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While We're Far Apart

4.16  ·  Rating details ·  6,885 ratings  ·  745 reviews
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 ...more
Paperback, 411 pages
Published October 1st 2010 by Bethany House Publishers
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Average rating 4.16  · 
Rating details
 ·  6,885 ratings  ·  745 reviews

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2.75 stars

First off, Esther's parts drove me batty and almost made me put the book down. I would have said she was 7 or 8 instead of 12 because of the immature and whiny tone she began the book with. Apparently she'd been living under some sort of shell for the first two years of the war and didn't know that men couldn't just decide to stay home after enlisting? Then she jumped straight from little kid to wanting a big, handsome boy to take her to the movies and thinking about kissing him. This
Oct 07, 2011 rated it it was amazing
While We're Far Apart by Lynn Austin will definitely be considered as a boring book by many who judge a book only after reading a couple of chapters but for those who actually invest their time and energy to it, they will find it all worthwhile in the end. This book is emotional and will leave you thinking long after you're done with it. I don't read a lot of books that have that kind of impression on me and so that's why I consider this a very good read. You know you are reading a good book ...more
Jan 19, 2013 rated it it was amazing
I often take breaks from reading about WW2 because of the emotional ride I undergo. But, this book was special. The perspective of the characters was different than most WW2 stories since the main characters were in America. Jacob Mendel is a Jew who is stricken with grief as he awaits news from his Jewish family last heard from in Hungary. His tenants live above him and are two young, Christian children anxious for their father's return from the war. Their sheltered and naive neighbor, Penny, ...more
Cathy Daniel
Jan 04, 2016 rated it it was amazing
My new favorite book! I was completely enthralled by this story and the characters! I love how it all wrapped together and came together in the end. I read most of this book with a tight throat and tears. I can't believe I waited so long to read this amazing book. It really reinforces how when God is silent, it doesn't mean He's not working or there. He working behind the scenes and turning it all into good and it all has purpose.
Sep 23, 2010 rated it it was amazing
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 ...more
Margaret Metz
Oct 12, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
What I love about Lynn Austin is that she makes history come alive in her books. I haven't always been the biggest fan of books set in this era -- simply because there was so much devastation and heartbreak - so much evil that I have a hard time reading them. This book manages to deal with the issues from perspectives that most of the books I've read haven't before. It's deep, thoughtful, complex, and - in many ways - beautiful.

My first love in books is characters and these are some of the
May 11, 2019 rated it really liked it
4.5 stars
Apr 15, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: challenges-2014
SUMMARY: 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 ...more
Aug 15, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is the first book by Lynn Austin that I have read. I truly enjoyed the storyline and I could identify with Penny quite a bit, having been raised by a mother and grandmother who were very much like Penny's parents (except for the anti-Semitism). I would have given the book five stars, but I believe the author did not do a very good job at wrapping up the different characters' stories after the war ended. One other flaw marred the book for me: in Chapter 48, the author made a few errors ...more
Sarah Sundin
Aug 08, 2011 rated it it was amazing
A beautifully told World War II Home Front story with interesting characters. I appreciated the truthful and sensitive acknowledgement of anti-Semitism in wartime America.
Great story, it touched me. The storytelling was, as always, amazing by Lynn Austin. She knows how to write stories and characters very well. Their pain and joy was felt throughout.

The only issue I really had with this book was that Jesus was missing. He wasn't there. The whole time I was hoping that the Jewish people in the book would get to know Jesus. Especially since they were spending a lot of time with Christians. And here is even talk about such conflicts, but all the Christians seem
Alice Bola
Nov 07, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
There is a lot I want to say about this novel. First is if I had know it was faith-infused historical fiction, I wouldn't have read it. I downloaded this novel for two reasons: it was a Kindle freebie and it's set during World War II. When I started reading it, I didn't know the story would unfold the way it did. The next thing I want to say is good thing I didn't know what I was getting into because this was one of the best novels I read this year.

