A Ballad of Love and Glory by Reyna Grande
3/15/22; 384 pages
A Ballad of Love and Glory by Reyna Grande is a recommended historical fiction novel set in 1846 during the Mexican-American War.
After Ximena Salomé's husband is killed during the conflict, she
becomes a nurse and takes her gift of healing to the front lines of the
war over the
disputed Río Grande boundary. At the same time, John Riley, an
Irish immigrant who is serving in the U.S. Army, but he and his fellow
Irish immigrants were treated cruelly by the officers. He deserts and
joins the Mexican force where General Santa Anna places him in charge of
Patrick’s Battalion, a unit made up of
other Irish deserters. He and Ximena meet and fall for each other,
beginning an affair that is surely doomed from the start.
This is a literary fiction as well as historical fiction, so it is
technically beautifully written but inspired by historical events and
figures. The novel does focus on the battles and details of the war. The
narrative unfolds through alternate points-of-view and also provides
additional information through some flashbacks. It is a slow moving
novel at times as it focuses on the details of the war. Additionally,
with the focus on the history, there is also a lack of character
development and they were hard to connect to while reading.
Obviously Grande takes some liberties while following the facts in order to take the
events and historical figures and turn the information into a novel. Historical fiction isn't normally a
genre I would chose to read due to the trend to take modern
sensibilities and project them into a historical context. Historical context of the era and times matter to me. There is some
of this contemporary editorializing present and prepare yourself for an unfavorable
view of America.