Cover Image: Hamilton's Battalion

Hamilton's Battalion

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date:

Member Reviews

An anthology of three romance novellas, all tied together by the conceit that each has a character who was part of the battalion led by Alexander Hamilton during the storming of Yorktown at the end of the American Revolution. Three of my favorite authors of historical romance in one book! Each story also focuses on bringing out the diversity of American history, which I seem to recall industry buzz back before the book came out that this gave them difficulty in finding a publisher, forcing it to be self-published, but I can't google any confirmation of that, so perhaps it's just misremembered gossip. (Hamilton's Battalion is self-published, but Milan at least has expressed an economic preference for doing so; the publisher therefore doesn't really confirm anything one way or the other.)

"Promised Land" by Rose Lerner stars Rachel Jacobs, a woman disguised as a man in order to join the American army and turn herself into Corporal Ezra Jacobs. She's done an excellent job throughout most of the war, driven by her belief that Jewish soldiers can earn a place for Jewish citizens in the new country of the United States, when she recognizes a man walking through her regiment's camp one day. Problem one: she knows him, which means he might recognize her and give away her secret. Problem Two: he was always a Loyalist, so he's certainly a British spy. Problem Three: he used to be Rachel's husband, and is just now finding out that she not really dead, but faked her death in order to join the army. 

Lerner does an excellent job in illustrating the problems between Rachel and Nathan that caused their marriage to fall apart, and an equally excellent job of making me believe they could fall in love a second time and actually make it work this go-round. I also liked the struggle between Rachel and Nathan's ways of being Jewish - how important is keeping kosher? celebrating holidays? following the rules? "Promised Land" is an amazing story, and I can't recommend it highly enough. (It's also the only one of the three novellas in which Hamilton himself features at all, and even here he has quite a minor part to play.)

"The Pursuit of..." by Courtney Milan is the story of Corporal John Hunter, former enslaved man currently fighting for the Americans, and Henry Latham, British officer and son of aristocrats, who impulsively fakes his own death during the siege of Yorktown in order to follow John as he walks several hundred miles back to Rhode Island to check on his family.

It's essentially a road-trip novella, and I do love a good road-trip. Milan is also very, very good at writing banter, and the conversations between sober, practical John and flighty, loquacious Henry are consistently hilarious. Especially the running joke about bad cheese. Milan convincingly shows how two men from such very different backgrounds could come to trust one another. My only complaint is that I think the novella would have benefited from being longer; the ending felt a bit rushed, if only because Milan does such a good job at illustrating the potential problems in this relationship that the characters seemed to overcome them too easily. But I point this out not at all to dissuade anyone from reading it; I absolutely adored it.

"That Could Be Enough" by Alyssa Cole is set later than the previous two novellas, in 1820 Harlem as Eliza Hamilton tries to gather papers and witness accounts to preserve the memory of her now-deceased husband, Alexander. Mercy, a young black woman and former orphan, is her secretary in that task. Mercy has fallen in love before, and had her heart badly broken when the woman scorned her in order to marry a man. She has therefore sworn to let no emotion enter her life, nor to write the poetry she once loved. This determination melts shortly after her first meeting with Andromeda Stiel (granddaughter of one of Hamilton's soldiers), a black dressmaker who dreams of opening her own boarding house. Prim Mercy and exuberant Andromeda have some difficulties and misunderstandings to overcome before they can find happiness, but it all works out in the end.

Hamilton's Battalion consists of three excellent novellas, which would serve well as an introduction to these authors or for devoted fans like me. I can't recommend it enough.

https://www.goodreads.com/review/show/2636265984
Was this review helpful?
Promised Land by Rose Lerner: The introduction to this story revealed that it was about a woman genderbending to fight in the Civil War, and I thought this would be my jam. It wasn't really. Intellectually, I admire so much of what Lerner does in "Promised Land." Both Rachel (Ezra) and her husband Nathan are Jewish, and that's not a story you encounter often in Civil War fiction. Most histories and narratives ignore all the non-white people involved in the fighting. Rachel's specifically fighting so that she can write a memoir and make people understand that she is American and she is also Jewish. She's looking for respect and acceptance. That's awesome, though admittedly this felt like one of those times where this story really wasn't for me, because I got lost in a lot of the references I didn't understand.

