Christian Schulz takes a treachereous voyage from Germany to Texas in 1872 in order to avoid almost certain death in the German military. He meets with many trials and triumphs in this journey to find a new life, friends and love, in the early history of Texas.
Readers will appreciate the fresh perspective of German immigrants settling in Texas in the early 1870s, as Willis deftly describes life in the Lone Star State during the Reconstructionist years. Lena is particularly likable, as a woman who wants to be viewed as attractive and feminine, but is still perfectly comfortable doing hard work. The story is period accurate, taking readers along for the adventures, risks, and still-wild freedom of Texas in the mid-to-late nineteenth century. Already, the settlers speak with reverence for the story of the Alamo three decades earlier; persuasive regionalisms (“the Newnited States”) color their dialogue.
As their love deepens, Christian and Lena must consider whether they’re ready to get married and start a family and whether they’re willing to leave Richmond, where they’ve begun to put down roots. The character development at times is thin, offering limited insight into their feelings as they face the greatest changes and decisions they will in their lives. Texas Quest occasionally strays away from the main storyline to address the larger history. It will appeal to readers fascinated by Texas and the 19th century immigrant experience, which Willis dramatizes with passion and convincing detail.
Takeaway: Texas Quest is perfect for readers fascinated by the challenges immigrants faced coming to rural Texas in the late 19th century
Great for fans of: Paulette Jiles, Laura Ingalls Wilder, Téa Obreht’s Inland.
Design and typography: A
Marketing copy: B+