In The Fire in Ember, by DiAnn Mills, Deputy John Timmons saves a young boy named Bert from hanging as a horse thief. However, John soon discovers that Bert is actually a young woman. His life is thrown into turmoil by a succession of cattle thefts, in which Bert is implicated as a main suspect. John’s emotions begin to cause him trouble, as well, when he finds himself falling for Bert.
As the writer of several other western romances, DiAnn Mills knows her topic well. Her characters are initially engaging and Bert’s search for God is interesting. However, the plot is fairly predictable, and conflicts often have very convenient resolutions. The characters deal with intense conflicts, but they and their emotions are never fully developed, so they remain the typical heroes and heroines of western romances.
Bert’s struggle with fear through most of the book demonstrates the lesson taught by John 8:32: “Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” The Fire in Ember upholds Christian values, and its characters learn lessons consistent with the Bible. Despite its predictable plot, lovers of historical western romances will enjoy this book. – Ruth Anne Burrell, www.ChristianBookPreviews.com
John Timmons’ life is planned and orderly. He cares for his mother and four younger brothers, and their future depends on him to keep their Colorado ranch profitable. Ember Farrar (Bert) has run away from her lawbreaking family in search of a new life. But, when she attempts to return a horse that her brother had stolen, ranch hands believe she is a thief and a boy and they plan to hang her. John, who is also a deputy marshal, breaks up the hanging. After paying for the stolen horse, he takes the boy home to work off the debt. Later he learns Bert is a girl who refuses to tell him who she is and why she possessed a stolen horse. When ranchers report stolen cattle, Bert is a natural suspect. John is touched by Bert’s sweet spirit and natural gift of music. Surely she’s not a cattle thief. Bert fears for their lives when she is forced to either help her brothers steal or put the Timmons in danger. When John thinks Bert has betrayed him, he ignores God and turns revengeful. Will John learn who Bert truly is? Will their lives ever return back to normal?