Monday, January 28, 2008

Awaken My Heart by DiAnn Mills

This week, the

Christian Fiction Blog Alliance

is introducing

Awaken My Heart

Avon Inspire (February 5, 2008)


DiAnn Mills


Award-winning author, DiAnn Mills, launched her career in 1998 with the publication of her first book. She is the author of numerous titles including novels, novellas, and a nonfiction. In addition, she's written several short stories, articles, devotions, and has contributed to several nonfiction compilations.

DiAnn believes her readers should "Expect an Adventure." Her desire is to show characters solving real problems of today from a Christian perspective through a compelling story.

Several of her anthologies have appeared on the CBA Best Seller List. Three of her books have won the distinction of Best Historical of the Year by Heartsong Presents, and she remains a favorite author by Heartsong Present's readers. Two of her books have won short historical of the year by American Christian Fiction Writers both in 2003 and 2004. She was named Writer of the Year for 2004 at the 35th Annual Mount Hermon Christian Writer's Conference and is the recipient of Inspirational Reader's Choice Awards for 2005 in the long contemporary and novella categories.

DiAnn is a founding board member for American Christian Fiction Writers, a member of Inspirational Writers Alive, ChiLibris, Advanced Writers and Speakers Association and a mentor for the Jerry B. Jenkins Christian Writers Guild. She speaks to various groups and teaches writing workshops. DiAnn also belongs to Cy Fair Women's Networking, an exclusive professional women's networking organization.

She lives in sunny Houston, Texas, the home of heat, humidity, and Harleys. In fact she'd own one, but her legs are too short. DiAnn and her husband have four adult sons and are active members of Metropolitan Baptist Church.


1803, the colony of Texas

Awaken My Heart is set in 19th century Texas and tells the story of 18 year old Marianne Phillips, the daughter of a wealthy rancher, Weston Phillips. Weston is involved in a hostile struggle with Armando Garcia, the infamous rebel leader of the 'mestizos' who claim to own the land that Phillips has settled.

Marianne Phillips, the daughter of a wealthy rancher, has never agreed with her father's harsh treatment of the poor mestizos who first inhabited the colony of Texas. When rebels kidnap Marianne, in hopes her father will trade back their land for her freedom, she realizes her loyalty lies with her abductors, not her father, who plans to marry her off to the don of a nearby estate.

Armando Garcia is the locals' reluctant leader, but his people revere and depend on him. Knowing that without his leadership they'd be forced from their land, Armando accepts his role, but does not approve of the latest attempt to manipulate their enemy. When he learns that Marianne actually speaks his language, of her loyalty to his people, and of the faith that keeps her strong, Armando is faced with a difficult decision. Will his newfound love keep him from letting her go? Or will he set her free and risk losing their land forever?

My Review:
Since joining the world of blogging, I have added a considerable number of new authors to my list of reading experience, and DiAnn Mills is one of those authors. I have always enjoyed historical fiction sprinkled in among my other reading, and this book brought me back to Texas and its Mexican flavored culture with no problems.

Now, I’m going to be honest. This isn’t the kind of book that just grabs you and keeps you from getting more important things done. This was kind of like watching a Christian version of Bonanza. When I first made that mental comparison, I dismissed it. However, the longer I read, the more I thought about Bonanza. I may be telling my age a bit here, but for those of you who don’t know, Bonanza was a ranch/western type television show that ran from 1959 – 1973. Admittedly, I got in on the tail-end of this t.v. series in real life, but my children now have some of the shows on DVD, and we watch them from time to time.

So, if you can imagine a good old-fashioned western set in Texas with strong Mexican overtones, romance and a Christian message woven in, you come up with Awaken My Heart. DiAnn Mills herself kind of likens this story to her own childhood fascination with Zorro. There are wealthy land-owners/ranchers, poor, struggling farmers/villagers, and a hero that sort of steps out of time and sweeps away the heart and mind of the beautiful main character. This book does give a kind of larger-than-life meaning to love at first sight, but the story itself is good. Just think Bonanza and you’ll like it fine. You can check out all of DiAnn's work here.


Tami said...

Kim, I enjoyed your review and felt the same way, though I didn't word it nearly as well as you did!
Tami from Tree Swing Reading

Scrambled Dregs said...


Not a comment about your post, but a comment about yours on mine.

If you don't have the spiritual gift of encouragement, then I'm a flying monkey.

; ) I suppose you could be faking it, but I look good in brown so that's okay if you are.

Thanks for you comments. They are always so encouraging and makes me feel a little like Sally Field -- you like me.