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Customer Reviews for Random House, Inc An Absence So Great, Portraits of the Heart Series #2

Random House, Inc An Absence So Great, Portraits of the Heart Series #2

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?
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Customer Reviews for An Absence So Great, Portraits of the Heart Series #2
Review 1 for An Absence So Great, Portraits of the Heart Series #2
Overall Rating: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5

Love this series.

Date:November 26, 2013
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Rapsak
Location:Gilmer, Texas
Age:55-65
Gender:female
Quality: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Value: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Meets Expectations: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
I love reading Jane Kirkpatrick books. Whether non-fiction or even when fictional, they are about things that often happen in real life to real people. It would be wonderful if our daily living could always be easy and with simple choices, BUT its not. Life is often filled with hard or difficult decisions having to be made. Satan is constantly placing temptations in our weak areas. Jane's books reveal life as it is. Thank you CBC for giving us many different reading avenues.
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Review 2 for An Absence So Great, Portraits of the Heart Series #2
Overall Rating: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5

Date:December 21, 2013
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debwilson
Age:18-24
Gender:female
Quality: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Value: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Meets Expectations: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Jessie Gaebele's life couldn't be better. Armed with the knowledge to run her own photographic studio, she decides to help owners run their studios while they are sick with mercury poisoning. She steps closer and closer to owning her own studio, and she scrimps and saves until her goal is within her reach.
Despite Jessie's good intentions, it seems as if she is an impasse in her life. She cannot move forward with her studio plans, nor is she making progress with overcoming her infatuation with her tutor and mentor, F.J. Bauer. Is she truly a woman in a man's world, or is she capable of becoming her own person?
While this novel is better enjoyed after the first book, A Flickering Light, it stands well on it's own as well. While the end is predictable, the resolution and peace that is found by the characters is quite astounding considering the subject matter. F.J. Bauer's great lengths to pursuit of a woman he could never have is a little far-fetched to my mind, but some stories are too crazy to be made up. And this one was as close to the heart of the truth as Kirkpatrick could get. I commend her for tackling on such a feat; a fictional depiction and account of the true to life events surrounding her grandmother's life. A work well done.
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Review 3 for An Absence So Great, Portraits of the Heart Series #2
Overall Rating: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5

Date:November 27, 2012
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debwilson
Age:18-24
Gender:female
Quality: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Value: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Meets Expectations: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Jessie Gaebele's life couldn't be better. Armed with the knowledge to run her own photographic studio, she decides to help owners run their studios while they are sick with mercury poisoning. She steps closer and closer to owning her own studio, and she scrimps and saves until her goal is within her reach.
Despite Jessie's good intentions, it seems as if she is an impasse in her life. She cannot move forward with her studio plans, nor is she making progress with overcoming her infatuation with her tutor and mentor, F.J. Bauer. Is she truly a woman in a man's world, or is she capable of becoming her own person?
While this novel is better enjoyed after the first book, A Flickering Light, it stands well on it's own as well. While the end is predictable, the resolution and peace that is found by the characters is quite astounding considering the subject matter. F.J. Bauer's great lengths to pursuit of a woman he could never have is a little far-fetched to my mind, but some stories are too crazy to be made up. And this one was as close to the heart of the truth as Kirkpatrick could get. I commend her for tackling on such a feat; a fictional depiction and account of the true to life events surrounding her grandmother's life. A work well done.
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Review 4 for An Absence So Great, Portraits of the Heart Series #2
Overall Rating: 
1 out of 5
1 out of 5

Date:May 29, 2010
Some true stories should not be repeated...and this was one of them. I understand being married to someone who is not right in their head, but a man who is 26 years older falling in love with a young girl, then stalking her the whole book...manipulating himself into her life at every turn until finally his wife cannot handle it anymore is not my idea of a good story to be repeated. i don't care if they were happy later...some things should not happen and should not be repeated in a story for all time to remember. The photography history was very interesting, i enjoyed that part of it.
+2points
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Review 5 for An Absence So Great, Portraits of the Heart Series #2
Overall Rating: 
2 out of 5
2 out of 5

