Friday, June 10, 2022

A Ballad of Love and Glory by Reyna Grande

 Title:  A Ballad of Love and Glory

Author:  Reyna Grande

Narrated by:  Yareli Arizmendi and Aidan Kelly

Publisher: Simon & Schuster Audio

Length: Approximately 13 hours and 32 minutes 

Source: Review Copy from Simon & Schuster.  Thank-you!

What period of history would you like to learn more about?  I didn’t know much about the Mexican American War, and I was excited to review this audiobook.  It was the first historical fiction book I have read that was set during the Mexican American War.

After Texas became the 28th state, a dispute arises between Texas and Mexico over the strip of land by the Rio Grande River.  The Mexican American war starts between the United States and Mexico in 1846.  As United States Troops come to fight, disputes soon arise as roughly forty percent of the troops are comprised of immigrants.  Most of these immigrants are Irish Catholic immigrants.  As they find themselves fighting against the Catholic Mexicans who are defending themselves against an invading force, the Irish start to realize they may have more in common with the enemy.  

John Riley is an Irish Catholic immigrant fighting in the United States army.  His family is still in Ireland and he dreams of bringing his wife and son to America.   After facing brutal oppression, Riley joins the Mexican Army with the promise of a grant of land, the ability to practice his Catholic faith, and the ability to advance in the military.  He becomes the leader of the St. Patrick’s Battalion of fellow Irish immigrant deserters from the United States army. He meets the beautiful Ximena, a gifted Mexican healer and nurse.  Ximena’s beloved husband was killed by Texas Rangers and she decides to help the Mexican Army.  Will these two survive the war?

I was riveted by this audiobook.  I recently found out that one of my ancestors was a Mexican American War veteran.   I was at first put off by the brutal treatment of the Irish immigrants by the United States army officers.  I looked it up and discovered that this unfortunately all true and not exaggerated.  The Irish immigrants were treated better by the Mexican Army, but they found themselves poorly led and without rations.  I enjoyed that real life characters Zachary Taylor and Santa Anna.  I thought this was a well-researched story and was fascinating.  After this war, the United States gained a lot of territory from New Mexico to California.  The author states in an afterward that this is a war the United States has forgotten, but Mexico cannot forget.  I learned a lot from this book.  I admit, I wasn’t sure what to think about the love story at first because I am not a fan of love stories where someone is cheating on their spouse.  I ended up feeling their complicated love story.  

Yareli Arizmendi and Aidan Kelly both narrated this novel.  They did a great job.  The chapters alternated between John Riley and Ximena’s points of view and these two narrators took the parts.  I like when two narrators are used for dual narration.

Overall, A Ballad of Love and Glory is a fascinating and unique historical fiction novel.  I highly recommend it.

1 comment:

  1. Sounds like a fascinating read, especially given your family connections

    Thanks for sharing it with the Historical Fiction Reading Challenge!