Cover Image: The Scandalous Hamiltons

The Scandalous Hamiltons

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date:

Member Reviews

This book was thoroughly entertaining read and was both sad and funny in places. It is very well researched, and the author has clearly accessed a huge number of historical documents. Highly recommend.
Was this review helpful?
A great-grandson of Alexander Hamilton falls prey to a con woman, giving rise to a Gilded Age scandal and a courtroom drama that fascinated the American public, especially once all the lurid details emerged.  Hamilton’s secret marriage to the woman and the birth of a child resulted in attempted murder and the emerging tabloid press had a field day. Even the world renowned Nellie Bly, one of the first investigative reporters, makes an appearance. EastEnders eat your heart out. And then to top it all off Hamilton himself dies in mysterious circumstances a year later. What's not to like? Well, quite a bit actually. Admittedly it’s quite an interesting story, and the author has carried out an impressive amount of research. But essentially the book is too long as he tries to shoehorn every bit of research in, going off piste at regular intervals talking about characters who only appear briefly and who are not integral to the main event. And then courtroom transcripts are only interesting up to a point – after a while the questioning and cross-examination become tedious, unless the reader is heavily invested in the characters. And I’m afraid I wasn’t. Respectable member of society gets embroiled in a scam. And that’s about it. As we don’t get inside the head of the main participants the book is really just celebrity gossip about not very important people. After all, if it hadn’t been for the Alexander Hamilton connection I doubt we would be reading about the case at all. Certainly the second half of the book once the main action has happened drags. Nevertheless the book is well-written overall and the reader can pass a pleasant few hours with it.
Was this review helpful?
⭐⭐⭐⭐

Being a history buff and a lover of a good scandal, this book was thoroughly entertaining read. Well written and well researched, and including headlines and court documents, this one is not to be missed! 

**ARC Via NetGalley**
Was this review helpful?
The story of New Yorker Robert Ray Hamilton ( a descendant of the famous Alexander Hamilton) and his wayward wife Eva, documented in The Scandalous Hamilton’s by Bill Shaffer is a gripping read presenting an almost unbelievable tale of an unconventional relationship and the bizarre set of circumstances that brought it to public attention. 

This story, which became a sensation in newspapers across America, and as I discovered, across Australia in the late 1880s and into the 1890s, is a thoroughly researched narrative using a variety of primary sources to explore the compelling, and convoluted chronology of events that played out in the lives of an unlikely couple. It reveals a desperate woman determined to secure her future by any means, and a man who was duped and ultimately disgraced before his tragic death.

I enjoyed this book and found it an engaging and informative read. I would highly recommend it to others. 

Thank you NetGalley and Kensington Books - Citadel for the ARC of this book in exchange for my honest review
Was this review helpful?
One of the lyrics from the the musical ‘Hamilton’ states ‘but just you wait, just you wait’. That same lyric applies to this engrossing historical crime story about Alexander Hamiltons great grandson Robert.
Set in the Gilded Age, it is a story filled with spice, deception, bribery and violence that had me turning the pages with disbelief and yet always wanting more.
Robert Ray and Eva meet in a brothel. She becomes his mistress. Several years later he is thrust into marriage because Eva is pregnant. The union does not survive once Robert Ray learns that Eva is hiding a marriage and the child he thought is his, is not (the child was purchased). The Hamiltons live in a world built on Eva’s lies, deceit and temper. Mix in attempted murder, a trial and trying to cash in on Robert Ray’s estate after his death and you’ve got the perfect recipe for an unputdownable read.
Highly recommended, much enjoyed.
Thanks to NetGalley, the author and Citadel for an ARC in exchange for an honest book review.
Was this review helpful?
Gilded Age scandal involving the descendant of Alexander Hamilton. When Ray Hamilton’s wife is arrested for stabbing the family’s wet nurse, a great deal of scandalous truth comes out, namely, that the child is not his, nor hers. The book provides the reader with the big picture while capturing attention with the deception that is Eva. An excellent look at a gilded age scandal, a true crime case before true crime was a thing.
Was this review helpful?
https://soundcloud.com/user-141386597/the-scandalous-hamiltons-interview?si=8424f874e6de43b4a08ca10e59cad858&utm_source=clipboard&utm_medium=text&utm_campaign=social_sharing
Was this review helpful?
Thank you to NetGalley and Bill Shaffer for this ARC in exchange for my honest feedback and review.  

Before I read this book I had not heard of Robert Ray Hamilton.  This tawdry story of lies, sex, deceit was very interesting.  If you have an interest in history especially those lesser known historical figures of famous families this is the read for you!  I would love to learn more about the Hamilton family now.
Was this review helpful?
I adore true history books. I knew nothing about the Hamilton's prior to this book. I was totally fascinated. A story almost beyond belief but no, the fact that it's all true is mind-blowing. An incredibly well researched and written book.
Was this review helpful?
When Ray Hamilton’s wife is arrested for stabbing the family’s wet nurse, a great deal of scandalous truth comes out – namely, that the child is not his, nor hers.

I have not seen that seminal musical Hamilton, but I had read the doorstopper of a book it was based on. While I knew all about the successes and scandals of Alexander Hamilton’s life, I had not considered his descendants. This descendant in particular had rather fewer successes and rather more scandals.

The star of the show, though, is Eva – Hamilton? Mann? – his wife. A grifter of the highest order, she is simultaneously infuriating and sympathetic. After all, what can a woman be but out for herself? The parts of the book that involve her are the most compelling, though in general the first half of the book was very engaging.

