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BOOK REVIEW S of Texas (DRT) went to legal war with a large eastern company over an old warehouse in downtown San Antonio believed to be the convent of the Alamo (which, of course, had been built by the Spanish as a mission). The company wanted to tear down the building and construct a luxury hotel on the property. At one point, Adina de Zavala, a member of the DRT, barricaded herself in the Alamo for three days to prevent its demolition. Zesch changes the names of the real-life personages and adds a cast of fictional characters, but history supplies the main plot of his tale. Adina de Zavala becomes, in the novel, Rose de León Herrera, whose grandfather had been a loyal Tejano killed in the Battle of the Alamo. Rose is strong-willed and determined, and she conspicuously motors around San Antonio in her Peerless automobile, calling attention to herself and her cause. Zesch weaves numerous minor characters and subplots into the basic story line. An interesting sidebar, for instance, has to do with the strain on Rose’s marriage caused by her very public activities. Her husband, Antonio, is a Hispanic attorney trying to gain a foothold in the Anglo business and social world. The reader never finds out, in fact, whether her marriage survives the turmoil of Rose’s sensational action, which makes the front pages of news­ papers across the country several days running. The author’s technique of splicing historical documents—letters, newspaper stories, dinner invitations—into the nanative effectively and economically keeps a complex story moving. Though there are serious aspects to it, Alamo Heights is essentially a frothy concoction. It is a quick and easy read, and its greatest appeal, no doubt, is to people interested in the minutiae of Texas history. South Wind Come. By Tina Juárez. Houston, Tex.: Arte Publico Press, 1998. 286 pages, $14-95. Reviewed by Cindy Wallace Le Tourneau University, Dallas A sequel to Call No Man Master, Tina Juárez’s South Wind Come spans roughly thirty years between Texas independence from Mexico and the col­ lapse of Maximilian’s efforts to overthrow Benito Juárez. Framed as the remem­ bered experiences of its narrator and heroine, the spirited and courageous Hispanic girl Teresa Sestos y Abrantes, the novel derives both its strengths and weaknesses from its determination to forefront the historical events and char­ acters of the period, often at the expense of the personal narrative itself. Teresa and her family are witnesses to history, and much of the novel’s appeal comes from anecdotes featuring the era’s colorful heroes and villains: Houston, Taylor, Grant, Polk, Lamar, Santa Anna, Juárez, and Maximilian, who continually make appearances in her story. Yet, from the first chapter, I was somewhat put off by Juárez’s Micheneresque style of inserting historical background into virtually every scene. Often whole paragraphs depart from the WAL 3 6 .1 SPRING 2 0 0 1 story line to fill the reader in, and other times simple asides like “the Texians, which is what the people who had come from the United States in recent years to live in Texas were called,” break the rhythm of the narrative and make the reading tedious (13). But the most troublesome feature of the novel for me is the voice of the narrator; she is at once a child and a historian. Her knowledge, reasoning, and motivations are incongruent with her age and position. For example, as she describes her reaction to President Houston’s successor, M. B. Lamar, moving the capital of Texas to Austin, her sophistication far exceeds her ten years: It did not bother me in the least that President Lamar and his government packed their bags and headed for Austin. I was especially delighted that Chandler Watts and his men elected to follow their leader, though Judge Foley and his wife stayed in Houston Town. We would no longer have the excitement of fisticuffs and gunfights in the Hall of Congress, which was quickly converted into yet another saloon and gentleman’s parlor; but I did not mind. It would mean, or so I hoped, I would...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1948-7142
Print ISSN
0043-3462
Pages
pp. 95-96
Launched on MUSE
2017-10-04
Open Access
No
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