4.0 2
by Nina Vida

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“A completely engaging tale following a handful of remarkable settlers.”—Entertainment Weekly

“Lively. . . . Vivid characters. . . . Enthralling reading.”—The Miami Herald

“Compelling. . . . That Vida brings so much fresh energy to the timeworn Western genre—complex characters, engaging


“A completely engaging tale following a handful of remarkable settlers.”—Entertainment Weekly

“Lively. . . . Vivid characters. . . . Enthralling reading.”—The Miami Herald

“Compelling. . . . That Vida brings so much fresh energy to the timeworn Western genre—complex characters, engaging stories, cutting-edge historical revisionism—is no small feat.”—Austin American-Statesman

“An imaginative and thoroughly researched tale driven by intriguing characters.”—Denver Post

“Should be placed on the same shelf with Lonesome Dove, Texas, and Pale Horse, Pale Rider.”—The Monitor (Texas)

When cholera strikes San Antonio in 1843, Aurelia Ruiz discovers that she might have the power to heal—and also to curse. Meanwhile, Joseph Kimmel, a schoolteacher in Missouri and the son of a Polish Jew, learns of his brother’s death in San Antonio and sets off for Texas. On his way, a runaway slave steals his horse. After being rescued by Henry Castro, a man who is importing immigrants to populate his planned city, Castroville, Joseph agrees to marry a young Alsatian girl to save her from a Comanche chief who has demanded her. Then Joseph encounters Aurelia and becomes enamored with her.

Comanches, Tonkaways, Mexican vaqueros, immigrant farmers, and runaway slaves all play a part in Joseph’s rebirth as a rancher, but when a renegade band of Texas Rangers descends upon the ranch, everything changes.

Nina Vida is the author of six previous novels: Scam, Return from Darkness, Maximillian’s Garden, Goodbye Saigon, Between Sisters, and The End of Marriage. She lives with her husband in Huntington Beach, California.

From the Trade Paperback edition.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Vida's luminous, dramatic seventh novel finds Joseph Kimmel, a Missouri school teacher, heading to mid-19th-century Texas to claim his recently deceased brother's belongings; he's left for dead when his horse is stolen. Across the plains, after her Texas Ranger husband dies fighting Comanches, Aurelia Ruiz takes refuge at a Comanche camp and adopts their ways. Henry Castro, a Frenchman with dreams of creating an Alsatian-immigrant-populated town in his own name, not only rescues Kimmel but marries him off to Katrin, an unattached white migr whom a Comanche leader had espied and wanted for his own. The newlyweds head off to create a distinctive ranch, one that welcomes members of the Tonkaway tribe, Mexicans, escaped slaves, free African-Americans and others in distress. Affairs of the heart are never neglected in Vida's novels (Goodbye, Saigon, etc.), and Kimmel soon finds himself enraptured when he meets the beautiful Aurelia, just as a posse of xenophobic ranchers wreak havoc on the ranch. This radiant work of historical fiction-vibrantly atmospheric and emotionally dense-spans 12 years in the lives of many engaging characters, who come to life on every page. (Oct.) Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
Library Journal
Most of what has happened to Joseph Kimmel since he came to Texas in 1845 has been unpredictable. A runaway slave named Luck stole his horse, leaving him near death when Henry Castro of Castroville rescues him. Although he considers himself a loner, Joseph goes on to marry a young Alsatian woman. (Otherwise, she will be claimed by Ten Elk, a Comanche chief.) Years later, Joseph saves Luck from punishment at the hands of the Texas Rangers. Though Joseph's marriage lasts, and he becomes a successful rancher, he is haunted by a woman named Aurelia Ru z, a healer who calls down storms with her screams and is able to dispel the racism she frequently encounters. Aurelia and all the other diverse characters of Vida's (The End of Marriage) compelling novel re-create a hair-trigger time in the great state of Texas. A Larry McMurtry readalike; recommended. [For another novel about the early Texas settlers, see Alan Wier's Tehano.-Ed.]-Keddy Ann Outlaw, Harris Cty. P.L., Houston Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
School Library Journal
Adult/High School-Texas in the mid-19th century is the background for this novel. Aurelia Ruiz, daughter of a Mexican man and his Anglo wife, earns money for her family by "curing" people during a cholera epidemic. Once the outbreak is over (and the money is gambled away), her father sells her to a Texas Ranger. Mistreated by him, Aurelia wishes he would disappear, and soon enough he is killed fighting the Comanches. She then takes refuge in a Comanche camp. Meanwhile, Joseph Kimmel, a Polish Jew and former mountain man, fur trapper, and schoolteacher, sets out for San Antonio. He stops to help a runaway slave, who takes his supplies and money. Fortunately, Kimmel encounters Henry Castro, who is leading a wagon train with Alsatian immigrants to form a new settlement. Castro recruits him as treasurer. Kimmel ultimately becomes an independent rancher and obsessed with Aurelia, who has fled the camp. The exciting plot is rich and complex, and the author successfully enables readers to see events from the viewpoint of the many well-drawn characters.-Sandy Freund, Richard Byrd Library, Fairfax County, VA Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
In a story as vast and action-packed as Texas itself, Vida (The End of Marriage, 2002, etc.) follows four strangers who join forces during the lawless years of early statehood. During the early 1850s, despite rumors of Comanche attacks, settlers are pouring into the new state of Texas. Some, like Aurelia Ru'z, a Mexican widow who possesses healing powers, and Luck, a slave on the run from Tennessee, have no resources save their courage and wits. Others, such as 19-year-old Katrin, have put their faith in an Alsatian Jew named Henry Castro, who promises to build them a new city. Only Joseph, a Polish Jew from St. Louis, wants nothing from Texas except to settle his dead brother's estate in San Antonio and move on. But when he stops to help the injured Luck, who in turn steals his horse, Joseph is stranded. To the rescue rides the caravan of Europeans led by Castro, en route to the land on which he intends to found Castroville. Resting with them before continuing his journey, Joseph learns that Comanche chief Ten Elk intends to kidnap Katrin. At Castro's urging, Joseph consents to wed the young woman and take her away. Their wedding day is disrupted by the renegade Texas Rangers, who are losing their authority as government begins to be established in the state. With them is Luck, found sleeping near the Rangers, who intend to hang him. Joseph intervenes, thanking the troop's suspicious captain for reuniting him with the slave he lost on the plains. Joseph, Katrin and Luck set off to homestead on their own, somewhere far from their enemies. The three become four when Joseph meets the beguiling Aurelia, who works in a shantytown kitchen making tortillas for soldiers. Rich with period detail,an elegant, character-driven novel about the clash of cultures that forged the Lone Star spirit. Should be required reading in the contemporary immigration debate.

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Soho Press, Incorporated
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Meet the Author

Nina Vida is the author of six previous novels: Scam (Macmillan, 1984), Return from Darkness (Warner, 1986), Maximillian's Garden (Bantam, 1990), Goodbye Saigon (Crown, 1994), Between Sisters (Crown, 1996), and The End of Marriage (S&S, 2002). She lives with her husband in Huntington Beach, California.

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Texicans 4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 2 reviews.
Meisha More than 1 year ago
The characters make this book a great read for a rainy or snowy day.
grumpydan More than 1 year ago
Nina Vida's "The Texicans" takes place around the time when Texas become the 28th state. I enjoy historical novels and Ms. Vida has created a blended cast of characters from different walks of life, all trying to make a way for themselves in the Lone Star state. The characters are well crafted and their stories captivating. You can the sense the anxiety of what is was like to live in such a vast frontier. I found this an interesting book.