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.
Based on the author’s grandmother’s life as a turn of the century photographer in Winona, Minnesota. This coming of age series of two books captures the interplay between temptation and faith that marks a woman’s pursuit of her dreams. Actual historical photos from the collection of Jessie Ann Gaebele are included.
- Finalist, 2011, WILLA Literary Award, Original Softcover Fiction, Women Writing the West
Other books in this series: A Flickering of Light
“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
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