An Absence So Great, Portraits of the Heart Series #2
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Random House / 2010 / Paperback
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An Absence So Great, Portraits of the Heart Series #2

Random House / 2010 / Paperback

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Stock No: WW569816


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Product Description

Fifteen-year-old Jessie Ann Gaebele applies for a job with a photographer in 1907. Captivated by the art and an adept student, she soon begins running the studios of artists suffering from mercury poisoning. But is she preparing herself to own her own studio---or fleeing from her relationship with her older married tutor?

Product Information

Format: Paperback
Number of Pages: 400
Vendor: Random House
Publication Date: 2010
Dimensions: 8.00 X 5.19 (inches)
ISBN: 1578569818
ISBN-13: 9781578569816
Series: Portraits of the Heart

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Publisher's Description

Did photography replace an absence in her life or expose the truth of her heart’s emptiness?
 
While growing in confidence as a photographer, eighteen-year-old Jessie Ann Gaebele’s personal life is 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 owners who have fallen ill with mercury poisoning. 
 
Jessie gains footing in her dream to one day operate her own studio and soon finds herself in other Midwest towns, pursuing her profession. But even a job she loves can’t keep painful memories from seeping into her heart when the shadows of a forbidden love threaten to darken the portrait of her life.

Author Bio

Jane Kirkpatrick is an award-winning, best-selling author of sixteen historical novels, and three nonfiction titles,
including A Flickering Light, the first part of Jessie Gaebele’s story and one of Library Journal's Best of 2009. 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 twenty-five years.

Discussion Questions

By appointment, the author is available for phone interviews with book groups. Visit www.jkbooks.com to arrange a thirty-minute conversation with Jane.

Endorsements

“Life is really made of: the settings, props, and poses we encounter, then put aside so we can cherish family and faith,” writes Jane Kirkpatrick in An Absence So Great. Jane embraces the finest qualities of the human spirit in all her writing, including this absorbing story of an early 20th century photographer, based on the life of her own grandmother. In An Absence So Great, Jane’s readers—and I am one of her most faithful of them—will be swept up in Jessie Gaebele’s struggle for independence against a backdrop of prejudice and forbidden love, beautifully written by one of America’s favorite storytellers. — Sandra Dallas, author of Prayers for Sale

“Jane Kirkpatrick has written a gentle and captivating account of people caught between reality and desire, taken from her own ancestry. Her depiction of photography during the early 1900s is fascinating. It filled my senses like delicious aromas permeate a home during the holidays.” — Cindy Woodsmall, best-selling author of The Hope of Refuge and the Sisters of the Quilt series

“Jane Kirkpatrick's attention to detail and ability to craft living, breathing characters immerses the reader into her story world. I come away entranced, enlightened, and enriched after losing myself in one of her novels.” — Kim Vogel Sawyer , bestselling author of My Heart Remembers

“Jane has an amazing ability to educate and entertain the reader within a single story. Using photographs throughout the book created a unique lens through which the reader gained an awareness of both the characters and the time period. I thoroughly enjoyed following Jessie's travails as she strove to independently make her own way in a man's world while holding on to her own ideals and beliefs. Kirkpatrick weaves a remarkable love story within the history of the time to tell her grandmother's tale. I found myself cheering for Jessie as she faced each new obstacle with an inner strength and sense of self confidence.” — Cynthia Claridge, co-owner of Paulina Springs Books in Redmond and Sisters, Oregon

“Stay perfectly still. Wait for it. There…the flash of words drawing you into Jessie’s life. Drawing you in not only with her but sometimes as her. Jane always writes on the “cellular level.” Her grandmother’s story is “word DNA” at its best!” — JL Schumacher, poet “The Loving Voice” Praise Him: An Anthology of Inspirational Poems

“Both A Flickering Light and An Absence So Great are wonderfully done! It is very fun to read a novel in which I recognize names and places- I work one block from where the Bauer studio once was. Historical fiction has the ability, if done right, to give us a glimpse into another time. Jane makes history come to life, giving it a soul through her storytelling.” — Jennifer Weaver and Audrey Gorny, Winona County Historical Society

