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South Texas Reads!


South Texas Reads! is a region-wide literary event encouraging the Rio Grande Valley community to read and discuss the same book. This is a South Texas Book Festival special event series that includes discussion groups and a free presentation by the author. 

This year, our featured South Texas Reads! author is Reyna Grande. Her book, 'A Ballad of Love and Glory', will be featured during the 2022 South Texas Book Festival.


About the Book: 
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?



Join McAllen Public Library's book club across South Texas, South Texas Reads!

Pick up your FREE COPY of 'A Ballad of Love and Glory' and attend one of our three book discussions and a presentation by the author during the South Texas Book Festival.


Sunday Afternoon Book Club
Sunday, September 11th at 2:00PM
Main Library - Board Room
Register here: 

Diverse Voices Book Club
Tuesday, October 13th at 6:30PM
Main Library - Board Room
Register here: https://mcallenlibrary.libnet.info/event/7056838 

Lark Branch Book Club
Tuesday, October 13th at 6:30PM
Lark Branch Library

Register here: https://mcallenlibrary.libnet.info/event/7323459 

South Texas Book Festival
Saturday, October 29th | 5:00PM
Main Library Auditorium
4001 N. 23rd St.



Download a flyer here:
STR! Flyer



Browse the catalog to place a hold on 'A Ballad of Love and Glory' and pick it up at any MPL location!

Click Here to View the Library Catalog


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