HAMILTON AND PEGGY! is almost here! And by a wonderful serendipity, the novel’s launch date on February 13th coincides with “Galentine’s Day”—the national celebration of gal-friendships. The tongue-in-cheek brainchild of comedian Amy Poehler, the day honors the power of sisterhood on the eve of Valentines, reminding women that their self-definition and worth does not have to hinge on romance, that friendship gives us lasting sustenance. When Arlington, VA’s wonderful independent bookstore One More Page was kind enough to schedule an event, we couldn’t think of a more fun mash-up: a Schuyler Sisters Galentines!
Nor a more appropriate one, as my research into the real life Peggy Schuyler revealed a young woman who was fiercely devoted to her sister BFFs. She also seemed pretty darn feminist in her outlook, even a bit of a 18th century Amy Poehler given her contemporaries calling Peggy "a wicked wit. "
They also called her "spritely" and "endowed with a superior mind and a rare accuracy of judgment." Of the three famed sisters, Peggy was the one who was in the right place at the right time to actually witness and potentially aid her father Philip Schuyler's work—as war strategist during the Northern campaign, GW's most trusted spy-master, negotiator with the Iroquois nations, and liaison with French troops. One of Hamilton's closest friends criticized Peggy as being too much of a "Swift's Vanessa"—too keen on talking politics with men to be truly likable. Ha! Nevertheless, Peggy clearly persisted!
HAMILTON AND PEGGY! begins with the impassioned letter Hamilton wrote in February 1780 to solicit Peggy's help in his courtship of Eliza—adding he’d already formed “a more than common partiality” for Peggy’s “person and mind.” Their friendship and immediate affinity is the unifying thread that binds the novel and really gels during the second half of the narrative. But my overriding focus is on Peggy herself, her wit and patriotic sensibilities, her search for self and a role in the Revolution, AND the beautifully symbiotic relationship of the Schuyler Sisters.
It must have been hard to be the little sister to “the thief of hearts” Angelica and Eliza, “the little saint of the Revolution.” And yet, Peggy rushes in again and again to save her sisters from danger—from Loyalists and Redcoats, from less than sincere men, and sometimes from themselves. I was thrilled by the School Library Journal calling Peggy “the Jo March of this family. Intelligent and fierce…(using) her razor-sharp wit and cleverness to make her mark.” Indeed, Jo of Little Women was very much an inspiration for me as I wrote. As Megan observed in a guest blog on her favorite sisters in literature (see 2/7 blog) Peggy is “bookish, smart, strong, willful, adores her sisters, and is resistant to the idea of marriage for fear it would break up the family and separate her from her beloved sisters/best friends.”
I hope you will laugh and cry along with me and the Angelica, Eliza, AND PEGGY that real life facts told me to write. They giggle and tease, compete and squabble, protect and love one another without reserve. As Peggy thinks to herself in the prologue, “As a trio, they complemented and balanced one another, each recognizing and coaxing out the best in the other two. Like pieces of those new jigsaw puzzles, only put together did the Schuyler sisters present a complete portrait, with the most beautiful and vibrant image of each clearer.”
And so it is with our closest girlfriends and sisters-in-life, isn’t it?
To get the fun started, graphic designer Amanda Chambers has created a set of Galentine’s cards you can send your friends. Check back each day for new ones!
To order autographed copies of HAMILTON AND PEGGY! from One More Page: https://www.onemorepagebooksstore.com/store/p41872/Hamilton_and_Peggy%21_A_Revolutionary_Friendship_by_L.M._Elliott_%2ASIGNED%2A_Pre-order.html