A Flickering Light
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A Flickering Light

3.69 of 5 stars 3.69  ·  rating details  ·  358 ratings  ·  70 reviews
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 th...more
Hardcover, Large Print, 551 pages
Published May 1st 2009 by Center Point
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Tara Chevrestt
This was an enjoyable read for the most part. It is written somewhat like a memoir and told from the viewpoint of a teenage girl in the early 1900s. Jessie comes from a very religious family with very set ideas regarding women and "their place," but Jessie is a bit of a black sheep and despite some misgivings from her parents, she desires a career in photography. Photography in the 1900s was a mostly male dominated profession and the chemicals used often had negative effects on the users so it w...more
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 Chris...more
Jane Kirkpatrick
Apr 04, 2009 Jane Kirkpatrick rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  (Review from the author)  ·  review of another edition
This is a book I wrote. But I'm posting this review for a Canadian reader who had trouble posting it. "In her indubitable way, Jane has exercised once again her God given gift for writing. With this story she brings to light a tale she has woven around her grandmother, Jessie Ann Gaebele’s life. It was a life which offers us a glimpse into the background of the little known profession --- early photography. By showing us Jessie’s keen interest in this art form, Jane has given those of us who liv...more
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Elizabeth S
Jane Kirkpatrick is a brilliant writer and I was impressed with the prose and character development of this story.
I do object to the label of Christian Fiction. Certain characters actions seem to be repeatedly breaking biblical principles. The characters seem to have rather lukewarm faith.
Nevertheless if you remove the label the story is reminiscent of Willa Cather. Kirkpatrick has a gift for character development.
Jessie is a surprisingly relatable character despite the fact that she is carry...more
I did enjoy this book for the historical aspect of the dawn of photography in the turn of this century. It was also a good exploration of human emotions and what a Christian has at our disposal to protect others from unhealthy preoccupations. This was the story of Jane Kirkpatrick's grandmother, and by virtue of that fact, a quite intriguing read. Our book club majority decided that the next book in the series would be a "must read"!
Carol Tedder
Mar 23, 2009 Carol Tedder rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Anyone
From the first page to the last I felt like Jesse's shadow, seeing what she saw, feeling what she felt, as she experienced new and confusing feelings that challenged her faith and the standards of a loving family and conservative community in an earlier time. This story is rich and compelling, blending love, acceptance and forgiveness into painful and difficult circumstances. A wonderful read.
Mar 28, 2009 Stephanie rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: those who enjoy independent female characters, historical fiction, and the early 1900s.
Am reading an ARC of this book.
The author is quite accomplished.
I met she & her agent last fall at a writers' conference.
Clockstein Lockstein
A Flickering Light by Jane Kirkpatrick in the first in the historical fiction series A Portrait of a Woman. Kirkpatrick has fictionalized the story of her grandmother Jessie Gaeble who worked as a photographer's assistant in 1907 Winona, Minnesota for F.J. Bauer. Jessie is a feisty, tiny girl of fifteen when she starts working at Bauer's studio with her own ideas about how photographs should be taken. Bauer takes her under his wing and teaches her how to pose photos, develop them, and run a stud...more
Another wonderful Jane Kirkpatrick novel! I just love her writing and this one did not disappoint. Written about Jane's very own Grandmother, this story brings Jessie Gaebele's love of photography and dreams of her own studio alive. Jessie is a young girl, working to help out her family and just happens to get a postition that she loves, at a photography studio in her hometown of Winona, Minnesota. Jessie's joy at learning her trade and expanding her talent is only dampened by her worry over her...more
There were two aspects of A Flickering Light that drew me in personally. The story is set around 1907 in Minnesota… a time frame and location I recently researched for my own ancestry. My grandparents came from Browerville, Minnesota and were married in 1909. Also, like the main character I also worked for a professional photographer for three years, from the age of 15 to 18, thus many memories were sparked (enough so that I Googled Richard Weede the photographer for whom I worked).

Overall, I e...more
Jessie Gaebele loves photography. Her mind frames potential images everywhere she looks in her Minnesota town. Jessie is fortunate enough to find a placement at FJ Bauer’s photography studio where she burgeons into a working and professional woman whose hand at portraits and talent for putting “sitting” clients at ease prove her a natural.

I enjoyed this turn- of -the -century tale about a spunky woman who has the rare chance to make something independent of her self: regardless of the social con...more
Set in the early 1900s this Christian historical centers around Jessie Gaebele who has a heart for photography. She finds herself working for Mr. F.J. Bauer in his studio and darkroom, learning the techniques. As time passes, Mr. Bauer suffers debilitating illnesses at two separate times, leaving Jessie and her friend Voe running his studio, while he recovers at home with his wife and children. Jessie proves more than competent as she excels at both the art and business side of studio photograph...more
Jessie Gaebele is an amateur photographer in 1907, Minnesota. She loves nothing more than to take pictures of the beautiful landscape and the people she loves. When she is hired at the Bauer Studio to assist in developing photos and learning how to run the business, she knows she is headed in the right direction for her life and career.

