The Awakening Fire

Written by Kelley Pounds
Review by Eileen Charbonneau

When an exiled Apache Mixed Blood’s quest for revenge crashes into a novice nun’s journey towards her past, a good, galloping historical romance is off and running. Fortunately for Christian Ladino, Sister Adela Fremont is also a good healer, as he’s left for dead in a dramatic opening. Fortunately for Sister Adela, Christian is just who she needs to find her kidnapped baby brother, force her into the outside world, and past her own fears. Christian risks both disgrace and death as they return to his homeland together on their joint mission.

Their story is gritty and dramatic, winding its way through a complex plot of murder and betrayal (Adela even envisions herself “screaming at God for his sadistic meddling”). But the sensual, evocative love scenes and a touching mother and daughter reunion relieve the grimmer moments. The heroine’s self-righteous dialogue does not always ring true, and the plot’s forward motion sometimes sputters, but The Awakening Fire remains a cut above for its depth, vivid southwest setting and characterizations, and love story.