As a lifelong student of Texas history, I rarely read books of fiction written about Texas. However, I was given the opportunity to read "Spirit of Gonzales" by Betsy Wagner.
First, let me say I love this book.
I had a tough start and I was not sure if I could read this book are not, but after a few pages I was compelled by the characters to continue. As I read about the human experiences of immigrating to Texas, I realized historians rarely capture the human challenges and hardships involved in such a venture. Then as the semi fictional characters lives began to intersect with the Texas history, I was familiar with, I began to understand the human cost of being a colonist in Texas leading up to and during the Texas revolution.
Then to my surprise I learned several new things I had never considered when reading about the more well know aspects of the revolution. I won't share them all now, but let me share one:
After 32 men from Gonzales went to aid the defenders of the Alamo, Gonzales was left with a handful of older men, women and children. About the time of the fall of the Alamo, Sam Houston and his relatively small army was at Gonzales. On hearing the news, he loaded up his army and headed east, leaving a few men behind to help the remaining residents of Gonzales to pack up and leave after they burned every building and anything of value. What did I learn? Many women had to burn down their own homes. That struck me as the true human cost that was paid at Gonzales.
Betsy Wagner's description of the Runaway Scrape was the best description I have ever read that truly describes the human toll that was paid. I recommend this book to any serious student of Texas history.