books

Rose Lerner

Books

Hamilton’s Battalion: A Trio of Romances (2017)

 

 

Hamilton’s Battalion: A Trio of Romances (2017) Rose Lerner, Courtney Milan, Alyssa Cole

Set in the Americas in 1781 and 1820

This is three stories with some overlapping characters, including Alexander Hamilton, who appears at least in the background of each story.

PROMISED LAND by Rose Lerner

Rachel ran away to join the army as Ezra Jacobs, and is proud she has made Corporal and takes care of her men. So she is shocked to find Nathan Mendelson in her camp, and immediately has him arrested as a loyalist spy–even though he recognized her as Rachel.

What Nathan doesn’t understand is why Rachel is fighting so hard for Independence, and his discovery of her passion for independence is quite lovely.

Plus, the story has funny bits.

He ran over what she’d said again. “Wait! Am I the British in this analogy? As in, you heroically claimed your freedom from my tyrannical rule?” No, because he was a nebekh who couldn’t stand up to his mother. “No, wait, my mother is the British, and I’m… Canada?”

But also has some lovely lines about the parts of war that can be glossed over in romances.

Was this her last sight of him alive? She thought of the knapsacks they had piled neatly in the trench. How many would go uncollected on their return?

That very much is a reminder of the nature of war.

THE PURSUIT OF… by Courtney Milan

Corporal John Hunter joined the army to gain freedom for his sister’s husband. He feels little loyalty for the country that enslaved his mother, and him and his sister.

The colonies didn’t care about John’s freedom, so he returned the favor by not caring about theirs.

Henry Latham has decided that he no longer wants to fight for the British, but isn’t quite sure what to do except get himself killed.

(H)e’d overtly committed treason and absconded in the heat of battle. Technically, it had been after the redoubt was surrendered, but not by much.

If that wasn’t the heat of battle, it was perhaps the warmth of it.

When John Hunter gives Henry his coat, Henry swears to return the favor. What John doesn’t expect is that Henry actually meant it.

All British were odd, John reminded himself. They might seem rational, but why else would they fight so many wars, just for the dubious pleasure of ruling the ungrateful?

This was a fun story, despite making note of slavery and the treatment of both slaves and Freedmen. (ie, black men and women were treated terribly.)

THAT COULD BE ENOUGH by Alyssa Cole

Mercy Alston has been helping Mrs Hamilton gather letters and stories for her husband’s memoirs. When Andromeda Stiel arrives in her grandfather’s stead, to relate his stories of Alexander Hamilton, Mercy’s carefully built walls quickly tumble down around her.

Mercy raised a hand to the ache in her chest. There’d been a time when she’d felt beautiful things acutely. Felt them in her body and heart and soul. A flower pressed between the pages of a book had given her sustenance that even food could not. She’d shed tears at the sight of a bird with a ribbon streaming from its beak, flying toward its nest. She knew better than to expose herself like that now; years of experience and heartache had cured her of those naive tendencies.

One of the things I especially liked about this story was The Grove.

I have a difficult time with stories where people are treated badly, because they upset me and are very hard for me to get through. So stories of slavery and the treatment of blacks in the Americas are something I tend not to read, because I know the world can be a terrible place where people can be treated horribly. I don’t need fiction to point this out to me, especially if it’s likely to throw me into a mood swing.

This isn’t because I want to ignore these past harms, but because I tend to feel the misery too vividly. I avoid dystopias for the exact same reason. I know these terrible horrible things happened–and still happen. If I focus on it, it tries to eat me alive inside. So I hide from these stories, because I feel I can’t get past horrors to get to the hope and redemption.

Stories like these make me think that perhaps I can work through the horror and awfulness to get to the love and reminders of goodness that does exist in the world–and did exist even in the past.

These is a wonderful collection, and I highly recommend it.

Publisher: Courtney Milan
Rating: 8/10

 

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