The novel begins when Eddie, widower and father
It wasn't until I was 98% done with the book that I finally got some respect for Penny. For 98% of the book however I despised her. She was incredibly annoying, and the whole premise of her creeping on this widower (who was married for at least 13 years….come on now! Wouldn't you think at some point she would let go of her crush on a MARRIED man and move on?!) was just disturbing. The fact that she went around telling people they were dating was creepy. She was also incredibly childish for a 24 ...more
An alright read, more like 2 1/2 stars. I usually enjoy books by Lynn Austin but I struggled with this one. The writing felt awkward, juggling several characters and their storylines and then adding to the mix were the WW2 details and lastly a good mingling of Jewish traditions. It was as awkward as my trying to write that sentence! I did feel relieved when the book ended, not a good sign.
Feb 07, 2019 rated it really liked it
Loved this book! I bought this e-book about 4 years ago and for some reason, just couldn't get myself to read it. I'm so glad I finally did. It was fantastic! I was drawn into the lives of the characters almost from the first page. It is a book about hope, faith, unanswered prayers, friendship, love, family, and so much more. I loved how the author brought in aspects of religious faith (both Jewish and Christian) without it coming across as preachy. The story flowed so well, yet I still wasn't ...more
May 01, 2019 rated it really liked it
This is the second book from this Author and I really enjoyed this book as well. I loved learning more about the Jewish religion and the easy flow of this book made the learning and the story fly by. Great character development.
Apr 05, 2019 rated it liked it
Cute but forgettable.
Betty Ast
Dec 31, 2019 rated it it was amazing
A wonderful book!!! I loved it!
Aug 23, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2019
#11 of #14Books14Weeks was also my 100th book for this year. It seems fitting it was a Lynn Austin book Lynn Austin is a fabulous author and I've been lucky to be on a couple of her launch teams! I always find that her books really touch my heart . Historical Christian fiction at its finest in this book set during world war II spanning generations and countries. Wonderful! ...more
This is a unique story that hits upon so many different issues. At times while reading, I would think there is SO much going on in the story...why am I not lost? I was never once lost and it's because the author brilliantly relates only what we need to know. There is very little blabber in this book...that is a rarity. Every part of it was important to the different parts of the story.
This book raises so many important topics. It takes place in Manhatten during WWII, so it touches on how the war
Rachel Thompson
Dec 09, 2011 rated it really liked it
I downloaded this book for free for my Sony reader. I marked down that this is a christian romance, but that's a tentative genre listing given that it also focuses heavily on Judaism and there isn't much romance in the book.

Penny has been in love with her next door neighbor's son, Eddie, forever, so when he announces that he's enlisted to help in the war effort, she volunteers to watch his two kids while he's gone. His mother is too old and unwilling to bend to provide Esther and Peter with a
Nov 10, 2011 rated it really liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Shari Larsen
Oct 12, 2011 rated it it was amazing
This novel is a well done blend of storytelling and history. The story is set in an apartment building in Brooklyn during World War 2.
Three very different people end up with their lives intertwined: 12 year old Esther, who just lost her mother a year before, is unhappy with her father leaving to enlist in the Army; 24 year old Penny who grew up next door to Esther's father Eddie, and has always had a crush on him, she volunteers to take care of Esther and her 9 year old brother Peter, hoping
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Oct 26, 2010 rated it liked it
I really didn't know what to expect when I checked out this book. The author Lynn Austin had been recommended to me by a friend and when I saw this book highlighted on our local library's homepage I thought I would try it. It is a story set in the middle of WWII from the perspective of a woman in New York who has agreed to watch the children of a man who is a widower while he goes off to war. She has known this man most of her life and been in love with him just as long though he is not aware of ...more
Janna Ryan
Nov 22, 2010 rated it really liked it
I love Lynn Austin's writings, she knows how to bring historical fiction to life. I always love her characters and the time periods that are brought alive, but this one struck me as odd. The "main character" is Penny, but I don't like her. I thought, "Really? Why such an unlikeable character? I really want to like this book but not with this character!" I did stick with the book and it soon became evident that the real story was about Penny's transformation throughout the story. It turns out ...more
Lynn Austin develops compelling characters, and in this work uses the backdrop of WWII to illustrate our struggles with the silence of God.

As a side note: I don't like the marketing of Austin's books. I didn't read the back of the book until I was done, an approach I will take with all future works by Lynn Austin. I have two problems with the book covers: 1) The writing is poor and gives the impression that Austin's work is merely cheesy Christian Romance. It is not. She has romance story lines,
Jan 17, 2018 rated it really liked it
While We’re Far Apart is a lovely faith-based story. The message I took from the book as was taught using the story of Esther in the Bible is that sometimes we think God doesn’t care or isn’t helping, but He is always there working for our benefit. We need to keep praying and have faith.
The story follows Esther and Peter a sister and brother whose mother recently died and now their father is leaving to join the army. Penny, a family friend, who offered to take care of the children and has many
Sep 29, 2014 rated it it was amazing
I just finished this book in the Walmart parking lot after dropping my kids off for school, that's how much I couldn't put it down. This book was good in so many ways. Touching, sad, hopeful, tender, and enlightening. One of the most thought-provoking books I've ever read, but without being overly complicated itself. I found myself pausing in between reads to think about what I just read. Having read a few other WWII era books, I appreciated how the author wove the Jewish and Christian ...more
Erin Odom
Feb 27, 2019 rated it really liked it
I wasn't sure I liked this book until 60% of the way through, but I'm so glad I kept reading! One of the main characters, Penny, seems really creepy for the first half of the book, but keep reading because she goes through a beautiful transformation. The ending is pretty predictable, but it's still a sweet story. I didn't like Penny at first, but I was cheering for her by the end.

I felt like the novel was really well-researched with accurate historical facts, which I appreciated.

I also enjoyed
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Sinopsis en Español // Synopsis in Spanish 1 5 Dec 21, 2014 09:24AM  
Christian Fiction...: Book of the Month - While We're Far Apart by Lynn Austin 43 97 Jan 29, 2014 11:32PM  

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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 ...more
“Happiness is something that comes from our own hearts, not from other people.” 53 likes
“You know what I wish? I wish I could put time in a bottle and throw it into the ocean. Then I would have forever to spend with you. I wouldn’t need air to breathe or food to eat. Holding you in my arms would be all the food I would need. Having your love would be the only air I would need to breathe.” 20 likes
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