A Whisper of Peace

Written by Kim Vogel Sawyer
Review by Viviane Crystal

Secrets are the unspoken divider in this fast-paced novel of the complex, painful, but loving interaction between the Athabascan Indians and white traders/missionaries in 1890s Alaska. Lizzie Dawson lives alone, banished from her mother’s tribe. Her mother had married a white man and on her dying bed begged Lizzie to make peace with her grandmother. Lizzie is making a moose hide coat for her grandmother as a reconciliation gift which she remains unsure will be accepted. Planning and doing are fillers for the lack of courage for fear of rejection anew. Along comes Clay Selby, a white missionary, and his sister Vivian. He is minimally accepted by the Indians, and this beginning becomes jeopardized when it’s discovered that he and his sister have been visiting Lizzie. Clay is so strongly attracted to Lizzie, and Vivian has gradually become close to her, although their different ways clash wildly at times. Thus the story proceeds to the moment when the secrets are revealed, and decisions about reconciliation, forgiveness, hope, love, and revelation culminate in an ending that is fraught with conflict but no less satisfying. A Whisper of Peace is a lovely novel.