Fifteen-year-old Jessie Ann Gaebele applies for a job with a photographer in 1907. Captivated by the art and an adept student, she soon begins running the studios of artists suffering from mercury poisoning. But is she preparing herself to own her own studio---or fleeing from her relationship with her older married tutor? 400 pages, softcover from Waterbrook.
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Customer Reviews for A Flickering Light, Portraits of the Heart Series #1
Review 1 for A Flickering Light, Portraits of the Heart Series #1
Jessie Gaebele is an amateur photographer in 1907, Minnesota. She loves nothing more than to take pictures of the beautiful landscape and the people she loves. When she is hired at the Bauer Studio to assist in developing photos and learning how to run the business, she knows she is headed in the right direction for her life and career.
There are hazards that come with the territory; the explosive powder used for lighting, and the toxic chemicals used for developing the prints. It is considered a man's profession, and life-threatening when the mercury poisoning hits. Yet Jessie works deftly and skillfully at every aspect of running a studio. What she can't seem to manage, however, is her attraction to the married F.J. Bauer. Will photography reveal the person she really is, or will it expose her for what she can never be?
I had mixed emotions about this book as I knew before I even opened the book that there was the undercurrents of a possible emotional affair between an older married man and a young woman. But despite all of that, I was pleasantly surprised with what I discovered. The author portrayed a perfect mix between the human fallacies we all are born with, and the power of forgiveness from not only those we love, but God himself.
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Review 2 for A Flickering Light, Portraits of the Heart Series #1
Date:February 24, 2010
Inspired by Fiction
The historical detail in this novel was interesting and educating. Kirkpatrick deals with subjects such as the beginning stages of photography with its related illnesses and women's roles during that era. We see motor cars and horse drawn carriages, and there is a scene including President Taft.I found the main plot line a little slow moving and was more engaged in the side stories involving both the Gaebeles with little Roy, and the Bauers with their past and present trials. The secondary characters were well developed and added depth to layers of the story. I appreciated Jessie's transformation and growth in her faith although it felt a little fast at the end of the book. Kirkpatrick creates believable characters in illuminating settings. Readers learn about history and human nature as well as the beauty of grace and second chances.I am glad that there will be a follow up book, An Absence So Great due out later this year. There were a couple of unanswered questions and unresolved problems, especially in the engaging side stories that I hope to see addressed!
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Review 3 for A Flickering Light, Portraits of the Heart Series #1
Kirkpatrick has fictionalized the story of her grandmother Jessie Gaeble who worked as a photographer's assistant in 1907 Winona, Minnesota for F.J. Bauer. Jessie is a feisty, tiny girl of fifteen when she starts working at Bauer's studio with her own ideas about how photographs should be taken. Bauer takes her under his wing and teaches her how to pose photos, develop them, and run a studio, which is necessary when he succumbs to occasional mercury poisoning leaving him unable to run the business for months on end. Bauer has a less than perfect marriage, and the two are drawn together by their common love of their craft. Kirkpatrick has an unusual talent for creating incredibly real characters. It's the rare book that is so great that its characters find their way into my dreams. For me, that's an indicator of a book that is far above the masses of similar books in the genre. I am completely pulled into the story, and when the final page is turned, find myself missing the characters inside. Thank goodness this is a series! Kirkpatrick captures turn of the century life in a small Midwestern town and fills it with characters the reader can't help but take to heart.