A fictional love story set amidst the shocking reality of 9/11, this narrative parallels the plight of America as it searches for solutions to a senseless and ill-conceived war with a couple struggling to work through their own personal conflicts. Set against one of the greatest tragedies in U.S. history, Peace Amidst Conflict beautifully shows how understanding the other side is an essential step toward healing rifts between individuals as well as nations.
Peace Amidst Conflict opens with the tragic scene of two airplanes flying into the World Trade Center on September 11, 2001. Through two brothers, one the Attorney General of California and the other a staff member in the office of the U.S. Secretary of State in Washington, the narrative weaves together the un-preparedness of the intelligence agencies before the attack on the World Trade Center; the determination of the Bush administration to rearrange the map of the Middle East; the manipulation of the CIA who were ordered to find a reason to go into Iraq; the op-ed article released by Ambassador Joseph Wilson attacking President Bush for using the infamous Niger Report as a justification; the retaliation of the administration by leaking the identity of Wilson’s wife, Valerie Plame, as a CIA agent; and the inhumane treatment of the detainees in Abu Ghraib. The story ties together these separate but related issues in a compelling narrative that offers a general understanding of what happened behind the scenes in the lead up to the Iraqi war. Ultimately, through interviews with international experts, the brothers create a new diplomatic foreign policy for the next presidential administration that would open the way to more peaceful solutions to world relations.
Running parallel to this is the more intimate story of Kyle Anderson and his partner, Jenny Roberts, a couple deeply in love but struggling to find harmony amidst their differing views toward their relationship. Recently divorced after a twenty-year marriage, Kyle wants a traditional marriage with the woman he loves. It seems a simple enough aspiration except for the fact that he falls in love with Jenny, who after being widowed and divorced, is more interested in having a life partner than in getting married again.
Both the personal and global situations appear hopeless until changes begin to take place both in Washington politics and in the hero and heroine. Even though the events after 9/11 leave the couple separated by their individual journeys—both emotionally and physically—their undeniable bond remains strong. Jenny begins methodically to look inside of herself to discover her part in preventing their finding a compromise to their differences. Kyle steps down from his position in public office, leaves California, and goes to work in Washington as the president of the U.S. Institute of Peace. In his effort to work with his brother toward a new and better foreign policy, Kyle begins to discover the similarities between the necessary steps for international peace and for interpersonal peace. The key to both is understanding—delving deeply to gain awareness of what drove the other side to such extreme measures and accepting some responsibility for what caused the conflict in the first place. Years later, Kyle is able to own his part in the fallout with Jenny. But she has vanished and left him with nothing but memories. Now he will risk everything to find her.
This book is the spiritual journey of Jenny Roberts after the losses of her parents, her close friend, and most especially Kyle. For him, it is a political quest converging in a storyline of self-discovery, of love and loss, of understanding and healing. The story is a message of hope for the couple that they will find a harmonious way to resolve their conflict. It is a message of hope for America that a new and better presidential administration is forthcoming who will embrace a new kind of diplomacy in world affairs.
More than a year and a half ago, the author forecast Barack Obama to be the 2008 President-elect. Click here to read an excerpt from the book that explains the author’s choice to place her belief in this man so far out in front.
Chapter Two, "Early Bird, September 11, 2001"
Josh is trapped in Tower Two of the World Trade Center.
Chapter Seventeen, "Valentine's Day Slips By, February 14 - March 13, 2001"
Kyle tells Jenny he feels they are two people hopelessly in love but destined to walk different paths. He wants marriage and for her to forsake all others for him. Jenny is facing the loss of both her mother and her closest friend. She expresses her fear that, with his erratic behavior, he will not be there for her in her time of need.
Chapter Twenty-one, "Dinner With the Governor, September 17 - October 30, 2001"
Kyle and Jenny have dinner with the Governor and visiting dignitaries. Following the 9/11 terrorist attack on the World Trade Center, a dynamic Democrat vs. Republican conversation takes place in which the question is raised as to what drove the terrorists to this extreme. “What have we done to cause this degree of hatred?”
Chapter Twenty-two, "Overcoming Fear of Trust, November 1 - December 14, 2001"
Jenny talks to her close friend, Mike, about what holds her back from marrying Kyle. Is she afraid to put her trust in one man or is she afraid of Kyle’s instability? Mike tells her that a deep relationship requires unconditional trust and without it, there is only a façade of a relationship.
Chapter Thirty-six, "Pilgrim Soul, April - November 2007"
As a Red Cross volunteer in Iraq, Jenny sees first hand the abusive treatment that “enemy combatants” are receiving at Abu Ghraib. In visiting with one of them, he explains that continuance of the Iraqi war will not help the U.S. but rather supports the overriding goal of Osama bin Laden and the al Qaeda network, which is to end a century of what they see as Western domination of the Muslim world.