An Absence So Great by Jane Kirkpatrick
Inspired by the engaging stories told through her grandmother’s photographs taken at the turn of the century, award-winning author Jane Kirkpatrick provides a portrait of the tension between darkness and light in the soul of a young woman pursuing her professional dreams.
Despite growing in confidence as a photographer, eighteen-year-old Jessie Ann Gaebele’s personal life is still at a crossroads. Hoping she’s put an unfortunate romantic longing behind her as “water under the bridge,” she exiles herself to Milwaukee to operate photographic studios for those ill with mercury poisoning.
Jessie gains footing on her dream to one day own her own studio and soon finds herself in other Midwest towns, pursuing her profession. But even a job she loves can’t keep those painful memories from seeping into her heart, and the shadows of a forbidden love threaten to darken the portrait of her life.
This is the first fiction book I’ve been asked to review on the blog – very exciting for me! I love a good fiction book! I love to read in general, but there is just something about getting lost in another time and place when you read really good fiction.
And really good fiction to me is a book you don’t want to put down. Where the characters stick with you. You can picture being there.
I felt this within the first few pages of Kirkpatrick’s book.
The book is beautifully written, but I must say that my favorite thing about it is the historical setting. It’s not glamorous or exotic – in fact, it’s set right here in the Midwest – but just going to another time period draws me in. Gender issues and economic changes round out a thorough picture of the turn-of-the-century.
In addition, the book is based loosely on real people and photographs which makes it even more intriguing. Kirkpatrick weaves a wonderful story though her grandmother’s photographs, which are included in the book as well.
Even without the setting to fascinate me as it does, the story itself is captivating and worth a read!
For more information about or to order this book, visit the Random House website.
Jane Kirkpatrick is an award-winning author of sixteen historical novels, including A Flickering Light, the first part of Jessie Gaebale’s story, and three nonfiction titles. Known for her unique insights into the exploration of community, family and faith of actual historical women, the Wisconsin native and her husband have called their ranch in Oregon home for the past 25 years.