Date:April 18, 2010
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C Cole
I had a knee-jerk reaction with book one in this series, but this one was a total turn off.
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Review 6 for An Absence So Great, Portraits of the Heart Series #2
Overall Rating: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5

Date:April 9, 2010
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Jamie Lynn T
I have not read a novel in quite a while. But when I noticed what this book was about I so excited to read this book. Once I got the book I could not put it down. The story was very compelling and I could not wait to find out what happened. While some of the story is made up many of the facts are there from Jessie's life as told by her granddaughter. This kind of story always interest me.This book offered a glimpse at what life was like in Milwaukee in the early 1900's. Since I grew up in Milwaukee it was great to imagine myself there with Jessie. It was very interesting to hear about how the world of photography was back in the 1900's. Jessie was among only a handful of other women photographers. She did not let that stand in her way and was very successful in her career as a photographer. I felt like I knew Jessie, like we could have been good friends. The author did a wonderful job of painting the story of her grandmother and sharing the details of her (not always easy) life in a way that made you feel as though you were right there walking to work with Jessie.Even if you are not a photographer or have never lived in Milwaukee this is a great book to read. You feel as though you are part of the family and always ready to cheer Jessie on in her next adventure. The stories of love and sadness, life and death, marriage and family are all woven together on the pages in such a way that you feel like you're right there with them. I would be honored if my granddaughter one day wrote such an eloquent story about me.
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Review 7 for An Absence So Great, Portraits of the Heart Series #2
Overall Rating: 
4 out of 5
4 out of 5

Date:April 2, 2010
Here is another great story about Jessie Ann Gaebele as she continues to pursue her dream of owning her own photographic studio. She moves away from her family to start fresh and to get away from the unforbidden love she has for Mr. Bauer. She gains more experience and employment to save money for her dream studio. This book is full of twists and turns and just when you think Jessie's dreams are coming true, you are surprised at where the story takes you. The only sure thing you will find is that her parents are still encouraging her to work for the traveling evangelist and give up her dreams of photography. Will she give up her dreams? You will have to read the book to find out what happens to Jessie, her family, and the Bauer family.
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Review 8 for An Absence So Great, Portraits of the Heart Series #2
Overall Rating: 
3 out of 5
3 out of 5

Date:April 2, 2010
I must be getting old, or very sheltered, or something of that nature because, I just don't understand Christian novels that have "worldly" themes. In this story set in early 1900's, Jessie Gaebele is running away from a bad relationship that has embarrassed both her and her family.She is able to secure a job in a photography studio and starts to get back on her feet. Only later does she learn that the man she is running from is paying her room and board with the family she is staying with.I did enjoy the majority of the story and loved the real photo's that she incorporated into the book. I also enjoyed the true to life details about the craft of photography.
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Review 9 for An Absence So Great, Portraits of the Heart Series #2
Overall Rating: 
4 out of 5
4 out of 5

Date:April 2, 2010
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Molly
In her book, An Absence So Great, Jane Kirkpatrick examines some very weighty issues of the heart in a thoughtful and thought-provoking manner. The second of her Portrait of the Heart series, An Absence So Great continues to follow, pioneer photographer, Jessie Gaebele as she leaves the safety of her family and home in Winona, MN and ventures to make her own way in the world and in photography because of her disgrace of falling in love with married man, FJ Bauer, for whom she worked in Winona. One of the most interesting parts of this story, is that the premise, and many of the details, are true, as Jessie was the authors grandmother. I found this encouraging as Jessie was a real person who lived, made mistakes, and found forgiveness and ultimately love. There is no perfect, fairy tale happy ending for Jessie, but she does find peace, love and safety and ultimately her identity in Christ alone. There were times I was uncomfortable with the subject matter of unfaithfulness, divorce and remarriage, yet again, this was a true story, and so these people, like myself really lived. I had to ask myself some deeply personal questions as I read. Am I uncomfortable with what is happening, because I too have a deeply rooted propensity to sin and to be discontent in my roles as Jessie and FJ were? It is often said that the things we dislike in others are those character qualities we most despise in ourselves. There were no pat answers in An Absence So Great, simply an unflinching, unapologetic look at real people who lived in a real place and time. One quote from the book regarding divorce and remarriage that I believe Jessie did grasp in her lifetime was something her friend and employer, Virginia said to her, There are no greener pastures on the other side of that legal fence, thats what I think. There will always be weeds masquerading as flowers.
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Review 10 for An Absence So Great, Portraits of the Heart Series #2
Overall Rating: 
4 out of 5
4 out of 5

