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While We're Far Apart Paperback – Bargain Price, October 1, 2010

4.7 out of 5 stars 588 customer reviews

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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.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 416 pages
  • Publisher: Bethany House Publishers; 1 edition (October 1, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0764204971
  • ASIN: B0054U5GPU
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.9 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12.8 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (588 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,430,209 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
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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Format: Paperback
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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Format: Paperback
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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Format: Paperback
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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Format: Paperback
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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