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Until We Reach Home [Kindle Edition]

Lynn Austin
4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (233 customer reviews)

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Book Description

Life in Sweden feels like an endless winter to Elin Carlson after the deaths of her parents. When circumstances become unbearable, she determines to find a safe haven for her sisters.

So begins their journey to America . . . the land of dreams and second chances.

But as hardship becomes their constant companion, Elin, Kirsten, and Sofia question their decision to immigrate to Chicago. Will their hopes for the future ever be realized?


A Christy Award Winner

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

In 1897, the promise of the gold-paved streets of America can heal the broken hearts and lives of orphans Elin, Kirsten and Sofia Carlson, if only they survive the transatlantic trip from Sweden. Family secrets—ranging from the disgrace of suicide to shameful relations—churn like the ocean itself during a two-week crossing, only to haunt the girls after they reach Ellis Island. From the first sighting of Lady Liberty through their travails to reach a newly rebuilt Chicago, the girls discover their strengths, a variety of new acquaintances and, most importantly, each other. And while they quickly experience the immigrant's harsh realities, they also find a way to make a life in their new world. Complete with room for happily-ever-after, this rich tale will not disappoint historical romance fans. Austin, three-time Christy Award winner, scores again with an engrossing tale of loss, determination and hope. (Oct.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.


"Austin, three-time Christy Award winner, scores again with an engrossing tale of loss, determination and hope." --Publishers Weekly Oct. 2008

"Fans of inspirational historical fiction will enjoy Austin's tale...." -- Cindy Crosby,

"Until We Reach Home gave me a new appreciation for the struggles immigrants go through ... a good read!" --Lindsey Freitas,

"As usual Lynn Austin plucks the heartstrings of readers with her vivid prose and characters that leap to life...." -- Melissa Meeks,

"...Lynn Austin ... write[s] characters whose lives mirror real life no matter what time period she is writing from." --The Sleepy Reader (

Product Details

  • File Size: 901 KB
  • Print Length: 436 pages
  • Publisher: Bethany House Publishers (October 1, 2008)
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B009NVPJ26
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Lending: Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #71,647 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

4.7 out of 5 stars
4.7 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
34 of 35 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Hard to put down romantic historical November 15, 2008
This story had so much intrigue, suspense, peril, yearning, hope, and faith in the midst of trials that it truly inspired me. The faith journey was SO believeable. The pain they went through made a lot of sense, and I truly felt for them. My heart grieved right along with them. I found myself thinking about the story all the time until I could steal away and read more. That, to me, is the sign of a fabulous read.

I am a real sucker for romance, which is sprinkled generously throughout the book, too. Plus, the heartache and pain resulting from dysfunctional situations and sin is portrayed realistically. While not edgy in regards to the details, Ms. Austin did a magnificent job of making me care about their pain and showing how deeply they hurt. Yet she balance that by showing how that makes them love more deeply as well.

In my opinion Ms. Austin is one of the best historical fiction authors at putting her characters in impossible situations and showing how God provides a way in the midst of heartache. She shows how God allows it to make His children grow in faith, and that He is always there even if He doesn't always take away the hardship and pain. And He can transform even the hardest of hearts when people love Him and each other like the Scriptures say.

The relationship that Sophia developed with Ludwig was so amazing it took my breath away. I NEVER would've thought to draw out the character's faith and introduce them to true love through sharing God's Word the way the author managed to do. And to use the Bible as a tool to communicate between their languages was brilliant. This tender relationship was beautifully developed and one of my favorite parts of the story. It made my heart sing!

I can't say enough good things about this story. I'm definitely putting this book on my list of favorites for 2008!
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18 of 20 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Amazing, inspiring story! September 20, 2008
Lynn Austin never fails to amaze me as a writer. She writes in the most amazing way and never disappoints. I kept hoping that the book was not going to end. I was so drawn into each next chapter that it was next to impossible to put down. This book had so many wonderful examples of the kind of relationship that one can truly have with Jesus Christ. I think anyone would enjoy this story. It made me laugh, it made me cry, it truly drew me into the plot. A must read!!
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars An Epic Adventure from Lynn Austin June 16, 2011
It didn't take many pages for me to be drawn into the plight of Elin and her sisters - Kirsten and Sofia. After losing their parents, their Uncle took over their farm and made life unbearable for Elin as she tried to protect her sisters from him. Finally, when she decides to escape to America to live with her mother's favorite brother who had left for America years ago, their hard journey to America and freedom began.

I loved reading about the three sisters during their journey to America and how, even though they had their differences and dark secrets, they stuck together through it all. They grew so much after reaching America - even shy, dependent Sofia - the baby of the family - changed on the trip to America and established a career for herself so that she could help provide for her sisters.

There were 2 parts that I would urge caution for some younger readers. The reason Elin made her sisters leave with her to America was because of what her Uncle did to her and what he was about to do to her sister, Sofia. When she discovered her Uncle's eyes were beginning to turn from her to her younger sister, she imminently knew she had to leave America. Nothing is explicit or even plainly said, but what Elin had to endure at the hand of her Uncle is alluded to several times.

