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A Flickering Light by Jane Kirkpatrick
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A Flickering Light (2009)

by Jane Kirkpatrick

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Jessie Ann Gaeble is born in the late 1800’s. During this era, many children do not attend high school. They find jobs to support their family or start their career. Jessie is one of these children.

She loves to take pictures. She is interested in every aspect of photography. Jessie is overjoyed when her uncle gives her a camera one year and she treasures it with every breath that she takes. She takes it wherever she goes because she never knows when a butterfly will flit by or the perfect setting of the sun will occur.

It is during her teenage years, 15 to be exact, that she begins her apprenticeship with a photo studio in town. She decides that being a photographer will be her career. She wants to learn the business of running a studio. The photographer is hesitant to bring her into the profession because he fears that she may seek employment elsewhere after he has trained her. This will be a gamble that he needs to take. So, he agrees to teach her the business for 6 months without pay. She agrees and finds this life very exciting and is eager to learn. During the 3 year span of working beside him, romantic notions rush into her head. She realizes that he is married and has children, but since she has never been in love, she does not know how to deal with matters of the heart.

Oh, how my father loved to take pictures. In that respect, this book was interesting to me. It was rather tedious reading because I think the author rambled on too much about the photographer’s family life. I just wanted to read about the photography aspect of the book. Toward the end of the book, I felt as if the author was writing a romance book instead of a historical fiction one.
A Flickering Light is a memoir about the Kirkpatrick's grandmother and her photography career. Kirkpatrick does a very job depicting the lives and the context of that era. ( )
  suzanne5002 | Mar 25, 2011 |
I was intrigued by this fascinating story based on the true life courage of a real woman. Jessie Ann Gaeble is the young woman portrayed, and her desire to become a professional photographer at the turn of the century is one that is considered unusual for a proper lady. Nevertheless, she gets a job working at a photography studio--but the attraction between her and her employer, Mr. Bauer, creates a crisis within her soul--and with her family. Jessie's difficult course is highlighted by photographs taken by the real Jessie, which adds much to the story. The historical flavor of the time is captured well, and Jessie's inner dilemma had me thinking much about the struggles we all face with temptation. Fans of well told fiction that prompts one to think about spiritual matters should pick this one up--especially if they like historicals. ( )
  debs4jc | Mar 31, 2010 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
I was lucky enough to receive this book as an advanced reader copy, and it seemed right up my alley. Unfortunately I didn't realize it was Christian fiction (the second time this has happened to me). It was less obvious than the other book, so it didn't bother me too much. What was more unfortunate is that the book was not particularly interesting and fairly repetitive. While the main character, Jessie, initially seemed interesting, I didn't feel she grew much as a person. Other characterizations, especially of Mrs. Bauer and Roy, were simplisitic when they could have been much more interesting. Overall a disappointing read. ( )
  julko | Jan 19, 2010 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
Like other reviewers, I had a hard time connecting with the book. It sounded like it would be right up my alley, historical, photograpy and women's topics, but it didn't keep me reading. I did finish it, over a long period of time. I would leave it and come back to it. There were sections that were better than others and moved at a better pace. Over all, I am glad that I read it, but I am not sure about reading further works...maybe??? The Christian fiction was not glaring and did not make or break the book. ( )
  1crazycatlady | Jan 11, 2010 |
This book sounded very interesting to me, a young girl at the beginning of the 20th century becomes apprentice to a photographer in Minnesota, “biographical fiction” based on the author's grandmother. I was delighted when a generous winner of an Advanced Reading Copy passed it on to me.

As an ARC, it did have errors that most likely were corrected prior to publication, as I expect in an uncorrected proof. Aside from that, I'm afraid it is just not my kind of book. The author is a writer of Christian fiction, not one of my favorite genres, and I did not realize that when I requested it. Still, the book did not get as preachy as it could have. To me, the characters seemed a bit too much cut from cardboard. One of the characters was referred to as “damaged Roy” because he stuttered.

The story moved very slowly for my taste and was repetitive, sometimes boring to me. And, generally not being a romance reader, I really did not like the way the romance was developed. Although there were some insights into the photography of the period, I had hoped for more. I did enjoy the photographs included in the book, thought they were interesting and lovely. ( )
1 vote TooBusyReading | Dec 26, 2009 |
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 157856980X, Paperback)

Returning to her Midwest roots, award-winning author Jane Kirkpatrick draws a page from her grandmother's photo album to capture the interplay between shadow and light, temptation and faith that marks a woman's pursuit of her dreams.

She took exquisite photographs,
but her heart was the true image exposed.

Fifteen-year-old Jessie Ann Gaebele loves nothing more than capturing a gorgeous Minnesota landscape when the sunlight casts its most mesmerizing shadows. So when F.J. Bauer hires her in 1907 to assist in his studio and darkroom, her dreams for a career in photography appear to find root in reality.

With the infamous hazards of the explosive powder used for lighting and the toxic darkroom chemicals, photography is considered a man' s profession. Yet Jessie shows remarkable talent in both the artistry and business of running a studio. She proves less skillful, however, at managing her growing attraction to the very married Mr. Bauer.

This luminous coming-of-age tale deftly exposes the intricate shadows that play across every dream worth pursuing–and the irresistible light that beckons the dreamer on.

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:28:51 -0400)

(see all 2 descriptions)

Serving as an assistant in F.J. Bauer's studio, fifteen-year-old Jessie Ann Gaebele is trained in the artistry and business of photography, but she is unnerved by a growing attraction to her married tutor.

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