Friday, April 30, 2010

An Absence So Great by Jane Kirkpatrick

rating: ***

publisher: WaterBrook

An Absence So Great by Jane Kirkpatrick continues where the excellent A Flickering Light left off. Small-town girl Jessie has honed her photography skills thanks to preparatory apprentice work at the Bauer Studio. In possession of her own camera and fleeing the budding mutual attraction she shares with the very married FJ Bauer, Jessie strives to carve her own path in a society where women’s professional roles are limited.

I really enjoyed the unique premise of the story--- especially in the canon of Christian Historical fiction. Rarely is the romance pursued a forbidden one bordering on an extramarital affair--- a heartbreakingly valid one, here, at that. The story also resonates truth: with striking verisimilitude ( we can thank the source, Kirkpatrick’s feisty great grandmother, for this page turner).

As featured in the first book, photographs and Jessie’s comments on their light and technique and also their back-story help transplant the reader into Jessie’s world.

While Jessie is a flawed character ( refreshingly and believably so), I rooted for her as she endured the prejudices of the era: including one section of the novel when Jessie has trouble securing a bank loan for her own studio because of her sex and the rather harsh treatment given her by FJ’s wife as well as her sternly religious mother.

A real story well-drawn and expertly told, I was pleased to read another erudite addition of Kirkpatrick’s ever-growing bibliography of excellent fiction.

Congratulations to Jane Kirkpatrick for her Christy nomination for the first book in the series. Read my review of A Flickering Light here

Thanks to WaterBrook for the review copy!

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