Jane Kirkpatrick wrote two fascinating, yet diametrically opposite books. In A Flickering Light, Kirkpatrick gives us a glimpse of life in the early 1900's (1907). It is rich with history and emotion as a young woman, 15 year old, Jessie Ann Gaebele seeks to enter a profession which was considered a man’s profession and a dangerous one: photography. Her passion is taking pictures, but it is dangerous, as the photographer has to mix toxic chemicals, and use the flash powder for lighting.
The realism and imagery were striking as Jessie Ann must deal with women’s rights or lack of rights in the early 1900's, adding to that, the profession and passion she enjoyed was a man’s profession. On top of that, Jessie was infatuated with her mentor and employer, F.J. Bauer, who is unhappily married and has an attraction for Jessie Ann. Bauer enjoys Jessie Ann’s enthusiasm and passion for his first love, photography, and the attention she gives him. But he has his unhappy marriage to hold onto.
Irregardless of the social constraints, stern parents, dysfunctional family systems, Jessie Ann seeks to make it into a world which is not ready for a young woman like her. Part of the beauty of the story is the fact that Kirkpatrick is utilizing her own family history to help this story come alive.
A great book to read.
You can find A Flickering Light at
The second book I am reviewing is Aurora by Jane Kirkpatrick . . .
This book was equally rich in history, but Kirkpatrick tells a very story which was equally rich but moves in an entirely different direction. Aurora, was filled with historical pictures of quilts made between 1850-1900; along with pictures of the people who were from the Aurora Colony.
The Aurora Colony was comprised of a German Christian commune founded in the mid 1800's in the Willamette Valley of Oregon. This is a true society that Kirkpatrick recounts of an attempt of these German Christians to develop a utopian commune. They had left their homes in Missouri, moving across the USA to the Pacific Northwest under the societal and religious leadership of Wilhelm Keil. They worked together and lived together as they sought to follow the two Great commands of Jesus, to love God and love one another. They sought to make their society better by the way they lived their lives.
This would be a great gift book for someone who loves quilting and / or is of German descent.
You can find this book at