Rachel and Nathan are married. Technically. But she faked her death with assistance from his hateful mother to escape said hateful mother. When she finds him at Yorktown, she thinks he's a spy and reports him. They talk and realize the ways they's misunderstood one another and form a deeper bond. Again, I intellectually like what the story is doing, but I mostly felt bored by their romance and didn't feel a lot of spark to their connection. Still, props for Nathan being shorter than Rachel and also being a huge goober, both uncommon romance hero qualities. ★★½

The Pursuit Of... by Courtney Milan: This story was every bit as adorable as I could have hoped. Milan's first m/m is a bantery interracial romance, and I'm all about it. Sam's POV is a bit dry, but, then again, anyone's POV is dry next to Henry's. Henry's voice is so much fun, and I love that he's basically a manic pixie of the Zooey Deschanel variety, who can't stop talking or singing to save his life. Actually, he uses his words to save lives. Though I'd have liked a longer format for these two so the ship could build into a slower burn, I was decidedly happy with what I got. ★★★½

That Could Be Enough by Alyssa Cole: Both prior stories use the premise of the characters sending off recountings of their encounters with Hamilton to Eliza after his death. That didn't really work for me because 1) I'm just not into the war backdrop and 2) Hamilton's barely in them. I get the desire to put a theme on it, but it just didn't feel realistic. Cole's story, thankfully, takes a different tack.

Mercy works for Eliza Hamilton as a maid/assistant, and she has been helping to compile the records. When Andromeda Stiel shows up to tell her grandfather's story, Mercy feels like she's been hit with a ton of bricks of sexual desire. This story is absolutely among my favorite f/f that I've read, and both Mercy and Andromeda have amazing voices. ★★★★½
Was this review helpful?
[This review is for Rose Lerner's and Alyssa Cole's short stories. I will be reviewing Courtney's short on its own.]

Promised Land (3.5 stars):

- Second chance romance
- Married M/F
- Jewish MCs

Rose Lerner is a name I've heard a lot in historical romance but have never tried before. One of my best friends recommended me one of Rose's book when I was branching out on HR but I still haven't read that one because...I have no good reason, 

but ANYWAY, 

It took me a while to warm up to the story (which was also the reason why it took me a looooong time to finish this book; I couldn't get into this story so I put the book down) but nth time's the charm? I admire Rachel a lot for her courage and the sacrifices she made. Nathan is another case of YouTried_meme.jpeg, I can't help but adore him. There were a lot of conflict between them and I love how Rose managed to incorporate their character growths in a short length. I also love how their story ended. The Scene between Rachel and Hamilton had me rolling on the floor.

I need to start that Rose Lerner book I have ASAP.

The Pursuit of... (4 stars)

That Would Be Enough (3.5 stars):

- F/F
- Black MCs

Alyssa Cole is one of the authors whose works I have hoarded but never started for no reason idek. Anyway, this story was a bit intense mainly because Mercy was an intense sort of person. She's loved and been burned for it, so it made her closed off and more than a little wary when she met Andromeda, who's described as sunshine and light. I love Andromeda instantly. I love how she gets under Mercy's skin, I've always loved reading about a grumpy/lively dynamic. The letter exchange is my favourite part of this story.
Was this review helpful?
Promised Land by Rose Lerner -- 3/5

The Pursuit of... by Courtney Milan -- 4/5

That Could be Enough by Alyssa Cole -- 4/5

An excellent trio of stories told by three capable and clever authors.

Hamilton's Battalion starts with the story of Rachel Corporal Ezra and Nathan's wartorn loyalties, chemistry, and old grievances. The novel then continues with the unlikely romance of a white British officer and a black freedman fighting for the side of the colonies. There is cheese (both literal and figurative) and banter and it's delightful. Alyssa Cole ends the anthology with another strong offering: the emotional love story between reserved Mercy and glamorous Andromeda.

An enjoyable and diverse anthology that centers on the battle of Yorktown and illuminates usually ignored perspectives from that era.
Was this review helpful?
This book was frankly amazing. I'm really late on reviewing the ARC (life kind of got in the way) but the historical aspects really amazed me. For example, I'd never thought about what the life of Jewish peoplew was like in anything earlier than the 20th century, so reading Rachel's story was a treat. All of the stories were treats, really, though I think my favourite of the collection has to be Courtney Milan's, who has always been a favourite of mine. All in all, reading won't regret reading this for several different takes on the American Revolutionary War.
Was this review helpful?
This is a fantastic collection of romance novellas built on the framing device of a widowed Eliza Schuyler Hamilton collecting stories from people who interacted with her husband when he was fighting at the battle of Yorktown. Each story is strong, thoughtful, and swoon-inducing, but Rose Lerner's "Promised Land" is in a class of its own. At its best, romance is about people working to become worthy of one another, and that's what "Promised Land" is all about.
Was this review helpful?
So these 3 authors are MY JAM. Courtney Milan is everything. Her story in here is weird and unusual and contains a super odd reference to cheese that is repeated throughout and has stuck in my head and I think of randomly. Her story was my favorite mainly because of that weirdness and because I loved the meeting on the battlefield. Rose Lerner's and Alyssa Cole's are excellent as well. All to be expected with these wonderful authors!
Was this review helpful?
This is one of the best romance anthologies I've read in a long time. Fascinating background, great writing, plenty of diversity, powerful love stories - it's all here. An overlay story about Eliza Hamilton collecting stories about her husband's soldiers ties three engaging stories together.