Date:April 2, 2010
This historical fiction book was a good book. I loved the setting and the strong woman characters. I loved that the main character was doing the job that usually men did in that era. How neat would it have been back then to be a professional photographer! I found out just recently that it is book 2 in a series called Portraits of the Heart Series, while that would have cleared up some confusion but I was able to still read and enjoy this book. Her characters are portrayed so great you can imagine them and see what it must have been like to be in a male dominated world of the 1900s
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Review 11 for An Absence So Great, Portraits of the Heart Series #2
Overall Rating: 
4 out of 5
4 out of 5

Date:April 1, 2010
After reading and thoroughly enjoying A Flickering Light, I was anxious to read the conclusion to Jessies story. Just like A Flickering Light, An Absence So Great is very well written and an interesting look at the history of the authors family. This is one of those books that the reader needs to allow his or herself plenty of time to read it. It is written in such a way that reads slowly, but I did not find it boring. I could understand some readers feeling impatient with the pace of this book, but I enjoy a book that is written in a way that allows me to really get involved in the story.Now, there are some topics, especially infidelity, that may ruffle some Christian feathers. I, for one, am not bothered by things like that because I understand reality and I understand that even Christians are not immune to sin. I did not feel that the author was glorifying sin in any way. In fact, the sin caused a great deal of pain for Jessie which drives the point home that sin can cause a lot of problems in a persons life. But, some readers may not care for that aspect of the story, which is understandable. Overall, I feel that An Absence So Great is a very good book, but I would highly recommend that anyone interested in this book should read the first book in the series, A Flickering Light in order to get the full story about Jessie. Again, this book may bother some people, but I prefer to look at the whole story and the writing style. All of which are very good.This book was provided for review by WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group.
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Review 12 for An Absence So Great, Portraits of the Heart Series #2
Overall Rating: 
4 out of 5
4 out of 5

Date:April 1, 2010
The photos truly captured my attention as a photographer myself and someone who loves ... revels with historical photos this one just made my heart melt for Jessie. Life and times of a woman in the early 1900's was seen as a brave new frontier and life with new women liberties coming forth -- not being seen as property anymore, but able to stand on their own feet. The mistakes and mishaps that do occur whether they are godly or not... this book reaches deep into the author's own family history and draws out a story of survival that was beautifully written. Having a "colorful and rich" heritage (as I like to put it) myself I understand this story. I'm not sure everyone will.It did not end the way I wished it would have, but I am none the less touched by it. As it is somewhat of a personal natured story (a family history to some degree), it is hard to comment on this book because of that, even if it is written from a fictitious point of view -- it sort of leaves me thinking the past is the past and we can't change it, we need to move forward from our mistakes. It covers divorce and remarriage, running away from problems to still be tempted again by them. The voice that Jane put in there that often said "don't do it" was an interesting way of showing God's voice if we choose to listen to it.I'd easily pass this book along for my friends to read, but not as an uplifting Christian novel to read--rather a view of choices that we make in our lives. I don't even know I'd call it a Christian fiction because I'd feel I could pass this along to anyone and they would enjoy the tormented love-affair going on it... as a Christian novel it is disappointing because of the poor choices... but it was based on real people so it's one of those that's hard to comment on. I will say that Jane is an extraordinary writer and I did enjoy it.
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Review 13 for An Absence So Great, Portraits of the Heart Series #2
Overall Rating: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5

