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The Scandalous Hamiltons

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The Scandalous Hamiltons is a story that is hard to believe actually happened. The grandson of Alexander Hamilton ( Robert Ray Hamilton) has married a woman of questionable background under the premise that she is pregnant. The story becomes front page news across the country as the court details emerge of the horrible things Mrs Hamilton has done. Not to give the story away but this is a must read,
This book was well written and a page turner.
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I never thought it could happen but it did. This is a great historical true crime book and no one gets murdered!

The Scandalous Hamiltons by Bill Shaffer follows the story of Alexander Hamilton descendant, Robert Ray, and his wife, Eva after a stabbing. Actually, some of that previous sentence is not actually true, but I won't spoil it for you.

I can't remember the last time a book had so many false endings. Multiple times I found myself wondering, "Well, this is clearly the end, why are there more chapters?" Each time, I quickly realized it was not over. 

Shaffer tells a wonderful story which exposes just how an episode most of us never heard of could be so popular in its own time just to fade into obscurity. 

The moral of the story is still universal. Be careful who you marry. Also, maybe double check that birth certificate. 

(This book was provided to me as an advance copy by Netgalley and Kensington Books. The full review will be posted to on 7/26/2022.)
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Anybody who is interested in History would love this well above average written comprehensive and epic story of Robert Ray Hamilton and the scandal that rocked the world during the Gilded age for years. Robert Ray Hamilton got duped by a wicked and corrupt woman named Evangeline who was already in a common law marriage to Josh Mann. I felt very sorry for Robert Ray Hamilton who got entangled with a scheming woman who for reasons I will list sold a lot of newspapers over the course of at least five years while she tried to insinuate herself into corruptly trying to get her hands on the wealth of Ray Hamilton's money. She had too many last names for me to list, but two of them were Steele and Mann. There is a fountain that Robert Ray Hamilton had bequeathed in his will of $10,000.00 that was to be built as a Hamilton memorial that he allocated his funds which still stands today in Riverside Drive, at the end of West Seventy-Sixth Street., New York City. It finally got finished in 1906, sixteen years after his tragic death. I had never heard of this monument before and I am willing to bet neither have you. I had not known about this sad story that so captured this nation's attention for years that with every headline published it was devoured by the public. The Country could not get enough of this story and, sadly today little is known about it even though in NYC a Memorial Fountain was erected.

Robert Ray Hamilton was the great grandson of one of our Founding Father's, Alexander Hamilton, who was a member in President George Washington's circle. He along with the other Founding Fathers took part in drafting our Country's United States Constitution. He is most notably of interest to me because of his role in paying off the debts incurred during the Revolutionary War and, Alexander Hamilton is responsible for being the first to establish this Country's first two banks. Most people, probably remember him for being killed in the duel that took place with Aaron Burr. I can't stop thinking about this prestigious family's history and their important contributions and all of the tragedies they have endured. As I write this review I feel so much sadness for all of the suffering this famous family has incurred.

In the case of Robert Ray Hamilton he was a lawyer who graduated from Columbia Law School and was a politician that spent most of the week in Albany and traveled back to New York City on the weekends. He was from a wealthy family which was one of the famous "Four hundred," richest which four hundred refers to how many people could fit into Mrs. Astor's ballroom. He was known to the other elite and to his friends and family as Ray Hamilton. Evangeline Steele was born poor and from Pennsylvania. She was involved in prostitution and was a Gilded age con woman and actress who was already the common law wife of another poor man named Josh Mann who off and on lived with his mother. I think his mother helped Eva purchase the babies of which one of them died from starvation, which Ray Hamilton knew nothing about until after a Detective by the name of Thomas Byrnes uncovered after Eva's arrest. Had she not been sent to Trenton, she would most likely have been indicted for the baby's death in New York City. None of this was known to Ray before he entered into an unlawful marriage with a woman who duped him. In the time period that this takes place during the three last decades of the 1800's. Ray would be dead in 1890 because of his circumstances of a series of events that occurred indirectly because of his meeting swindler Evangeline. Along with already being in a common law marriage Eva was also in a tumultuous on again off again relationship with Robert Ray Hamilton. She tricked him into marrying her by pretending to have given birth to their daughter Beatrice Ray Hamilton. She had never been pregnant and got at least two babies that she purchased from a Baby farm. Eva was violent and drank heavily and she sent out her wet nurse to buy whiskey at the end of their stay in Atlantic City. She was arguing with Ray about not wanting to accept the $5000.00 he had promised to give Eva annually. He had no intention of living with Eva and on that morning she had slashed Ray's clothes with a knife. She had sent the wet nurse to buy whiskey and when she returned she stabbed her with the dagger. She was arguing with Ray because she didn't want to accept the $5000.00. She knew he was incredibly wealthy and she wanted more money. At one point she threw the baby's wash basin across the room. The family downstairs could hear the commotion and after stabbing the wet nurse in the stomach the police were called. Both Eva and Ray were arrested and Ray posted $600.00 bail and was released while Eva remained in jail.

You can imagine the front page headlines this debacle incurred because the newly associated press reported it in every newspaper from coast to coast. Eva was held in jail and then sentenced to two years in Trenton, New Jersey's State Penn. Ray held a low profile but Nellie Bly (who I wrote about in "Madwoman," by Louisa Treger, which I will leave my review for that in a link at the bottom) interviewed Eva in the Trenton prison. I have given more than I should have but seeing as this is not Historical fiction, but real life history and non-fiction--it will give you an idea about whether you wish to read this or not. I highly, highly recommend this for everyone, but especially for those History Buffs. There is so much history in this excellent work and a lot more to this story. There is so much to this very detailed oriented part of history that this is one you will not want to miss. It is new to be recently added to Net Galley and it already is one of the most requested books.

As promised here is a link to my review if you want to know more about Nellie Bly who was the first woman to write for newspapers on investigative reporting.

I couldn't have LOVED this book more! I am grateful that I took a chance on this one because I was on the fence about it. Five Bright Sparkling Stars!

Publication Date: July 26, 2022

Thank you to Net Galley, Bill Shaffer and Kensington Books-Citadel Publishing for generously providing me with my ARC in exchange for a fair and honest review. I owe you all a Great debt of Gratitude. All opinions are my own.

#TheScandalousHamiltons #BillShaffer KensingtonBooksCitadelPublishing #NetGalley
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A fascinating history I have never heard before.  This book reads like fiction even though it’s nonfiction.  I really enjoyed the story and found the events incredibly interesting.
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