A German Family Saga
By Myra Hargrave McIlvain
“A wonderful slice of history that animates mid-19th century Texas.” —Kirkus Reviews
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After three long months at sea, Helga Heinrich and her four children sail into the thriving Indianola seaport on the Texas coast in 1853 to begin their new life. They are determined to overcome the memory and haunting legacy of Max, her husband and their papa, who drowned in a drunken leap from the dock as their ship pulled away from the German port.
Helga is anxious to be reunited with her sister Amelia, and she’s grateful her wealthy brother-in-law, Dr. Joseph Stein, fulfills his part of the bargain that brought the family to the new world, even without Max to run Stein Mercantile. Helga takes charge of Stein’s massive boarding house overlooking the road to Texas’ interior and the fickle waves of Matagorda Bay.
A woman of strong passions, Helga operates Stein House for boarders of all stripes whose involvement in the rigors of a town on the edge of frontier influences and molds all their lives—the cruelties of yellow fever and slavery, the wrenching choices of Civil War and Reconstruction, murder, alcoholism, and the devastation wrought by the hurricane of 1886.
Myra Hargrave McIlvain is an award-winning author whose books, both fiction and nonfiction, tell the story of Texas. She believes we capture the essence of our history through the lives of the people who populated the land. McIlvain has written Texas historical markers and travel articles for newspapers and magazines such as Texas Highways. She lives in Austin with her husband Stroud. She is also the author of Texas Tales from Sunstone Press as well as The Doctor’s Wife and a series of Texas Auto Trails.
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