A Flickering Light By Jane Kirkpatrick

I am consistently amazed at Ms. Kirkpatrick’s historical fiction books. They not only bring to light the person they are written about but many social and cultural differences in that time period.
I had never even considered all photography in the early 20th century involved until I read this book. Jessie Gaebele was a bit of a modern woman in the sense that she wanted more than anything to pursue a career in photography. Women just didn’t do that; they weren’t supposed to have careers at all! Even though she still lived at home under the watchful eye of her parents, she managed to follow her dream. I believe her confidence and poise came from her all-consuming love of taking pictures.
In that era it was a bit more than just grabbing a Polaroid or digital camera. I had never considered how dangerous it was until I read about Jessie. The chemicals used to process the pictures were toxic not only to touch but the fumes were poisonous too. Photographers often suffered from chemical poisoning that made them very ill and ultimately dementia and organ failure. In addition to the chemicals there was the danger of explosions and fires from the flash powders that could kill or maim. Given how protected women were during this time, you can understand how bold Jessie’s pursuit was! This doesn’t even take into account that she was only 15 years old at the time!
Her opportunity came when she is hired as an assistant to Mr. Bauer of Bauer Studios. She would gain experience and knowledge to hopefully someday open or studio. Although she was young she proved herself a quick learner, talented and responsible. I learned right along with Jessie as she apprenticed. I never thought of how the only lighting they hand was natural light from windows, or how skilled one would have to be to pose subjects considering this.
Her new job brought her face to face with something she had never dreamed of; she became emotionally attracted to her employer. Matters were further complicated because he was not only married (albeit very unhappily to a petty nervous wife in fragile health) but he was also 26 years older than Jesse! Before long Mr. Bauer returned that attraction. This was not a sordid tale as one might think. It is a beautiful story of having self-control in the face of strong, sinful temptations and staying true to God rather than giving into fleshly desires. Her close family’s intuition and God’s convicting hand kept Jessie from straying. The author was very tasteful in handling this.
The book is made even more exciting because it is based on the life of Jane Kirkpatrick’s grandmother who was a photographer during that time and even owned her own studio! The vintage pictures placed at the beginning of various chapters were so special. They were actually taken by the author’s grandmother! I always look forward to Jane Kirkpatrick’s books. They are in a league of their own!
Be sure to go to http://www.jkbooks.com/ and check out more of Jane Kirkpatrick’s wonderful books! I received this book free from the author. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own.


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