Awaken My Heart
Avon, Feb 2008, $9.95
1803 in the colony of Tejas (Texas), eighteen years old Marianne Phillips learns from her ailing mother that her martinet father Weston plans to marry her to cattle baron Lorenzo Sanchez de la Diaz. She loathes the idea of wedding someone older than her father, but her mom points out the other choice is the Phillips Hacienda foreman, mean spirited Clay Wharton. If she could select she would pick the handsome stranger she met while riding her protective noble horse Diablo.
Weston warns mestizos rebel leader Armando Garcia that he better move his impoverished people out of La Flor Valley as he plans to expand his holdings there regardless of what happens to these peasants. To save their livelihood, the mestizos abduct Marianne, who learns her dream lover is Armando, who objected to the kidnapping. As they fall in love, Armando arranges to free Marianne whose heart is in the right place as she supports the mestizos’ claim and not that of her father. However, caught in the middle, Marianne realizes the conflict is about to explode in blood as her father has brought dangerous allies from his home state of Virginia to sweep the peasants off the land.
AWAKEN MY HEART is a terrific early nineteenth century Texas Colonial romance starring two caring protagonists who in many ways seem like a North American Romeo and Juliet. The story line is fast-paced and loaded with action. The key cast are fully developed especially the stars and her avarice father. Although Clay is more a caricature of a villain, Diann Mills provides a delightful historical that brings to vivid life a time and place that rarely if ever has served as the background.