Reception at 6:30 p.m.; Lecture at 7 p.m.; Author Myra Hargrave McIlvain will speak about her historical fiction novel, Stein House. Free admission
The Stein House, which provides a mixture of fact and fiction set in a real Texas town, is the story of German immigrants thrust into the bustling nineteenth century Texas seaport of Indianola, which in 1853 was a lively port town 40 miles from Victoria. German and other European settlers came in droves, and the town grew into a bustling seaport. Unfortunately, two hurricanes almost exactly 10 years apart and a fire wiped the once-prosperous town off the map. McIlvain’s novel follows the life of Helga Heinrich and her four children as they arrive from Germany and make a new life for themselves in this Texas town. Helga, recently widowed, seeks the help of her sister’s husband to find work so she can provide for her family. Through her family’s point of view, readers learn about the diverse people who came through the boarding house Helga runs, in what would become the primary entry port for immigrants. The story highlights 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.
McIlvain has been sharing her Texas tales for many years as a lecturer at The University of Texas and as a freelance writer for various newspapers and magazines such as “Texas Highways.” Her books have won several awards. In particular, Stein House received a Kirkus Star Review and was named Kirkus Best of 2014.
The Nancy Farina Lecture Series honors Farina, who was a 20-year employee of Dallas Heritage Village. She served as vice president for development and capital giving for much of her tenure, which ended with her death in 2012.