Caballero: A Historical Novel

Jovita Gonzalez, Author, Jovita Gonzalez Mireles, Author, Jose E. Limon, Editor Texas A&M University Press $24.95 (392p) ISBN 978-0-89096-700-3
Not only is this a historical novel, but its a novel with some history. Written during the 1930s and '40s by Gonzalez, a protege of folklorist J. Frank Dobie, and the pseudonymous Raleigh, the book was originally rejected by three East Coast publishers. The manuscripts (some complete, some partial) remained undiscovered for some 50 years. Now, the edited compilation has been published as a historical romance that chronicles both sides of the U.S.-Mexico War of 1846-47 and the subsequent ethnic tensions. Clearly, this will be of interest to scholars of Mexican-American history, but general readers will also find this a delightfully romantic story. Set in South Texas and Northern Mexico, the focus is the family of patriarch Don Santiago de Mendoza y Soria. As Don Santiago struggles to maintain a powerful hidalgo family devoid of Americano influence, each of his two daughters falls in love with a ranger sent to settle land disputes. The authors handle this merging of cultures realistically, and the early social ramifications of mixed unions are clearly delineated. There are minor omissions (portions of the original manuscripts were indecipherable), yet the flow remains unaffected. The title, as noted by the editors, is inappropriate, however. The English translation of caballero is gentleman, and this work is more about the strong women during this important historical period of two neighboring countries. (June)
Reviewed on: 03/04/1996
Release date: 03/01/1996
Hardcover - 350 pages - 978-0-89096-701-0
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