Is that the wind through the grass, a mighty river and hoofbeats on the packed southwestern soil I am hearing? Perhaps in my imagination. DiAnn Mills has created so much more than just a typical sappy romance story in Awaken My Heart. Yes I actually like sappy sometimes. But back to Awaken My Heart. This book delves headlong into the history of the American Southwest, Mexico and Spain. Primarily what is now the state of Texas when it was a colony and still under Spanish control. We see mostly the American Colonists’ and Mestizos’ (or Mexicans – a mix between Spanish settlers and the local natives or indians as some call them) points of view presented here as the main characters are from these groups. We also get a slight glimpse at the Spanish government’s view as well though it is not quite so visible in this plot as the other two groups are.
A young American girl whose parents have settled in Tejas as it is called at the time loves taking lonely rides about her father’s hacienda especially early in the day. Her father has incited a group of locals with his greed for land since his desire is to take their village and grazing land for his own. Marianne, his daughter, comes across the leader of this village while on one of her solitary rides. Neither of them is certain of the other’s identity at the time though they suspect. Regardless of who they are Marianne and Armando still know that there is a disparity in their positions that makes their attraction dangerous to both of them as well as to Armando’s people and their hopes of keeping their valley home.
Will they somehow manage to “beat” the odds and society’s opinions to forge a life and family together? What lengths will some of Armando’s people and even he himself go to to protect their humble abodes? Can both of them learn to not only trust the Savior they know of but also to hear and heed His voice before the crucial moments when that could become their only hope?
Read Awaken My Heart for the rest of Marianne and Armando’s stories as well as a vivid depiction of Southwestern society, culture, and history at this critical juncture of time. DiAnn Mills keeps the reader at the edge of their seat from the first page to the last. I didn’t want to put this book down even when I couldn’t focus on the page from reading so long. This story has a little of just about everything and much more adventure and action than you might expect in a romance novel. These elements however drew me in and kept me glued to the book till the last word and yet still wanting more. As I mentioned at the beginning of this post it still seems as if I am in the midst of that historic Texas cattle country Ms. Mills is talking about.
See a synopsis of this book and an author bio in the CFBA post.