Rose Lerner's Promised Land is about a woman who dressed as a man in Hamilton's unit. She has to arrest someone she used to love. Nathan seems to support the British, but he still loves Rachel, his wife. Rachel and Nathan's mother let everyone, including Nathan, believe she was dead. 

Courtney Milan's The Pursuit of... finds an African American soldier and a British deserter traveling together after they first tried to kill each other on the battlefield. Their humor and romance grow on their journey in a powerful connection.

Alyssa Cole's That Could Be Enough features Mercy, Eliza's maid, and Andromeda, a successful local dressmaker. Reserved Mercy is overwhelmed with her feelings for the dynamic woman and realizes she has to grab her chance at happiness.
Was this review helpful?
American history is often portrayed in a very strict fashion: history was made by white men, alone and dashing into danger. This collection of novellas  shows us American history with ties to Alexander Hamilton through the eyes of the men, women and their lovers that served with him. Funny, touching and entirely plausible, these novellas are wonderful romance/historical fiction reads.
Was this review helpful?
I was very excited to read Hamilton's Battalion because it sounds fantastic: an m/f couple with Jewish mc, an f/f couple with black women mc, and an m/m biracial couple. Courtney is one of my favorite authors, and I have been meaning to read Rose Lerner and Alyssa Cole for a couple of months. So, yeah, I was very excited. 

It surprised me how much I loved it. The stories have so much angst but also hope for the future. It's really what I needed to read now. Especially when I feel like in this country I don't deserve happiness. 

A Promised Land by Rose Lerner

Rachel dresses as Corporal Ezra Jacobs to join the war. She thinks she has left her old life behind for good until her husband, Nathan, appears in the camp. 

I like second chance romance because the couple knows each other but they have to relearn and accept what has changed. Rachel and Nathan are very funny, they made me laughed so hard. They are hurt and have to navigate the pain to forgive one another. It takes them time to feel like things can work out. Nathan knows he made mistakes before and he is ready now to fix them. It's sweet and beautiful to see a relationship that at first struggles but works out because they talk. 

The Pursuit Of... by Courtney Milan

John, a black man fighting for the American side, forgives Henry's life, who is British. Henry feels in debt because he doesn't care about the war and to repay John they travel together to John's family.

Henry is incredibly funny, I laughed so hard. He is honest, kind and likes to talk a lot. Seriously, every time he opens his mouth something hilarious comes out. John is more taciturn but likes to listen. They make a beautiful and perfect couple.

I was worried at first because they're a biracial couple and Henry has many privileges. But the story does address them. John calls out Herny's white privilege, and Henry genuinely wants to do better. They learn from one another and it's lovely. 

That Could Be Enough by Alyssa Cole

Mercy is Eliza Hamilton's maid and assistant. Andromeda appears one day to talk about her grandfather. And the romance starts! Mercy tries to bury the emotions that have hurt her so much. SHe is reluctant to let herself feel. Andromeda is so different from her, funny and honest, she doesn't shy away from her emotions. 

They are a beautiful couple, kinda slow-burn romance. Their story made me cry so bitterly, but there is also sweetness and hope. Hope that I needed to see in sapphic stories.
Was this review helpful?
This consisted of three novellas that incorporate Alexander Hamilton in some form or another. The diversity in this book was brilliant, and I really liked the Jewish aspect of the first novella, but overall, the book itself was a let down and I found myself really bored pretty quickly.
Was this review helpful?
As usual Courtney Milan is the best. I had never read anything by Rose Lerner before but will definitely be doing so now. All three stories were very good.
Was this review helpful?
I really enjoyed this collection.  All three stories were about people we don't read a ton about in romance: a Jewish couple, a gay couple and a lesbian couple.  I really recommend reading it. My favorite story was Courtney Milan's.  They are loosely tied together, with characters making cameos in the other stories.  So, that's fun.
Was this review helpful?
This book might be my favorite romance anthology I’ve ever read. The three stories are beautiful, human, extraordinary stories. They are touching, and heartfelt, painfully raw and hopeful. They make you feel like you belong. I finished the book with a huge smile on my face.

