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While We're Far Apart [Kindle Edition]

Lynn Austin
4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (514 customer reviews)

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Book Description

In an unassuming apartment building in Brooklyn, New York, three lives intersect as the reality of war invades each aspect of their lives. Young Esther is heartbroken when her father decides to enlist in the army shortly after the death of her mother. Penny Goodrich has been in love with Eddie Shaffer for as long as she can remember; now that Eddie's wife is dead, Penny feels she has been given a second chance and offers to care for his children in the hope that he will finally notice her and marry her after the war. And elderly Mr. Mendel, the landlord, waits for the war to end to hear what has happened to his son trapped in war-torn Hungary.

But during the long, endless wait for victory overseas, life on the home front will go from bad to worse. Yet these characters will find themselves growing and changing in ways they never expected--and ultimately discovering truths about God's love...even when He is silent.

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Austin loves to blend storytelling and interesting history, with her newest novel no exception. She sets her characters in one New York City apartment building during the difficult years of WWII. Esther Shaffer, 12, mourns her dead mother and now faces her father enlisting in the army; Penny Goodrich, long in love with Eddie Shaffer, volunteers to care for his children, hoping to marry Eddie when he returns; and Jacob Mendel, a Jewish widower, struggles to find Hashem (God) amid his loss. Their lives intersect as Jacob rediscovers his faith, Penny discovers her past and her future, and Esther begins to understand life and love. Add family drama, D-Day, the Holocaust, arson, and young love, and you'll see why Austin is so popular. While her story is entertaining, it lacks the narrative flow of some of her other work; her characters grow and change, but the story reads more like a history lesson than a novel. Still, readers will find much to enjoy.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

About the Author

Lynn Austin, a former teacher who now writes and speaks full time, has won five Christy Awards for her historical fiction. One of those novels, Hidden Places, has also been made into a Hallmark Channel movie. Lynn and her husband have raised three children and make their home near Chicago, Illinois.

Product Details

  • File Size: 569 KB
  • Print Length: 416 pages
  • Publisher: Bethany House Publishers; 1 edition (October 1, 2010)
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B004A90610
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Lending: Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #189,661 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

4.7 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
45 of 50 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent Read November 19, 2010
Loved it, loved it, loved it! Lynn Austin has a way of picturing a scene that simply draws you in. She has the ability to describe an event in such concise detail without the usual "fluff" that many writers bore me with. I could not put down the book. This was the first time I've read Lynn Austin, but it certainly will not be the last. Karen Lynch
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36 of 40 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Classic November 15, 2010
While We're Far Apart by Lynn Austin is a wonderful story. I've mentioned before how much I love "war stories" and this is a love story during WWII. This story gives a good perspective of the history of that era, and it paints a good picture. Austin is an amazing writer, and this is the kind of story that I will read again down the road. A classic in the making. Classics are the books you want to read over and over again. And with this book , I do.
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41 of 50 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Too depressing for too long May 1, 2011
This book is about 3 families and their struggles during WWII. A Jewish man is mad at God for taking his wife. Two children are traumatized by their mothers death and decision by their Dad to go to war. Adult Penny and her sister were verbally abused by their parents. This book was really hard to read because of the emotional pounding everyone gets for the first half of the book. No bright spots, just emotional beating after beating. It lightens up a little after that, and the last 3 chapters everything was tied up in a tidy bow. Except for the Jewish man, I felt that all of the trauma was too easily overcome and settled. This is not one of Lynn Austin's better books, it was a relief when I finally got to the end.
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48 of 61 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars WHILE WE'RE FAR APART September 23, 2010
The novel opens in Brooklyn, New York in the fall of 1943 during WWII. Eddie Schaffer age 33 and his two children, 12-year-old Esther and 9-year-old Peter live in a small apartment upstairs from their landlord, Jacob Mendel. A year prior, Eddie's wife Rachel was killed together with his landlord's wife, Miriam. Eddie is having difficulty coping with Rachel's death and decides to enlist in the army throwing the entire family for a loop. The children had already lost their mother and feared losing their father in battle.