There are hazards that come with the territory; the explosive powder used for lighting, and the toxic chemicals used for developing the prints. It is considered a...more
Jun 29, 2009 Jane rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: history lovers and romantics
This is the first book I have read by Kirkpatrick. She visited our local bookstore and I purchased an autographed copy of her book. I'm glad I did. Kirkpatrick bases her book on family history, drawing from old photographs, verbal history and documents/letters to weave a tale largely based on the lives of actual people, including her Grandmother Jessie (lead character). Jessie is a young 16 year old in the early 1900's. Raised in a family with strong Christian values, Jessie is a young lady ahea...more
Jesse is a young woman, 16 years-old living in a small town of Minnesota in the early 1900s, before the war. She is in love with photography and has found work in a portrait studio. Her passion is palpable and she has a kind though sickly boss to train her. He has numerous problems, with his unloving wife, that one son died at a young age and perhaps due to his lack of care, and that he is not very forward thinking in his insight into photography. He is against landscape or candid photography. H...more
This is a fictional biography of the author's grandmother during the first decade of the 20th century in Minnesota (while she was 15 - 18 years old). Jessie Ann Gaebele loves photography - especially landscapes - and dreams of owning her own photography business one day. As the middle sister, who has completed 8th grade, in a family that struggles financially, when it is Jessie's turn to get a job to help out, she is hired by photographer, F. J. Bauer as his assistant (along with friend, Voe Kup...more
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 settin...more
Early photography did not make use of flickering light.
The "flickering light" in the title could refer to how this young woman's burning passion to become a photographer was frequently damped by circumstances surrounding women in this era. But it also could refer to the confusion in her affairs of the heart, which also burned. Other reviews give enough of the plot. Let me just say that I found this book to be surprisingly engaging as it showed a young woman who would not admit to herself, until...more
A slow-moving story about a young woman in the early 1900s who aspires to become a photographer. Jessie Gaebele takes a job as an assistant to photographer F. J. Bauer, a man whose marriage has suffered since the accidental death of his young son. Jessie and Bauer are drawn to each other and, though they never actually commit adultery, they do share intimacy. When Jessie's secret desires are revealed to her family, she realizes she must leave town altogether to escape the temptation of forbidden...more
Georgia Herod
Well, I'm absolutely captivated by Kirkpatrick--and am headed toward reading everything she's written. Her historical fiction is rich with imagery, with characters of depth, powerful in emotion and thought, with authentic conflicts.

Jessie Gaebele is a gifted young woman who has a dream of becoming a photographer--long before women are recognized in that field. Her goals, her values, her dreams set her life in motion, when an unintended potential romance with her married employer creates moral a...more
A well-written and well-researched delight from Jane Kirkpatrick. Though I rated this five stars and loved the book immensely, I was somewhat discouraged by the temptations that played out between the two characters. Still, I enjoyed the way the author detailed this era, and I learned so much about photography during this historic period of cameras and studios.
Audiobook. This author always tells a good story. It centers around a photo studio in 1907, the owner and Jesse the female apprentice. A story of women finding a place in the work force doing something she loves, forbidden love, being weak, being strong, internal conflict and family. A strong heroine and a clean read.
Stormie Walston
Emotionally draining!! The author draws you into the life of an young girl in the early 1900's with a passion for photography. It is very interesting to learn about "old school" photography but the story quickly get's to it's main and emotionally draining focus. This book is primarily about the development of an inappropriate relationship that occurs between the young shopkeeper and her married employer (26 years her senior!). The author does "too good" of a job of depicting her thoughts, emotio...more
Jesse's quest to support her family and learn photography engaged me, but what I found most compelling was the story of her relationship with her employer, as two honorable people with the best of intentions come dangerously close to crossing the line. A much harder story to write than either a traditional love story with a happy ending, or a sordid tale of unbridled passion.

The author always sets her historical novels in beautifully constructed and well-researched settings. Her descriptions of...more
Annie Riley
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
I really appreciate Jane Kirkpatrick's ability to write good historical fiction. I have enjoyed most of her past novels of this same genre, and this one didn't disappoint either. The real life character she researches and creates a story around in this book is her own grandmother, Jessie Ann Gaebele - a young photographer in the early 1900s(a time period in which photography was an emerging art form and women photographers were very rare). I love the way she incorporates accurate details from th...more
As my daughter, along with her husband, has a photography business, I was curious about life as a woman photographer in the early 1900's. This book is the 1st book in a new series by Jane Kirkpatrick. It was different than her usual format, I thought. It is based on the life of her great-grandmother, but Ms. Kirkpatrick filled in the blanks using her imagination. Historical fiction, I suppose you would call it. Besides learning about the difficulties of being a young woman who wanted to pursue a...more
Jun 08, 2014 Betty rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Anyone who enjoys historical fiction
I would recommend all of Jane Kirkpatricks' books.
My best read of 2009! Jane Kirkaptrick has done a masterful job in this creative non-fiction story of her grandmother, a woman with ambition to be a photographer in an era when few women managed such a career. Jane's research makes the story real. I felt I walked the street of Winona, Minnesota with her grandmother's young self. Jane's writing, as usual, is beautiful. I look forward to the next installment in this story. Jane's work is instructive for my own writing as I seek to build snippets o...more
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