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 potrait of her life.


This is the sequel to A Flickering Light. Both are based on the life of Kirkpatrick’s grandmother. I did not read the first book & didnt really need to to enjoy this book, but now, I’m intrigued & want to see what happened before this story with Jessie & Fred.

It was a really interesting story on women of that time (1900’s Wisconsin) & how they had to make it in a new world of women taking charge. The romance was also intrighuing and very well described. I love that this is based on a true story, even though  fictionalized to certain extent but that doesn’t make it any less desireable… I also love that some of the actual photos taken by Jessie are included. Some parts of the book are written in first person, as journal entries, it would have been better if it was clarified if those were true journal entries…

My favorite part was the pictures in the book with stories behind them… I would highly recommend this book to all book lovers.

To learn more about Jane Kirkpatrick or to purchase an ABSENCE SO GREAT please visit:

Thanks to Ashley @  WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group, for this wonderful read.