Promised Land by Rose Lerner

Rachel and Nathan’s story was raw and desperate and I couldn’t put my book down. As a member of the Armenian diaspora, this story hit very close to home. I can relate to Nathan’s hope for his people to be respected and his need to hold onto his cultural habits. I could also understand how Rachel wished to just be accepted and belong with the majority. I loved seeing their journey of accepting what both of them need from their shared future.

My only quip is that seeing them together right at the start of the story lessens the impact of getting them there.

The Pursuit of… by Courtney Milan

This story is hands down one of the best I’ve ever read. I don’t think I’ve ever laughed this hard while reading. John and Henry had a beautiful, crackling chemistry that made me fall in love with them immediately. Their banter was genius and the use of the Cheese of Death as a framing device was endlessly amusing to me.

I loved seeing their debates of civil rights and that Henry, despite his best intentions, was very clueless about certain topics and that he kept learning. I also adored seeing them old and happy and still deeply in love, as there are nearly not enough older queer couples in media. And the community they built around themselves was wonderful.

That Could be Enough by Alyssa Cole

I have to admit that I share Mercy’s annoyance at her employer’s absolute devotion to her late husband, but I loved the way it was handled. I felt for her desperation, her feeling as though she’s throwing her life away, at her unwillingness to open up her heart again. I loved Andromeda, with her charming ways and strong will. Their romance was very sweet, the way Andromeda sweeps Mercy off her feet. Their flirting was wonderful, and the character development was joy to behold.

I was annoyed at the unnecessary miscommunication, but I will forgive it since these two ladies charmed me to my very core.
Was this review helpful?
I thought this was the perfect way to write a Hamilton related book without being too literal. Honestly, I love Hamilton but I haven't read any of the books people wrote about it or relating to it because I thought they would be too on the nose relating to the musical and Lin's vision of it. But I trust these authors so much and I knew they wouldn't do something that was super cheesy. These were three romance stories that all connect because Eliza is collecting the stories to organice Hamilton's life after he died so she asked for their recollections of meeting her husband. They weren't very big situations that changed the course of history, they were all very important for their own lives and I can totally see them happening in that time and not making it to any of the history books. The writing of all of them was brilliant, I appreciated different things in the three of them. But one thing they all had in common is that they were stories about marginalized characters and they were all very political and timely. 

Promised Land by Rose Lerner (m/f): 4☆
The first story takes place during the battle of Yorktown and it's about a Jewish woman dressing up as a man to be able to participate in the battle. The conflict of the story is that she runs into her husband who thinks she's dead. What I appreciated the most about this story is that Rose Lerner was really aware of what she was writing in the crossdressing aspects of this book. Also, there were a lot of conversations about Judaism, sexism, misogyny and interpersonal relationships. I only had one problem with the story towards the end with a gender reveal with genitalia that didn't happen but I would have preferred for that to be left out of the novel seeing how even though it's historical romance, it was written in modern times and could have been excluded. 

In Pursuit Of... by Courtney Milan (m/m): 5☆
This is a romance between a Black American soldier, invalided out at Yorktown, and a British officer who deserted his post. If I had to choose a favourite, it would probably be this one. I already knew I was probably going to like this because I always love Courtney Milan's writing. She's amazing at taking care of her characters so they are respected and well treated and it feels like she pours her soul into what she's writing. The main thing that made me like this story a lot is the chemistry between the characters. It's mostly conversations between them that make them grew closer so the connection between them had to be strong and it was. Also, it was very funny but also incredibly moving at some points. I really appreciated that she wrote an m/m historical romance and recognized at different times how common it was for guys to get together at war. 

