How to Watch Reyna Grande discuss ‘A Ballad of Love and Glory’


California author Reyna Grande join the L.A. Times Book Club on March 29 to discuss “A Ballad of Love and Glory.”

Watch Grande in a live conversation with Times editor Steve Padilla on Twitter, YouTube or Facebook.

You also can listen to the original ballad composed for “A Ballad of Love and Glory” and played during book club night. Grande also shared a poem,”The Angels of Buena Vista,” with readers.


During the discussion with Padilla, Grande talked about her writing habits, her favorite books and her journey as a novelist and nonfiction author.

“I became a writer because I wanted to see my experiences as an immigrant reflected in the stories I write,” she said.

Grande said she read more than 100 books about the Mexican-American War in preparation for writing “A Ballad of Love and Glory.” The book is a historical novel and love story that transports readers to 1846 as the U.S. Army marches south to the Rio Grande.

Book cover for "A Ballad of Love and Glory" by Reyna Grande.
(Atria Books)

As the war intensifies, so does the relationship between Grande’s main characters, a Mexican nurse who loses her family’s ranch and an Irish soldier named John Riley who deserts the U.S. Army to fight on the Mexican side.

Riley fought with the St. Patrick’s Battalion, a unit of mostly Irish immigrants. Grande says she discovered almost half of the U.S. Army was composed of foreign-born soldiers, mostly Irish, German and Italian.

Statue of John O Riley, Irish commander who joined the Mexican army in the Battle of Churubusco in 1847
A statue of the real-life John O’Riley, an Irish commander who joined the Mexican army in the Battle of Churubusco in 1847, in Mexico City.
(Gerardo Vieyra/NurPhoto via Getty Images)

“I really wanted it to be historically accurate,” Grande said in a recent interview with The Times. “I didn’t want to take too many liberties with the story and risk having the reader question its authenticity. So I tried to stay true to the timeline, the way the events unfolded.”

Grande’s previous books include “The Distance Between Us,” a bestselling 2012 memoir about her own childhood torn between Mexico and California.

“A Ballad of Love and Glory” is the book club’s March selection. In April, we’re reading “Call Us What We Carry,” a new collection by Los Angeles poet Amanda Gorman.


Gorman joins book club readers on April 23 at the Festival of Books, where she will be in conversation with Orange County poet laureate Natalie J. Graham. The free event will be at 11:30 a.m. on the L.A. Times Stage at USC. The full Festival of Books lineup is online here.

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