Monday, April 27, 2009

Book Reviews

A Flickering Light is a novel by Jane Kirkpatrick regarding a young woman’s desire to follow her passion to have a career in photography at the turn of the 20th century when (1) young women didn’t have careers and (2) photography was dangerous for a man with its use of chemicals and flashpowder and all but forbidden for a woman. The story’s protagonist, Jessie, also has to battle the attraction she feels for her employer, teacher and mentor, an unhappily married man. A Flickering Light is a coming of age story in a historical setting at a time when women were hardly main characters in their own lives! I thought this book was fascinating from the standpoint that we take photography for granted nowadays with 6 year olds publishing digital pictures on the worldwide web. It was interesting to see how the artform, industry and technology evolved and to see it from the point of a young "women’s libber" struggling to be a “good” daughter in early 1900s was fascinating.

Unfortunately, I do not have a copy of A Flickering Light to give away, but you can purchase it from your favorite booksellers and from Random House here:

Below is the summary from the publisher:


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.

Aurora by Jane Kirkpatrick recounts the true story of a utopian commune established in the 1800s. The pioneers left their homes in Missouri to the Pacific Northwest under the societal and religious leadership of Wilhelm Keil. Jane Kirkpatrick’s telling of the tale is supplemented with numerous historical pictures of the people and landscape – and their quilts that chronicled their history. If you love history, pioneer stories or quilting, this book is for you! Unfortunately, I don’t have any copies to give away, but you can buy it from your favorite bookseller or from Random House here:
Below is the summary from the publisher:

Wrap yourself in a fantastic journey, a remarkable commitment, and a spare and splendid story

Master storyteller Jane Kirkpatrick extols the beautiful treasures, unknown to a wider public, rediscovered in the Old Aurora Colony of Oregon’s lush Willamette Valley. The people and legacy of Aurora, a utopian community founded in the mid-1800s, will stir your imagination, hopes, and dreams; and remind you that every life matters—that our lives are the stories other people read first.

- Unique and treasured quilt pattern variations
- More than 100 photographs, many never-before published, from 1850 to today
- Cherished stories from Aurora descendants
- Rich images of fine crafts from the Aurora Colony and private collections
- An introduction by renowned American artist John Houser

Aurora is about the difference every ordinary life can make—and a beautiful celebration of a time and place in which people expressed their most cherished beliefs through the work of their imagination and hands.

Author Bio:
Jane Kirkpatrick is a best-selling, award-winning author whose previous historical novels include All Together in One Place and Christy Award finalist A Tendering in the Storm. An international keynote speaker, she has earned regional and national recognition for her stories based on the lives of actual people, including the prestigious Wrangler Award from the Western Heritage Hall of Fame. Jane is a Wisconsin native who since 1974 has lived in Eastern Oregon, where she and her husband, Jerry, ranch 160 rugged acres.

REMINDER: I do have two copies of Ten Dumb Things Smart Christians Believe by Larry Osborne to give away. To enter the random drawing, e-mail me at The winners will be announced tomorrow, April 28, 2009.

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