A Ballad of Love and Glory: A Novel
A Long Petal of the Sea meets Cold Mountain in this sweeping historical saga following a Mexican army nurse and an Irish soldier who must fight, at first for their survival and then for their love, amidst the atrocity of the Mexican-American War—from the author of the “timely and riveting” (People) Across a Hundred Mountains and The Distance Between Us.
A forgotten war. An unforgettable romance.
The year is 1846. After the controversial annexation of Texas, the US Army marches south to provoke war with México over the disputed Río Grande boundary.
Ximena Salomé is a gifted Mexican healer who dreams of building a family with the man she loves on the coveted land she calls home. But when Texas Rangers storm her ranch and shoot her husband dead, her dreams are burned to ashes. Vowing to honor her husband’s memory and defend her country, Ximena uses her healing skills as an army nurse on the frontlines of the ravaging war.
Meanwhile, John Riley, an Irish immigrant in the Yankee army desperate to help his family escape the famine devastating his homeland, is sickened by the unjust war and the unspeakable atrocities against his countrymen by nativist officers. In a bold act of defiance, he swims across the Río Grande and joins the Mexican Army—a desertion punishable by execution. He forms the St. Patrick’s Battalion, a band of Irish soldiers willing to fight to the death for México’s freedom.
When Ximena and John meet, a dangerous attraction blooms between them. As the war intensifies, so does their passion. Swept up by forces with the power to change history, they fight not only for the fate of a nation but for their future together.
Heartbreaking and lyrical, Reyna Grande’s spellbinding saga, inspired by true events and historical figures, brings these two unforgettable characters to life and illuminates a largely forgotten moment in history that impacts the US-México border to this day.
Will Ximena and John survive the chaos of this bitter war, or will their love be devoured along with the land they strive to defend?
Praise for A Ballad of Love and Glory: A Novel
“Reyna Grande has given us an epic and exquisitely wrought portrait of the Americas and Mexico’s battle for freedom. A Ballad of Love and Glory astonishes with its passion and historical precision. A simply mesmerizing and unforgettable novel.” —Patricia Engel, New York Times bestselling author of Infinite Country
“Panoramic and sweeping, A Ballad of Love and Glory immerses us in the history of the Mexican-American War, a history all the more relevant today as we face the legacy and painful aftermath of that bloody war. Grande integrates a sweeping Tolstoyan vision and command of language with her very own Latin American popular traditions . . . This is indeed a grand and soulful novel by a storyteller who has hit her full stride.” —Julia Alvarez, bestselling author of In the Time of the Butterflies and Afterlife
“With A Ballad of Love and Glory, Reyna Grande employs her many storytelling gifts to paint a vivid and unforgettable portrait of the people caught up in the Mexican-American War. Grande brings the legend of the Saint Patrick’s Battalion to life in all its richness and humanity, along with a big cast of Mexican women patriots and vainglorious generals. This is a page-turning epic with a love story at its center. Bravo!” —Héctor Tobar, New York Times bestselling author of The Barbarian Nurseries
“Reyna Grande, with an unerring gift for dialogue, propels A Ballad of Love and Glory with passion and precision. Patiently unfolding the tragic events of America’s least-known war and the fate of the Irish soldiers who deserted the ranks to join the Mexicans, Grande delivers a chilling story of war and an intimate portrait of courage, love, and redemption.” —Michael Hogan, author of The Irish Soldiers of Mexico
“With A Ballad of Love and Glory, Grande gifts us a reminder of the sweeping changes that war can bring and the unexpected ties that bind us. Through quick-paced narration and a captivating love story between the main characters, the fictional retelling of the Irish battalion aiding the Mexican Army is eye-opening and enthralling. Perspective shifts are a real strength here, and the Mexican and Irish idioms throughout the novel are deftly woven in, making for a transportive read into the lesser-told story of the Mexican-American War.” —Sofía Segovia, bestselling author of The Murmur of Bees
“Meticulously researched, Reyna Grande’s A Ballad of Love and Glory is a timely and fascinating novel about courage, love, and loyalty. It captivated me from the first line to its end. Days after I finished the book, I kept reflecting on the parallels with our world today.” —Janet Skeslien Charles, New York Times bestselling author of The Paris Library
"An impeccably researched and deeply felt story about a historical moment most people know little about." —The San Francisco Chronicle
"Inspired by real characters and events, this sweeping saga brings to light a lesser-known war with complex protagonists." —Kirkus Reviews
"A great story and a revealing look at a lesser-sung chapter of American history." —Publishers Weekly
"A page-turner twofer – part romance, part war story – set during the Mexican-American War." —USA Today
"A Ballad of Love and Glory lives up to its title as it pays tribute to the heroism of everyday people called upon to defend their honor as well as their lives." —BookPage
"Grande is working a territory not unlike Viet Thanh Nguyen’s reimagining of the war in Vietnam. Her rigor gives A Ballad of Love and Glory a moral weight that could not be more relevant, in this time of atrocity and war." —Alta