ChristianBookPreviews.com

When I first started reading An Absence So Great by Jane Kirkpatrick, I almost fell out of my chair. From motorcycles to corsets and from an affair to an assault, the book starts out with way too much drama and nowhere near enough background information. The plot is chaotic, baffling, and disorganized. Throughout the book I was confused as to what audience Jane Kirkpatrick was trying to connect to. Using words that were not era-appropriate, and that offended either the young generation or the old, caused her writing to be almost painful to read. Kirkpatrick’s freewheeling use of grammar is not creative, only distracting. Radical writing can be refreshing at times, but when it goes overboard, it becomes a parody of itself and comes off as silly. That is the situation in this book.

The plot’s main character, Jessie, is not endearing at all; in fact, I was perplexed at the inconsistency of her feminist calling. One moment her ladylike qualities are obvious, but the next minute she is rebellious and confrontational. I could never quite understand her agenda, goals, and ambitions.

In trying to be linguistically clever, Kirkpatrick tires to revamp overused clichés, but ends up confusing her readers. An example of this is the phrase “all of my children clucked around me.” I really didn’t know what that meant, even when reading it in context, which was annoying.

There is no strong Christian message in this book, and the characters are iconoclastic, illogical, and outright bizarre at times. I finished the entire book, but was not rewarded by an improvement of style or content as the story progressed. Sorry, I cannot recommend this book. – Claire Hadley, www.ChristianBookPreviews.com

Editorial Reviews

Praise for An Absence So Great          

"Life is really made of:  the settings, props, and poses we encounter, then put aside so we can cherish family and faith," writes Jane Kirkpatrick in An Absence So Great.  Jane embraces the finest qualities of the human spirit in all her writing, including this absorbing story of an early 20th century photographer, based on the life of her own grandmother. In An Absence So Great, Jane’s readers—and I am one of her most faithful of them—will be swept up in Jessie Gaebele’s struggle for independence against a backdrop of prejudice and forbidden love, beautifully written by one of America’s favorite storytellers.
—    Sandra Dallas, author of Prayers for Sale

"Jane Kirkpatrick has written a gentle and captivating account of people caught between reality and desire, taken from her own ancestry. Her depiction of photography during the early 1900s is fascinating. It filled my senses like delicious aromas permeate a home during the holidays." 
—    Cindy Woodsmall, best-selling author of The Hope of Refuge and the Sisters of the Quilt series

"Jane Kirkpatrick's attention to detail and ability to craft living, breathing characters immerses the reader into her story world. I come away entranced, enlightened, and enriched after losing myself in one of her novels."
—    Kim Vogel Sawyer , bestselling author of My Heart Remembers

"Jane has an amazing ability to educate and entertain the reader within a single story.  Using photographs throughout the book created a unique lens through which the reader gained an awareness of both the characters and the time period. I thoroughly enjoyed following Jessie's travails as she strove to independently make her own way in a man's world while holding on to her own ideals and beliefs.  Kirkpatrick weaves a remarkable love story within the history of the time to tell her grandmother's tale.  I found myself cheering for Jessie as she faced each new obstacle with an inner strength and sense of self confidence."
—    Cynthia Claridge, co-owner of Paulina Springs Books in Redmond and Sisters, Oregon

"Stay perfectly still. Wait for it. There…the flash of words drawing you into Jessie’s life. Drawing you in not only with her but sometimes as her. Jane always writes on the "cellular level." Her grandmother’s story is "word DNA" at its best!"
— JL Schumacher, poet "The Loving Voice" Praise Him: An Anthology of Inspirational Poems

"Both A Flickering Light and An Absence So Great are wonderfully done! It is very fun to read a novel in which I recognize names and places- I work one block from where the Bauer studio once was. Historical fiction has the ability, if done right, to give us a glimpse into another time. Jane makes history come to life, giving it a soul through her storytelling."
—    Jennifer  Weaver and Audrey Gorny, Winona County Historical Society
 
 

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