Monday, April 27, 2009

Book Tour: Flickering Light and Aurora by Jane Kirkpatrick

"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." (from the publisher)

My thoughts : I had never read anything by this author before, but I certainly will now. From the very beginning of the book I was hooked. Kirkpatrick is the consummate story teller, writing with exquisite descriptions and having the ability to set the reader right in the scene with the characters. This book is a beautiful period piece with great attention to details of the time. The author also has the moral temperament and mindset of the day written to perfection. I was totally immersed in the world of 1907 as I followed Jesse in her daily life. Such a serious young lady with a big dream in a time when women's options were strictly limited. They certainly didn't imagine themselves travelling the world or having their own photographic studio!

Kirkpatrick lets the reader right into the hearts and minds of her characters. It was very easy to sense their feelings and thoughts. F. J. Bauer, the photographer Jesse worked for, and his family were very well fleshed out. Mrs. Bauer, in particular, I found to be a fascinating character. Her little dramas and posturing along with her emotional coldness added such dimension to the story. All her actions evoked such reactions in the other characters. All the peripheral characters were also written very well, adding greatly to the tale.

Of particular interest is the author's note regarding her family at the end of the book and the photographs in the story. I really enjoyed the book and would highly recommend it. 4****

For more info on the book please visit the Random House website.

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.

My thoughts: This is truly a book to savor. What a gorgeous depiction of Americana with a treasure trove of photos. The Aurora Colony produced not only useful items but imbued them with a sense of timelessness and beauty. A little bit of themselves was put into every craft. For more info on the book, please visit the Random House website

Author info: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.


  1. Wow! Both of those books sound fantastic!

  2. They sound really interesting Kaye.

    There's a sweet award waiting for you at my blog. Come get it :)

  3. Thank you, Kaye, for taking the time to read my books. I'm so pleased that your first taste of my work makes you want to read others I've written. That's terrific. Enjoy your retirement in Florida. Our daughter lives there and will never leave...we're in Oregon. Happy reading and thank you for featuring the titles. Warmly, Jane

  4. Great to hear that you enjoyed both these books, Kaye! Of the two, I think Flickering Light is the one I'd most enjoy. My father was once very into developing his own pictures. I remember being allowed in his dark-room on occasion to watch images appear like magic in those chemical solutions.

    I know my step-mother would love the Aurora one!

    Thanks for reviewing these, I'll be on the look-out for both.

  5. I've already added Flickering Light to my list from a post I read earlier today. Nice to see another positive review :)

  6. Drooling over the quilt book....


Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.