It is the turn of the nineteenth century, and Jessie Gaebele is in love with photography. She loves the intricacies of taking the photo, developing it in the darkroom, and the new art of touching them up. She has recently taken a job as the assistant at the town studio, where she meets FJ Bauer, a quiet photographer who shares her love of the camera. But he cannot share with her the love they want to have because he is married with two children. Every time Jessie tries to cut her ties with the attractive man, she assures herself that nothing will happen between them. Her parents are afraid for her heart and for her future because they do not strongly believe that a woman should go into photography. Jessie feels herself even more pulled in different directions when they take her special needs brother to the Mayo clinic to diagnose his problem. Though Jessie's future is uncertain, one thing is certain-she loves a married man, and he loves her. The question is, what will they do about it?
I was skeptical about Jane Kirkpatrick until someone recommended this book because of its realistic characters. I've always said that authors should write about circumstances that really happened if all they're going to write about is unrealistic situations. This is the story of Jane's grandmother, and this plot is successful because it is realistic. And this plot is only realistic because it is based on a true story.
Since there are few characters, Jane had the chance to give each one a personality. Good characters are key in this sort of plot because the plot is very simple. With this type of plot, the characters have nothing to hide behind and are exposed for what they truly are. In any everyday setting, there must be good characters. Jane Kirkpatrick delivered. Jessie is a good lead, as is FJ. Jessie's siblings and FJ's wife are also good characters. Jane no doubt used the same personalities as they were in real life, which is another advantage to writing about real circumstances.
The best thing an author can do with an everyday plot is use the situations to reveal characters' personalities and write a good end. Jane did both of these. Jane no doubt used things that truly happened in her grandmother's life to shape her plot. And such an end could not have been completely fabricated. The end is all based on the wrong choices of Jessie and FJ. The outcome of these choices produces a realistic and believable end. There were so many other directions Jane could have chosen had this book not been based on her grandmother's life. There was no way she could avoid something that really happened.
Basically, there is nothing wrong with this book. This is just another example of the things an author can accomplish all in the name of a book based on a true story.