Book Review: ‘Love, Theodosia’ by Lori-Anne Goldstein

Romance and historical fiction fans will find lots to enjoy in Lori-Anne Goldstein’s new book, Love, Theodosia. With an enthralling love story set against the backdrop of America’s past, this book has a winning combination for readers to love.

Hamilton’s release on Disney+ was a cultural moment in the middle of the pandemic. Those who hadn’t heard the story of America’s founding fathers through one of their own, the wheeler and dealer that was Alexander Hamilton, were introduced to the American Revolutionary era, some for the first time. The fact that the stage play was filmed and streamed on Disney+ made the theatrical phenomenon just a little more accessible to the general public. Naturally, with this rekindled interest in the source material, and other stories surrounding the founding myth of America were bound to be popular. 

Make no mistake, the founding of America is definitely a myth. The legend that has been passed down through the generations tells the story of noble men fighting for freedom, when the reality is infinitely more complex and less inspiring. Love, Theodosia is fanfiction of the best kind. It highlights the most compelling parts of the myth that have enthralled people around the world for generations. The backdrop of the political turmoil that shaped the modern United States means this story is never without drama. 

At its core, Love, Theodosia is a romance that is among the latest of an incredibly long line of stories following Romeo and Juliet. Shakespeare’s classic play is considered (wrongly) by many to be the definitive blueprint of the romance genre. Love, Theodosia actually made it work unlike so many other variations. The back and forth between these star crossed lovers, mixed with the realities of their times is tragically beautiful at every turn. The love between the story’s romantic leads was always doomed from the beginning, and yet it’s so compelling, and just comes together even when it shouldn’t.

The strength of the story is in the characters. Theodosia Burr and Phillip Hamilton are two children of American giants, always striving to live up to their fathers’ gargantuan legacies. They were never together romantically in real life of course, but it was a fun thought experiment to contrast ideologies and political dynasties, and have them come together in a delicious romantic plot. Anyone with impressive parents, even if they weren’t “founders” of a country will be able to relate to living under a shadow that seems impossible to break away from. These characters’ struggle to come into their own is a relatable one, and having them come together makes for a sweet read from beginning to end.

Love, Theodosia delivers a lovely combination of empathetic characters, and a love story coated in syrup. While light on historical reflection of the realities and repercussions of the American Revolution, it still makes for an enjoyable read that is ultimately bittersweet in conclusion. The journey to the end, however, just might be worth it for historical fiction and romance aficionados.

Love, Theodosia is available now.

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