Saturday, March 27, 2010

An Absence so Great by Jane Kirkpatrick

About the Book:  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.

My Review: An Absence So Great by Jane Kirkpatrick is a beautifully written book of historical fiction loosely based on the author’s grandmother. The story revolves around Jesse, a young girl in the early 1900s trying to make her mark in the field of photography on her own, but finds it difficult as a woman without legal rights. Her connection and insight into the photographs is what made the story interesting and compelling. This book is being marketed as part of a Christian Fiction Series,  but if you are looking for Christian fiction I do not recommend this book. My reasons are printed at the bottom of this page because they contain spoilers.

I have one copy of this book to giveaway. You must be a follower of this blog, US only, and the drawing will be Midnight April 3, 2010. Leave a comment below with your email address (and don’t read the spoilers below!!!).

Please note - SPOILERS BELOW:

An Absence So Great (Christian Fiction Series)  I have never put a spoiler in one of my reviews before and hope I never feel the need to do so again. If you are looking for Christian Fiction, this book is NOT what you are looking for. The book treats those of faith as out of touch with the “modern” world and heartless because they are angry with Jesse for her adulterous affair. The wife of her lover is a woman of faith, but feeble minded because she is grieving the loss of her child .  She is also trying to seduce her counselor pastor. Personal Rant: I know what it is like to lose a child, and the author's depiction of the grieving mother is insulting.

The story was disappointing to me because time after time Jessie made poor decisions in her life. Even when I knew what the conclusion would be, I kept hoping the character would make the right and moral choice. The most disturbing part was when the author used scripture to try to justify an adulterous affair and bigamy.

I have a copy of this book to giveaway, but please note that I do not consider this as Christian fiction because of the immorality portrayed as good and righteous. The writing is good, but the story is disappointing. If you would still like a copy of this book, follow the instructions above and leave a comment with your email address.

I received an advanced reader copy and a giveaway copy of this book from WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group.


  1. I like to read and I love honest book reviews. Thanks for sharing your opinion. Also Happy SITS Saturday Sharefest

  2. Thank you for stopping by from SITS!!!

  3. I've been a follower... missed the genealogy note before.

    You might like to follow, also:

    Bill ;-)

    billsmith2003 (at) gmail (dot) com

    Hope you'll check out my book giveaway:

  4. Linda,

    Thanks for stopping by my blog today. I'm sorry to hear that you're a grieving mother too. We weren't meant to have to sorrow that way.

    I see you're a book lover too! I must read!

    I'll say a prayer for you.

  5. I would love to win a copy of this book! I am a new follower.
    email bangersis(at)msn(dot)com

  6. Hi Linda,
    Thank you for reading my book and for posting your honest assessment of it and for putting the spoilers where people can choose to read them or not. At the risk of being my own spoiler, I did want to say just one thing: I am sorry for your loss and regret anything that I wrote that might have added to your grief. I asked parents who had lost children to read the manuscript; as a counselor, I encountered many couples dealing with their grief over the death of a child; and my husband and I also lost a child. Each told me that Mrs. Bauer was accurately portrayed, empathic and reflected their own efforts to deal with enormous grief that sometimes gets placed into the swirl of blame. We blame ourselves; we often blame our spouses; some of us blame God and we long for comfort from the very people who are drowning in their own grief. Unless people find a way through that by their faith, the result is often divorce which is why so many families dealing with this issue end up in that state. That my portrayal would appear to demean in any way another person's loss comes with great regret and a difference of opinion. But I honor your opinion and appreciate your forthrightness in sharing in. Continued good reading and reviewing, too. Warmly, Jane Kirkpatrick

  7. Hi, Linda!

    I came across your blog through Blogged, and really appreciate your honest review of Ms. Kirkpatrick's newest book. I read her latest series (Change and Cherish) last year, and while the plots in that series are greatly different from the ones in this new series, I, too, would loosely describe it as Christian fiction. In spite of that, and some other small issues, I've begun to really enjoy her style of writing as well as her originality.

    I've just become a follower of your blog, and would like to be included for your giveaway!

    orca0024 at yahoo dot com

  8. Congratulations Randomizer chose Christy as the winner of the giveaway copy of this book.

  9. Hi Linda:

    I drew a sigh of relief in knowing I wasn't the only one who came to the same conclusions about this book as you did. I feel exactly the same way and had a very hard time getting through this book (I review, also) which is unusual for me. I was disappointed for all the same reasons you were and could not give this book a good review either.

    My feeling is that a Christian book should be just that - pointing the reader to Jesus and His ways. Sure, we all fail miserably, but I would have liked to have seen the characters chose the Lord's way and not their own way. It was all about satisfying what they wanted, not what the Lord would want.

    God bless you - Julie

  10. If you read the first book (A Flickering Light) you would know the character did not have an adulterous affair. The author honestly explores the characters' struggles. I found these two books deeply moving and thought-provoking.
    thanks --- Kathy

  11. Although her "affair of the heart" is a form of adultry, the actual adultery and bigamy came when the Jesse married her lover while he was still legally married to his wife. She was then married legally while she was 5 months pregnant.


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