Reviewed by May
Hamilton’s Battalion: A trio of romances is an interesting collection of very different minorities and walks of life. From two African American woman finding a sizzling attraction to a married Jewish couple reunited – I can tell you I’ve never quite read any stories like any of these. The whole “Hamilton’s Battalion” theme that the wife of the now deceased Hamilton is collecting stories was okay as far as these things go. I get that for novella sets to work it helps to have a common theme.
When it comes to reviewing novellas it is tricky because I want to give a good feel for what you can expect, but because they are short stories I don’t want to give away too much or take away from the fun. So I will break this down two ways: first overall impressions and general talk. Then a one sentence review and grade for individual stories.
As mentioned before, the theme is Hamilton’s Battalion. Hamilton himself really does not factor or even show up in the stories except the first one (Promised Land) where he has some rather memorable moments. The romances themselves do follow a kind of timeline in that the first is during the war, the second is walking home, and the third is many years later. I found this appealing because instead of monotony of battles or one type of scene replayed each story had its own pace, time, and setting unique to the others.
What may appeal to some (and not to others) is that each story follows a unique couple. The first is the reuniting of a Jewish man and his wife (she’s undercover as a male soldier!), the second is an British officer and Black American soldier, and the third is two African American women many years later- one of which is writing down the stories of Hamilton for his widow.
Not surprisingly, the middle story by Courtney Milan was the shining star. That woman is one of very few that can write a novella so captivating, complete, and satisfying that you don’t miss the added length. The others suffer in direct comparison because neither captured the same depth, romance, or strong feelings as Milan.
Promised Land by Rose Lerner Grade: B
Though heavy handed on religious detail compared to romance development, this is a strong and interesting tale of a female soldier on the front lines.
The Pursuit Of… by Courtney Milan Grade: A
Never has two strangers walking hundreds of miles home been so romantic – and such a lovely novella to read.
That Could Be Enough by Alyssa Cole Grade: C-
It was not enough. Too many issues and thoughts were touched on, but never developed nor was the romance on par with the other novellas.
If you’d like to read some quick romances during and after the Revolutionary War, or if you’re looking for characters outside the usual classic English historical romance – this may be a good fit for you. I enjoyed my evening reading breaks with Hamilton’s Battalion and I hope to see more interesting characters, stories, and ideas from these authors and others. It is often said there isn’t enough diversity in romance – if these ladies can come up with these unique characters and tales from the time of Hamilton, imagine what other authors could be doing!