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Extended Audio Sample An Absence So Great: A Novel Audiobook, by Jane Kirkpatrick Click for printable size audiobook cover
3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 3.00 (180 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Jane Kirkpatrick Narrator: Susan Denaker Publisher: Penguin Random House Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Series: The Portraits of the Heart Series Release Date: March 2010 ISBN: 9780307735553
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Did photography replace an absence in her life or expose the truth of her heart’s emptiness?
 
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.


From the Trade Paperback edition. Download and start listening now!

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Quotes & Awards

  • Jane has an amazing ability to educate and entertain the reader within a single story.  Using photographs throughout the book created a unique lens through which the reader gained an awareness of both the characters and the time period. I thoroughly enjoyed following Jessie's travails as she strove to independently make her own way in a man's world while holding on to her own ideals and beliefs.  Kirkpatrick weaves a remarkable love story within the history of the time to tell her grandmother's tale.  I found myself cheering for Jessie as she faced each new obstacle with an inner strength and sense of self confidence. Cynthia Claridge, co-owner of Paulina Springs Books in Redmond and Sisters, Oregon
  • Stay perfectly still. Wait for it. There…the flash of words drawing you into Jessie’s life. Drawing you in not only with her but sometimes as her. Jane always writes on the “cellular level.” Her grandmother’s story is “word DNA” at its best! JL Schumacher, poet “The Loving Voice” Praise Him: An Anthology of Inspirational Poems
  • Both A Flickering Light and An Absence So Great are wonderfully done! It is very fun to read a novel in which I recognize names and places- I work one block from where the Bauer studio once was. Historical fiction has the ability, if done right, to give us a glimpse into another time. Jane makes history come to life, giving it a soul through her storytelling. Jennifer  Weaver and Audrey Gorny, Winona County Historical Society
  • Life is really made of:  the settings, props, and poses we encounter, then put aside so we can cherish family and faith,” writes Jane Kirkpatrick in An Absence So Great.  Jane embraces the finest qualities of the human spirit in all her writing, including this absorbing story of an early 20th century photographer, based on the life of her own grandmother. In An Absence So Great, Jane’s readers—and I am one of her most faithful of them—will be swept up in Jessie Gaebele’s struggle for independence against a backdrop of prejudice and forbidden love, beautifully written by one of America’s favorite storytellers.
    —    Sandra Dallas, author of Prayers for Sale
  • Jane Kirkpatrick has written a gentle and captivating account of people caught between reality and desire, taken from her own ancestry. Her depiction of photography during the early 1900s is fascinating. It filled my senses like delicious aromas permeate a home during the holidays. Cindy Woodsmall, best-selling author of The Hope of Refuge and the Sisters of the Quilt series
  • Jane Kirkpatrick's attention to detail and ability to craft living, breathing characters immerses the reader into her story world. I come away entranced, enlightened, and enriched after losing myself in one of her novels. Kim Vogel Sawyer , bestselling author of My Heart Remembers

Listener Opinions

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Taffra | 1/25/2014

    " This was not as good as the first one but her story intrigued me. A slow read but I was dtermined to get to the end. "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Melody Mullins | 1/14/2014

    " I found it6 a slow read. I just wasn't to my liking. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Janice Heinlein | 1/11/2014

    " A satisfying conclusion to the series. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Carissa | 1/6/2014

    " This was the sequel to A Flickering Light. Loved this book as much as the first book. Jane wraps up the story with the story of Jessie and Fred's lives, their love for photography and life's challenges. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Ellen Read | 1/6/2014

    " I really like Jane Kirkpatrick's books because they deal with such ordinary people. It is a bit slow, as are all of her books (in my opinion), but they are realistic and show how ordinary people living normal lives are amazingly complex and as interesting as a Scarpetta character or some exotic person living really well off and doing things they will greatly regret. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Kristiina | 12/17/2013

    " I love the way Jane Kirkpatrick carefully researches real people then connects the dots into a novel. This series (with Flickering Light) is especially special b/c it is about her Grandma. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Jana | 11/14/2013

    " It was all right. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Lisa | 7/3/2013

    " I am drawn to historical fiction and I liked the cover, but this book was just so-so. Too much of a romance and I couldn't see the attraction. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Kathy | 5/9/2013

    " This is Book Two of a series that tells the story of the author's grandmother's life. What a personal gift to their family to have this life documented. My mind can imagine the lives of my grandparents, but I would never be able to author such a good read. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Julie | 2/8/2013

    " See my review and sign up for the giveaway over at My Own Little Corner of the World! "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Diane Felci | 8/2/2011

    " I enjoyed reading this book because I like stories about families. The story also lead insights to early photography. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Judy | 7/21/2011

    " Sequel to Kirkpatrick's Flickering Light. She based the story (in two books) on her grandmother's life. Easy read. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Linda | 3/13/2011

    " I really liked reading about Jane's Grandmother. The details regarding photography were really great. Loved the ending, as well. Jane is an awesome writer. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Kathy | 6/5/2010

    " This is Book Two of a series that tells the story of the author's grandmother's life. What a personal gift to their family to have this life documented. My mind can imagine the lives of my grandparents, but I would never be able to author such a good read. "

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About the Author

Jane Kirkpatrick is the acclaimed author of many books, both fiction and nonfiction, including the award-winning A Sweetness to the Soul and the first two books in the Kinship and Courage series: All Together in One Place and No Eye Can See. She and her husband Jerry live and work on a 160-acre ranch in Eastern Oregon.

About the Narrator

Susan Denaker is an actress and Earphones Award–winning narrator. Her extensive theater credits include numerous plays in the West End of London, national tours, many English rep companies, including a season with Alan Ayckbourn’s company in Scarborough. In the US, she has appeared in Our Town and Sweet Bird of Youth at the La Jolla Playhouse and Breaking Legs at the Westport Playhouse.