Wednesday, September 07, 2011

Book Review: "A Whisper of Peace" by Kim Vogel Sawyer

Summary from Ostracized by her tribe because of her white father, Lizzie Dawson lives alone in the mountains of Alaska, practicing the ways of her people even as she resides in the small cabin her father built for her mother. She dreams of reconciling with her grandparents to fulfill her mother's dying request, but she has not yet found a way to bridge the gap that separate her from her tribe. Clay Selby has always wanted to be like his father, a missionary who holds a great love for the native people and has brought many to God. Clay and his stepsister, Vivian, arrive in Alaska to set up a church and school among the Athbascan people. Clay is totally focused on this goal...until he meets a young, independent Indian woman with the most striking blue eyes he's ever seen. But Lizzie is clearly not part of the tribe, and befriending her might have dire consequences for his mission. Will Clay be forced to choose between his desire to minister to the natives and the quiet nudging of his heart?

I love books set in Alaska because the setting is both foreign and familiar all at the same time. I actually would have loved if the story was focused more on Lizzie and Vivian. Even though the two are from different worlds, I enjoyed reading about their similarities as well as their reactions to each other. Both are coming from pasts where they've been sheltered in different ways and now must go out in the world on their own. Even though I didn't necessary agree with everything the two said or believed in, I felt that both of their "fish out of the water" stories made for good reading.

I felt nothing for Clay and personally felt like he was a hindrance to the story. He didn't add anything for me, seemed to get in the way a lot, and frankly judged people quite often. It really didn't like how he just pretty much fell in love with Lizzie from just looking at her alone and from what I read, didn't really get to know her that well. Plus he has the whole pompous missionary attitude that I didn't like as he tries to convert everyone.

I was a bit put off by the whole "Teach me to be white" dialogue. I know what Sawyer is trying to say about Lizzie but it just comes across as being very politically incorrect. I'm disappointed that the portrayal of Lizzie on the cover makes her look very white with no trace of all of her Athbascan heritage. I also get bothered at how much emphasis is place on her eye color. I swear, it's only in romance books where people who are half Native American have bright blue/green/purple eyes. What happened to genetics playing a big role and your eyes turn out brown?

Even though I had issues with how racial views were presented, I still enjoyed reading the story for the most part. As I said, I liked reading about Vivian and Lizzie's relationship with each other as well as their own personal stories. This book does seem very Christian-y so the target audience seems to be readers who are already Christians and know the ropes.

A Whisper of Peace by Kim Vogel Sawyer is published by Bethany House (2011)

This review copy was provided for a blog tour with the Christian Fiction Blog Alliance

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