Date:April 1, 2010
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Andrea Schultz
The main character, Jessie Ann Gaebele, was an astute businesswoman who had her own business in the fairly new field of photography. Her belief was that a woman needed to be able to take care of herself to not rely on men to take care of them. She had a strong sense of wanderlust and she lived a very adventurous life. Jessie worked for a gentleman named Fred Bauer, a German immigrant who owned a photography studio. Their relationship began in A Flickering Light and continues here. Although I have not read A Flickering Light (yet!), it is clear from reading An Absence So Great that they were attracted to each other (Fred was a married man), and Jessie needed to get away from the situation. She did so by moving to Milwaukee WI. I was totally captivated by this book. I made the mistake of starting to read it late in the evening; fortunately, I did not have any early engagements the next morning, or I would not have made them! I read the book in just a couple of sittings. Janes writing style is entertaining and very creative. I found Jane to have a wonderful way with words. Here is an example both for its lovely writing and for its helpful words of wisdom:Today atop those hills looking west, she affirmed that she might never marry, but she could be part of something good if she set aside regrets, if she ceased demeaning and instead admitted that her self-pity, jealousy, and hopelessness were as offensive as her part in [edited by me spoiler]. Perhaps then she could be available for.love, for the good God intended for everyone. Thats what her pastor assured. She decided that self-pity was an even greater transgression than going to a movie theater or attending a sporting dance. (p. 327)This book was provided to me by Waterbrook Press for review & giveaway purposes.Ponderings by Andrea
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Review 14 for An Absence So Great, Portraits of the Heart Series #2
Overall Rating: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5

Date:April 1, 2010
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LC Kerr
An Absence So Great is the continuing story of Jessie Ann Gaebele's journey to becoming an independent female photographer and understanding love and it's role in her life.Her story began in A Flickering Light, and because of the choices she made and some that were made for her, she moved away from her hometown of Winona, Minnesota. In this new novel, Jessie is working as an assistant doing the retouching and helping set up for portraits... so much less than she aspires to do. Will she find love? Will she ever have her own studio?An Absence So Great is the conclusion to the wonderful story of Kirkpatrick's grandmother! I loved it and reading the real-life struggles of an indepent, smart woman in the early 1900s.
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Review 15 for An Absence So Great, Portraits of the Heart Series #2
Overall Rating: 
3 out of 5
3 out of 5

Date:April 1, 2010
An Absence So Great by Jane Kirkpatrick is actually the second book in a series. Although, I never realized this until about halfway through the book. It did well as a stand-alone read. There were definitely parts of it I enjoyed and parts that had me shaking my head. What I truly felt was very cool about the entire series is that Ms. Kirkpatrick wrote these based on the life of her real grandmother, Jessie Gaebale. Her grandmother was a photographer at the turn of the century when it was still very much a man's occupation. Ms. Kirkpatrick also included copies of real photographers that her grandmother had taken with the stories behind them. As an amateur photographer that part of the book intrigued me greatly. However, the actual "love story" involved was just strange. Perhaps if I had read the first book it would have made more sense to me. I guess the saying that truth is stranger than fiction applies here.
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Review 16 for An Absence So Great, Portraits of the Heart Series #2
Overall Rating: 
4 out of 5
4 out of 5

Date:April 1, 2010
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Julia
I knew I would enjoy this book! How could I not? It's all about a young women in the early 1900's trying to make her way into the world of photography and to own her own studio. The characters have really engaged my attentions...even more so since I discovered that they are based on real people. Jane Kirkpatrick takes the real life story of her grandmother and bonds herself to her past filling in the gaps where memories have left off. She includes her grandmother's original images and wonderful details of the growth of photography during it's infancy. Fascinating!
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Review 17 for An Absence So Great, Portraits of the Heart Series #2
Overall Rating: 
4 out of 5
4 out of 5

