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Monday, March 29, 2010

An Absence So Great...Review

About the book:
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.

The second in the Portraits of the Heart series, this is a sequel to A Flickering Light, which I haven't read. The series is based on the story of Jessie Ann Gaebele, the author's grandmother. Jessie, now an eighteen-year old woman sets out to succeed, on her own, as a photographer. She leaves behind a forbidden romance with her married employer, Fred Bauer. Jessie truly wants to succeed as a photographer and own her own studio. She hones her skills working for other photographers as she tries to distance herself from Fred.

While I enjoyed the story, I believe it would have been beneficial to have read the first book. A Flickering Light would have set up the story of Jessie and Fred and probably would have given me more empathy for them. I liked Jessie. I didn't like Fred and I really didn't like his wife. A little backstory is given as the story moves along, but I think that reading the first book is necessary for enjoying this one. Towards the end of the story, we are given more explanations as to what ultimately drove Fred and his wife apart, which is good to know.

Jessie was a remarkable woman who, whether she intended to be or not, was a champion of women's rights. I would have liked to have known her.

The author includes actual photos taken by Jessie, many of whose subjects are mentioned in the story, as well as Jessie's original commentary about each photo. She also concludes with an account of how she came to write the story of Jessie's life.

A thought-provoking, interesting story. Easily recommended, although I would suggest reading the first book beforehand.

This book was provided for review by the WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group. You can learn more about the book here.  You can purchase your own copy here.

Read 3/10

* * *
3/5 Stars

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