In this much anticipated novel penned by Jane Kirkpatrick, “An Absence So Great” continues where the novel, “A Flickering Light” leaves off. These stories are fictional accounts based on the life of the author’s actual grandmother, Jessie Gaebele.
Set in Wisconsin during the early 1900’s, eighteen year old photographer, Jessie struggles to make peace with her forbidden feelings for a married man, while working hard to open her own photography studio. Jessie’s life choices are a source of contention between her and her family, which causes a general feeling of uneasiness to overshadow the entire story.
At times it felt as though Jessie could never get a break, which left me feeling frustrated. I was also surprised at how often she found herself making one mistake after another, while not seeming to learn from any of them. However, I did find Jessie’s determination admirable, if more than slightly faulty in its execution.
Sprinkled throughout the story are actual portraits taken by Jessie, in which she describes the circumstances and the people within each photograph. These short stories were the best part, in my opinion. As the saying goes, “A picture is worth a thousand words” and I’ve often wondered which words were going through a subject’s mind when their photos were taken.
Overall, I found the novel to be a very slow, dry read. The plot picks up toward the middle of the story, but it took awhile for me to actually get there because I’d have to take frequent breaks from the story. It was really drawn out, heavy on the details, and a far cry from the usual “brain candy” escape I tend to enjoy.
You can learn more about this story from Random House Publishers by clicking here.
Now, if historical fiction is your thing, or if you happen to be a huge Jane Kirkpatrick fan, listen up!!! I’ll be giving away ONE free copy of this novel later in the week. Please leave a comment below for your chance to win. One winner will be chosen at random on April 10th. Please be sure to include your email address so I can contact you if you’re selected. Good luck!
*This book was provided for review by the WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group. No additional compensation was provided.*