Date:March 31, 2010
The author takes readers in to the world of 1910 Wisconsin and Minnesota, and follows 19 year old Jessie Ann Gaebele as she pursues her dream of owning her own photographic studio. Shadows of a forbidden love follow the main character as she works toward her dream. The author is known as a gifted Christian author, however I did not see strong Christian themes running through this new novel.Kirkpatrick thoroughly knows the history of early photo studios in Wisconsin and Minnesota, and includes photographs in this novel, some of them related to her own grandmother, Jessie, who died in 1990 at the age of 98 and who pioneered as a woman photographer. The novel's Jessie is determined to buy and run her own studio, where she can pursue her own artistic views on portrait photography, without assistance from family or her previous love interest.The author includes fascinating background on feminism, and topics like mercury poisoning from developing prints, and she wrote that her purpose in writing this book was to prove that "accepting the gift of forgiveness is the hardest yet most meaningful work of the human spirit."The author has written sixteen historical novels and three nonfiction titles. Waterbrook Multnomah Publishing Group provided this copy for me to review.
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Review 18 for An Absence So Great, Portraits of the Heart Series #2
Overall Rating: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5

Date:March 31, 2010
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Christy Lockstein
An Absence So Great by Jane Kirkpatrick is the powerful sequel to A Flickering Light. The author calls it historical speculative fiction as she writes about the story of her grandmother Jessie Gaebele as she tries to make her way as a professional photographer in 1910. The story picks up shortly after the events of the first book in which Jessie had fallen in love with her married employer, Fred Bauer, and their relationship crossed the boundaries of what is acceptable, so Jessie fled to Milwaukee, WI from her home in Minona, MN to try and forget about Fred and start a new life on her own two feet. Jessie loves her chosen profession and eventually wants to own a studio, but few men take her seriously. Jessie comes to life on every page, and I was deeply saddened to learn that the series ended with just the two books. Some readers may not agree with decisions Fred makes throughout the course of the story, but it's important to remember that these characters are human and so make mistakes, and that it does not effect the beautiful writing of Kirkpatrick. She completely immerses the reader in the early twentieth century with lots of historical detail making the characters and scenes come to life.
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Review 19 for An Absence So Great, Portraits of the Heart Series #2
Overall Rating: 
2 out of 5
2 out of 5

Date:March 31, 2010
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jb05
I am once again struggling to write this review. This book was a very slow read for me. I must say that books have to hold my attention from the first 20 pages. This one did not do this. I realize it was a story about the authors family so it is not for me to judge the content of this book. BUT for me as a Christian woman trying to stay on the path that God has for me, I do not like to read books with infidelity in them. I realize many people Christian and non Christian do not mind reading these, I do not like to. So with that said, I can not recommend this book to my readers on that issue alone. But, I did enjoy reading about the history of photography and how it evolved for a young aspiring photographer in the early 1900's where women were still thought to be in the home. The pictures throughout the book were very intersting to look at. I guess that if you like these type of historical novels you would like this one.This book was provided to me for review from WaterBrook Multnomah.
+1point
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Review 20 for An Absence So Great, Portraits of the Heart Series #2
Overall Rating: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5

Date:March 31, 2010
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OLGA
I loved this book I read the reviews about what people thought about divorce and I don't think God wants us to stay in a loveless marriage you people are so close minded to think that second marriages are NOT from God My husband and I are a perfect example that second marriages are a gift from God God is a God of second and third chances Its poeple like the reviews I read that kept me away from God for 20 years because I didn't think God would forgive me I am glad there are more books like this one it gives a person hope when they feel like there is no hope because of close minded Christian's God is love not a judgmental God I was raised in a Christian home my Dad was a minister so instead of being judgmental Christian's try loving and praying for a person who is going through something like a second marriage.
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