That Could Be Enough by Alyssa Cole (f/f): 4.5☆
This is about a girl who is serving as a maid to Eliza Hamilton, and an assistant in her desire to preserve her late husband's legacy and about a woman who shares her grandfather's story. This was such a gorgeous romance story between two very different women. It seemed incredible to me that there was such amazing character development in a short story. They really bounce super well off each other and I adored the letters that they sent and how they grew while writing them. It was truly incredibly deep and it explore humanity and emotions in a raw and important way.
Was this review helpful?
I enjoyed all three novellas in this series, although they're all very different and I'm not sure the framing device (all three couples are somehow connected to Eliza Hamilton's project to collect stories about her late husband) works as well as it could. I loved, loved, loved Rose Lerner's novella (about a Jewish woman who faked her own death and then joined up with the rebels, posing as a man) and it was definitely a hard act to follow! Courtney Milan's story (about a black soldier returning home to Rhode Island) was less intense but very funny and enjoyable. I wasn't quite as into the final novella, by Alyssa Cole, about Eliza Hamilton's secretary. It was a completely character-driven story and it felt like after the action of the previous two novellas there just wasn't as much at stake. It might have worked better fleshed out as a full-length novel. I don't know that I've seen a romance novella collection that mixed LGBTQ and straight romances before, and I hope that it'll catch on as a trend. The separation between the two segments of the romance market is frankly weird.
Was this review helpful?
http://smexybooks.com/2017/10/review-hamiltons-battalion-by-rose-lerner-courtney-milan-and-alyssa-cole.html
Was this review helpful?
Wonderful collection. Just the pick-me-up I needed as we head towards winter!
Was this review helpful?
Would like to kindly inform you that we won't be posting a review for this.  Didn't really connect with the stories and primarily setting of this anthology and couldn't finish this in order to provide a review.  Sorry.
Was this review helpful?
This anthology cashes in on the popularity of Hamilton with a trio of love stories against the backdrop of characters marginalized by race, religion, and sexuality. I haven’t seen the musical that has captured the hearts of so many, but you really don’t need to be familiar with it to understand what’s going on here. Eliza Hamilton is collecting stories from her husband’s soldiers after his death about their history with him. Hamilton, the Yorktown, and the Revolutionary are the threads that hold the novellas together.

The first story is “The Promised Land” by Rose Lerner. Rachel is a woman posing as a man to fight in the war. She faked her own death to free herself from marriage to a man she didn’t love. She is Jewish, which is important to her, but just as important is the idea of being an American. But her ruse is put in jeopardy when her husband shows up at her camp.

Nathan is shocked to find his wife is alive after all these years. He’s been working as a spy for the American forces, inspired by the ideals his wife had before her “death.” Now that he sees she’s alive, he wants to win her back. Though part of her cares for him, Rachel doesn’t want to give up her ideals or go back to the life she walked away from all those years ago.

This story is very steeped in Jewish culture. I struggled a little with the wealth of words and cultural references I didn’t know. Though as the story went on, it all melted into the bigger picture. My big issue was that I just didn’t like the heroine. I understand that she was unhappy in her marriage and that Nathan wasn’t an ideal husband, but it was hard for me to sympathize with her when she talked about hating him for loving her… for resenting his efforts to make her happy. I found myself rooting for their HEA simply because I wanted Nathan to be happy.

This was my first experience with this author and while I appreciate reading a perspective that’s underrepresented in the genre, I just didn’t connect well with this one.

Courtney Milan’s “The Pursuit Of…” was a whole different story. I absolutely adored this m/m short about a freed slave who begrudgingly falls in love with a man he saved on the battlefield. The only thing John is interested in is his family. It’s the reason he fought for America and it’s the reason he has to rush back to Rhode Island. But he gains an unlikely traveling companion after sparing Henry at the Battle of Yorktown.

Henry is the son of a wealthy Brit, but he doesn’t want to go home. He talks way too much and isn’t always the sharpest tool in the shed. We see, along with John, though, that his heart is good and he wants to be a better man.

I loved watching these two fall for each other over the course of their journey. I loved that issues of race and privilege were vital elements, but the story still never lost track of being a romance. I even loved the stinky cheese. (Just go with me here.)

Worth picking up the book even for this one alone.

Alyssa Cole’s “That Could Be Enough” rounds out the collection. Lesbian romance is generally not my cuppa-tea, but I thought this story was well told. It featured Mrs. Hamilton’s servant, Mercy, who has been burned by love and has vowed never to indulge in the emotion again. Then the brash and beautiful Andromeda visits the house to share her grandfather’s story of serving with the widow’s late husband.

The dressmaker sees something worth trying to unravel in the tightly wound Mercy. Slowly, she teaches her that love can be worth the risk. And sometimes when you love, you can be loved in return.

Overall, the Milan story was the best for me, but I enjoyed the anthology as a whole. I don’t know that I’ve read any romance from this time period and it was a fun change of pace.

Rating: B
Was this review helpful?