However, I did think the story began to drift a little in the second half as the scandal becomes mostly played out, and the author apparently scoured the newspapers for tidbits of news to keep the story going. He has a fascinating story to tell, but I wonder if the book wouldn’t have been better served by not plunging straight into the action, and instead writing a bit more about the lead up to the scandal first.
Was this review helpful?
This is a fascinating and well-researched story of a privileged son of The Gilded Age and a girl 'from the wrong side of the tracks'. Robert Ray was descended from Alexander Hamilton himself and had a wealthy, educated background. He was very bright. After he paid a few dollars for the prostitute Evangeline Steele in New York, he was in for a terrible shock, and the start of a descent from grace. They married a few years later after she told him that she was pregnant, but they soon began fighting. When Evangeline attacked the baby's nurse with a knife, Robert found himself forced to face the trial of a century, and discovered that what Evangeline had told him was a pack of lies, and even more scandals lay ahead...

I enjoyed this, but not as much as reading about the endlessly interesting Alexander.

I received this free ebook from NetGalley in return for an honest review.

EDITION   Other Format

 ISBN         9780806542256

PRICE        $26.00 (USD)
Was this review helpful?
I absolutely was hooked on this book! My podcast production has a history podcast called What Do You Know About...? and I had to talk about Evangeline Hamilton once I found this book. Her story is so interesting and this book just brought it to life. Thank you so much for this amazing read and I will be getting a physical copy for my bookshelf once I have the extra cash for it!
Was this review helpful?
There are two things that I could read so many books on. One - scam, give me all of them because they are always such fascinating (and often funny) stories. Two - Hamilton in any form. The musical, the man, the family. All of it. It was only natural to want to read this title. 

Shaffer captures the Gilded Age and weaves a story that is sure to please most fans of history and true crime!
Was this review helpful?
Well-written, interesting history on a Gilded Age society member I was unfamiliar with. 

Thank you Netgalley
Was this review helpful?
I would like to thank NetGalley and Kensington Books for allowing me to read this book and give an honest review. I will be honest, I only requested this book because like so many others, I am obsessed with all things Hamilton! This book was told in an odd way. I can't put my finger on it but in a lot of scenes (like the trial) you feel like you are there but watching through a glass. It made me sad to see that just as Alexander, his later generations had issues as well.
Was this review helpful?
Interesting read about the family of one of our founding fathers. This book was a quick read and I chose to read it because of the Hamilton name. But I couldn't put the book down because of all the family drama. You need to read this book you won't regret it. This goes to show that we all have ghosts in our closets from our family.
Was this review helpful?
I received an ARC from the publisher via NetGalley. All opinions are my own. 
While Alexander Hamilton made his name as a Founding Father, I took for granted that his descendants would have a role in public life as well. But to learn about the story of Robert and Eva, and their story involving a con and a mysterious death proves that sometimes truth truly is stranger than fiction.
Was this review helpful?
3.5 stars

A true crime case before true crime was a thing, and case reporting was in its infancy. The public was immediately gripped showing society’s fascination with crime cases had been happening since the beginning. After a day of socializing and drinking a woman stabs her friend what actually happened before, during, and after is a he said, she said, they said that gets played out in court. To make things more interesting the whole thing involves the descendant of a founding father only strengthening the public’s obsession with the case and all the drama surrounding it that involved for them just the murder including validity of her marriages, and paternity and even maternity of children. Vintage true crime is one of my favorite things because the things people were allowed to say, do, and get away with always blows my mind. This was really interesting and I liked watching all the court drama, and the events that followed play out. 

*a copy of this book was provided by NetGalley in exchange for an honest review*
Was this review helpful?
Thank you, NetGalley for the opportunity to review this book. 

Hamilton is a name the world has become familiar with due to American history and a particular play of the same name. This story is not about Alexander Hamilton but one of his heirs and their scandalous life. The book capitalizes on the current Hamilton trend and focuses on one of the lesser-known members of the family. 

I enjoyed the book and all of the fascinating twists and turns. It's a historical soap opera! This could easily be made into an interesting documentary or movie.
Was this review helpful?
I received an advance reading copy (arc) of this book from NetGalley.com in return for a fair review. The Scandalous Hamiltons detailed the life of Robert Ray Hamilton (the great-grandson of Alexander Hamilton) who was a member of the 400 Club that included the wealthiest families in the country and Eva Steele, a grifter, who Set her sights on Ray's money. In all probability, Ray met Eva in a whorehouse. She saw dollar signs and eventually convinced him to marry her. Everything about her was a sham. She claimed to have a baby, but instead bought one off the black market. The infant died because she neglected to feed the child--something I just can't forgive her for. She bought a second baby that also died. The third baby was blond and she didn't want it so she sent it back and purchased a fourth. She claimed that she gave birth to that child and tried to pass it off as Ray's. She duped him big time, but her grand plans unraveled when she stabbed the baby's nurse. From that day on, the Hamilton name appeared almost daily in newspapers across the country detailing the scandalous story of Eva and Ray. Was she married before? Were they legally wed? Who was the child's father? Eva was convicted of attempted murder and served time in prison. Ray was in the process of divorcing her when he met his untimely demise, but not before he had written her out of his will. Of course, she contested saying she was still his wife. The story goes on with many twists and turns and rarely a dull moment. Author Bill Schaffer did a fine job researching and writing this sordid story. If you thought truth was NOT stranger than fiction, just read this book and you will definitely change your mind! I enjoyed this one immensely.
Was this review helpful?