Eddie's mother, Grandma Shaffer, lives next door to the Goodrich family who has a daughter Penny, aged 24. Penny's parents are older, quite strict and have sheltered Penny her entire life, always telling her she had no more sense than a green bean. As a result poor Penny suffers from terrible fear of being on her own and afraid of the world at large, although she holds a job as a ticket agent at the local bus station. Unbeknownst to Eddie, Penny has had a crush on him for years and years and always wished Eddie had married her instead of Rachel. She cried her eyes out when she learned Eddie was getting married.

Now enlisted in the Army and ready to head off for basic training, Eddie needs someone to care for young Esther and Peter. His own mother, Grandma Shaffer is adamant that there is no way possible she can look after two young children and is completely dead set against Eddie enlisting but Eddie had already enlisted sending Grandma into quite a dramatic tizzy. Penny steps forward and offers to care for the children herself with her underlying motive being that Eddie will fall in love with her and marry HER this time.
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
By rachel
Over the weekend, I described Lynn Austin's recent book, While We're Far Apart, like an intricate symphony. It begins with a rather straightforward melody: Penny watches as the man she pines for leaves for War on the eve of the American involvement in WWII and offers recklessly to take care of his two motherless children in hopes of securing his love upon his return from duty.

Shaking feelings of worthlessness long instilled from her over-bearing parents, Penny steps outside the front door of the house she has always lived in and charges toward a new future.

On the eve of his departure, widowed Eddie tries to ignore the pleas of his two young children begging him to stay. They don't want Penny to move into their Brooklyn Apartment and usurp their dead mother's space. They, instead, want their father to stay home from the war.

Eddie leaves to converse with Jacob Mendel, his Jewish landlord and another tune strings in.

Jacob's wife Miriam and Eddie's wife Rachel were both killed in the same untimely accident. As ramification, Jacob has lost his faith in Hashem ---- God seems so far away although the rabbi and his wife try desperately to tug the former elder back to the life of the synagogue.

And then, climactically and with discordance, the local synagogue is prey to an act of arson and a seemingly faraway hatred is brandished like a cymbal- jolt into the present.

The tune evokes a haunting change as more instruments are melded into each deft cadence and more bars are added to prolong the unraveling symphony.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
one of Austin's best
Published 13 days ago by C J
5.0 out of 5 stars Great book
Loved this book so heart warming
Published 16 days ago by Jo Ann Adams
5.0 out of 5 stars Lynn Austin is one of my favorite authors and this is a good example...
Lynn Austin is one of my favorite authors and this is a good example of why. Her characters always become friends.
Published 16 days ago by upgram
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
I like it very much!
Published 21 days ago by Han Chongkai
5.0 out of 5 stars great book
This book had all of the characteristics of a very good read: plot, character development, suspense, and a good resolution. Read more
Published 1 month ago by Technology Nerd
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Book
Great Book! Easy to Read
Published 1 month ago by LAJEANA HALL
5.0 out of 5 stars While We're Far Apart
Awesome story! I enjoyed every aspect of this story especially being a part of the growth of each character as they recognized their weaknesses and strengths. Read more
Published 1 month ago by jhall
4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars
A very good read! Highly recommend for anyone who likes reading about history mixed with fiction.
Published 1 month ago by Toni Clark
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent, engrossing, thoroughly enjoyable
A great story, historical fiction at its best. It's so easy to identify with the characters, and the plot is so well-developed that I could hardly put it down. Read more
Published 1 month ago by Freda Welch
4.0 out of 5 stars Good storyline along with historical information about this difficult...
Good storyline along with historical information about this difficult time. This book gave me new understanding of what life was like for Jewish Americans during WW II.
Published 1 month ago by Sharon W.
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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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