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.
About the Author
Award-winning author, Jane Kirkpatrick is well known for her authentically portrayed historical fiction. She is also an acclaimed speaker and teacher with lively presentation style. She and her husband live in Oregon and, until recently, lived and worked on a remote homestead for over 25 years.
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