of president in the pivotal election of 1800. Meanwhile, Philip Hamilton, the rakish son of Alexander Hamilton, is all about being charming on behalf of his libido.
When the two first meet, it seems the ongoing feud between their politically opposed fathers may be hereditary. But soon, Theodosia and Philip must choose between love and family, desire and loyalty, and preserving the legacy their flawed fathers fought for or creating their own.
It’s rare that you go into a book with so few expectations, and at the same time, so many expectations. For all these are historical figures, they aren’t the kind of historical figures we know well enough to nitpick on, at least I don’t – and yet, the post-Hamilton world we live on gives us certain expectations going into a book like this one. Unfair expectations, perhaps, but expectations nonetheless, and for the book to succeed, it had to deal head-on with those expectations, and convince us to see it as a separate thing from the musical.
A magical what if. Fanfiction, if you will, and as always, as say that with the utmost respect and appreciation for fanfic writers.
For me, the book absolutely succeeds. In fact, this is one of those instances where I don’t actually want to know more of the history than I already know. I’d rather keep this image in my head, thank you very much. I’d rather imagine these two people this way than consider what they probably were in real life. There’s something to be said about escapism, isn’t it?
Love, Theodosia is a historical romance. But for me, it’s more pure romance than historical fiction. Maybe that’s just because I wasn’t as invested in the history part and I was very much invested in the romance. Perhaps it’s because I have this idea of historical romance as something much drier, and more realistic. Greatly enjoyable at times, of course, like any genre. But not my favorite by any stretch of the imagination.
While we’re talking about not my favorite, though, this book uses one of my least favorite trope in the books, and yet, somehow, I’m still here saying good things about it. In fact, this might be one of my favorite enemies-to-lovers books I’ve ever read, not that that’s saying a lot because in general, the enemies-to-lovers trope hardly ever works for me.
In this instance, it does, so if you like that trope, you’re probably in for a treat, and if you don’t, well, you could still be surprised, like me!
There’s clearly a lot of research that went into this book, too, something the snobby part of me fully appreciates, even if the book ends up being mesmerizing enough that I reached a point where I didn’t care. We all enjoy different things in books, and I’m sure some people will absolutely adore the way the book gets so much of the details outside of the obviously fictional relationship right. And hey, if you don’t care, you still got the romance. That works.
It really, really does. In a make-you-smile and hold the book close for a few seconds, kinda way. In a read-this-paragraph-out-loud fashion. And, for me, that’s about the highest compliment I can give.
Well, that, and the fact that despite the fact that I have a digital copy of the book, I’m very much looking forward to my own hard copy. Some books you just want to be able to touch, and then put on your bookshelf. This is one of those.
Rating: 5 stars
Love, Theodosia is available today wherever books are sold.