Monday, October 17, 2011

A Whisper of Peace: A Review

A Whisper of Peace is a novel which takes place predominately in the 19th century Alaskan wilderness.  Of all the new novels by Christian authors I have read this year, this one was the most well-crafted and well-written.
A Whisper of Peace is the story of three people who are searching for peace in their lives.  Clay, the son of a pastor ministering to Paiutes, has left his home in the Oklahoma Territory.  Armed with high expectations of following in his father’s footsteps, he tries, with little success, to start a successful church among the Athabascan natives of Alaska.  His half-sister, Vivian, joins him to get a fresh start from the secret which haunts her past.  The first Athabascan Clay and Vivian  meet is Lizzie.  Deserted by her Caucasian father and an outcast from her tribe, she seeks peace through reconciliation with her grandparents and finding her father in San Francisco. Clay and Vivian try to heal a generational rift between Lizzie, and her grandparents, an action which puts Clay and Vivian at odds with the very people they want to help and creates a dilemma between helping the one and helping the many. 
These three characters find their lives taking turns that they had not expected.  Vivian finds that her secret is not as she had believed.  She changes her life to reflect her new perspective.  Lizzie discovers her life objective changed; She changes, too.  Clay realizes that church is not what he thinks it is--a brief note from his father and he immediately feels better.  Predictably Clay and Lizzie fall in love.  You will have to read the book for yourself to find out what happens.
I enjoyed the author’s depictions of wilderness life:  canoeing, hunting, snaring, and fishing, and her description of tribal culture. (You can learn more about the Athabascan people here.) I also enjoyed the two child characters that were links between Lizzie and the missionaries and her Athabascan people.  I found most characters’ physical descriptions believable. 
I have only two complaints about the book.  First, I couldn’t generate any particular like or dislike for any of the characters.  Clay and Lizzie both have clear-cut goals and a strong determination to achieve their goals.  Vivian doesn’t know what she wants.  I wanted to find some point of identification with the characters, but their problems seemed so easily handled.  Indeed, some major problems arise, then without further comment, they disappear.  One example is a head injury which debilitates Clay until all at once it is no longer an issue.  The heavy internal issues that the characters wrestle with don’t seem to consume them as they would a real person.  At the end, the novel skips ahead two years and shows all the characters perfectly happy. 
My other complaint, and it may be related to the first one, is that the book seems old.  Not old in the sense of a timeless classic, but old in the sense that it tries to communicate to someone living in another time period, I’m just not sure where.  I recently reviewed a novel that contained a “chaste kiss;”  For a love story, this novel has no kiss at all and little passion.
Sure, Clay shows great passion for what he wants to do for God, but little passion for anyone or anything else.  Indeed, his passion for Lizzie, the woman he loves, comes only in fits and spurts and he shows very little care for his step-sister Vivian. I want an author to make me feel what the characters feel and these characters feel very little. 
That being said, this is the most well-written new Christian novel I have read this year.  There were no glaring spelling or grammar errors.  If you want to read a book purely for entertainment and to get a small glimpse of 19th century frontier life, pick this up.  But if you want to enter the world of people who lead deep lives that resonate into the 21st century, find another novel. 

I received this book free from the publisher. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255.



    My computer has been REALLY slow lately. Both the internet and the desktop are annoyingly slow. It's a PC and it's not new, but I'm not sure how old it is. We've had it for 3 years and before that, my aunt had for at least 4 years. I defragment it and do the disk cleanup regularly. And it has a lot of free memory left (it's like 75% of the computer's total memory is free). I have an up-to-date anti-virus program on it (BitDefender), and it runs scans on it, and has NEVER found a virus. All of the fire-walls are up and running. What could be wrong with my computer?? Please help!! *Thanks!*

  2. Your computer needs more memory or a new hard drive or both.