A Book Review & Giveaway
From the back cover:
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.
Jane Kirkpatrick is a writer, a teacher, and author and a public speaker. She has been published on over 50 periodicals and has written 16 books, a mixture of fiction and non-fiction. Of her fiction titles, many are based on the lives of real people or incidents. Her works have been nominated for Christy, Spur, Oregon Book Award, WILLA Literary Award and Reader’s Choice awards.
She won the 2007 WILLA Literary Award for Best Original Paperback with, A Tendering in the Storm; and made the Library Journal’s Best Books of 2009 list with A Flickering Light, the prequel to An Absence So Great.
I found An Absence So Great to be quite startling. It came to me via a Christian publishing house and the main character is portrayed as a Godly woman, but apparently a Godly woman who had no concept of the 7th Commandment. An Absence So Great does not tell of of a young girl yearning for God to fill the emptiness in her soul. Jessie pines for a married man 26 years her senior.
The book is based on the true story of the author’s grandmother and it is extremely well written and a compelling read. I watched Jessie struggle with her choices and I kept rooting for her to make the right decision. [Spoiler alert.] For that very reason I was horribly disappointed when she didn’t.
Fred and Jessie have an affair which resulted in him divorcing his wife and the two of them marrying when Jessie was 5 months pregnant. There the book ends, supposedly happily ever after, but I found myself wanting to know when their sins were reconciled with God.
Since this book is based on a true story and sin is a very real part of our lives, I am not so much disappointed that Jessie and Fred didn’t make the “right” decisions. I am disappointed that they defended all of their actions and felt vindicated when the family members finally consented to speak with them and visit. I came out feeling that Fred and Jessie believed they were righteous in their decisions and deserved apologies rather than repentance.
I am disappointed in the book not for the story or the writing, which indeed were superb, but for the message that adultery does not require repentance and leads to happily-ever-after.
I have a copy of this book up for grabs. Leave me a comment telling me that you are interested in reading this book, and I will put you in the drawing. The drawing will close at midnight on March 31st.
Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”