Another point of caution is that one of the sisters mistakenly ends up pregnant. Nothing is explained, except for when the sister begins to get sick and the doctor announces she is pregnant. At that time in history - 1897 - it was a scandal to have a child out of wedlock, and the sister has to live with her foolish actions. So, in some ways, it was a good lesson to show that actions have consequences. But, as I said, Austin handles everything so well that nothing is inappropriate.
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9 of 11 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Very good but slow May 20, 2009
After reading Hidden Places and A Woman's Place, neither of which I could put down, I found this book a bit of a disappointment. The characters were not as well rounded as they could've been, their reactions to events too predictable and repetitious, and the continual hiding of secrets between Kirsten and Elin tiresome. I wanted to shake them and tell them to spit them out and get on with it. While I wasn't as pleased with this book as I'd hoped, I'm continuing to read others of Ms. Austin's because overall, I like her stories.
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22 of 30 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Agonizingly Repetitive April 11, 2009
After having suffered through this book, I came to Amazon to see if everyone else was as miserable as I had been during the process. I was surprised to see all the glowing reviews. The story line was perhaps a nice idea, but the book should have been half the length. I can't ever remember reading a book in which the plot/problem was restated as many times as it was in this story, and I was finally reduced to yelling, "Enough already!" at the audiobook narrator by halfway through the book, as one or another character agonized yet again that she "just couldn't" share this or that secret or allow something to happen, why she couldn't return to Sweden (like we'd forgotten?), or even worse, talk to strangers in a country where the girls didn't know a soul. Right... Bethany House could stand to add an editor or two to their staff to help condense repetitive prose like this to a tightly written novel. Interesting concept for a story, and it could have been enjoyable, but as it stands, I'm reminded very much school year tricks of employing redundancy in order to reach a required word count for an assignment.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars Great
Very good book. Has good lessons about faith, true love, and trust. Definitely for more mature readers.
Published 7 days ago by Sweet Cupcake
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
great story
Published 10 days ago by C J
5.0 out of 5 stars I really loved this book
I really loved this book, but I wish it was part of a series. I'm anxious to know what happened to the characters in this book afterward. Read more
Published 12 days ago by Mossie
5.0 out of 5 stars A great historical book about faith, love, and home
I don't read a ton of fiction books but when I do, be sure that a book this long would not hold my attention if it wasn't good. Read more
Published 1 month ago by Melinda Lancaster
5.0 out of 5 stars Until we reach home
Wonderful story. I kept waiting to see what was going to happen to the Swedish sisters. Loved this book...kept your interest the entire time. Read more
Published 1 month ago by Kindle Customer
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Historical Story!
I loved this book! An interesting story of three sisters immigranting from Sweden to America in 1897. So many difficulties to face from steerage to illness. Read more
Published 1 month ago by Christine
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Good story -- as always with Lynn Austin
Published 2 months ago by K.A.Rasmussen
5.0 out of 5 stars It is like following three separate life stories that embody the three...
This story chronicles the transition of three sisters from their home to their life in the U.S. It is like following three separate life stories that embody the three different... Read more
Published 2 months ago by kdee
5.0 out of 5 stars wonderful
The ending gave me a chills. Is there a sequel? I loved this book! It really brought to life the struggles immigrants went through coming to America
Published 2 months ago by Nell Kendall
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
This book won't disappoint!
Published 2 months ago by Debbie
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More About the Author

For many years, Lynn Austin nurtured a desire to write but frequent travels and the demands of her growing family postponed her career. When her husband's work took Lynn to Bogota, Colombia, for two years, she used the B.A. she'd earned at Southern Connecticut State University to become a teacher. After returning to the U.S., the Austins moved to Anderson, Indiana, Thunder Bay, Ontario, and later to Winnipeg, Manitoba.

It was during the long Canadian winters at home with her children that Lynn made progress on her dream to write, carving out a few hours of writing time each day while her children napped. Lynn credits her early experience of learning to write amid the chaos of family life for her ability to be a productive writer while making sure her family remains her top priority.

Extended family is also very important to Austin, and it was a lively discussion between Lynn, her mother, grandmother, and daughter concerning the change in women's roles through the generations that sparked the inspiration for her novel Eve's Daughters.

Along with reading, two of Lynn's lifelong passions are history and archaeology. While researching her Biblical fiction series, Chronicles of the Kings, these two interests led her to pursue graduate studies in Biblical Backgrounds and Archaeology through Southwestern Theological Seminary. She and her son traveled to Israel during the summer of 1989 to take part in an archaeological dig at the ancient city of Timnah. This experience contributed to the inspiration for her novel Wings of Refuge.

Lynn resigned from teaching to write full-time in 1992. Since then she has published twelve novels. Eight of her historical novels have won Christy Awards for excellence in Christian Fiction: Hidden Places (2001), Candle in the Darkness (2002), Fire by Night (2003), A Proper Pursuit (2007), Until We Reach Home (2008), Though Waters Roar (2009) While We're Far Apart (2010), and Wonderland Creek (2011). Fire by Night was also one of only five inspirational fiction books chosen by Library Journal for their top picks of 2003, and All She Ever Wanted was chosen as one of the five inspirational top picks of 2005. Lynn's novel Hidden Places has been made into a movie for the Hallmark Channel, starring actress Shirley Jones. Ms Jones received a 2006 Emmy Award nomination for her portrayal of Aunt Batty in the film.

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