Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “While We're Far Apart” as Want to Read:
While We're Far Apart
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

While We're Far Apart

4.15  ·  Rating details ·  6,337 Ratings  ·  699 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 fe ...more
Paperback, 411 pages
Published October 1st 2010 by Bethany House Publishers
More Details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about While We're Far Apart, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about While We're Far Apart

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
Rating details
Sort: Default
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 whe ...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, h ...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.
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 riche
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
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 h ...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 regar ...more
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 hap
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.
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.
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
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
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 st
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 tha
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
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
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 tha ...more
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
Nov 04, 2012 rated it really liked it
I’ve been on a World War 2 kick in my readings and this one was another quick read by my one of favorite authors Lynn Austin.

While We’re Far Apart follows the story of Penny, a young lady who offers to take care of two kids, as their Dad ships off to war. Also in mix is the Jewish landlord Mr. Mendel.

While the story of the characters is fiction, I don’t think this is too far off from what was reality for many people during World War II. While men fought around the globe, people at home were also
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
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,
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 perspecti ...more
Feb 03, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2014-52
I am really enjoying this book. I love the kind of person that Penny is. I enjoy the way she thinks and the innocence of how she is. She wants to make people happy and she has desire. And these two traits play a huge part of her life in this story. I love how we get to listen in on her thoughts on all the different things that are going on in her life, this always gets me. It's one thing to see people react, but it's totally huge to hear th thoughts behind their actions. I feel that this is the ...more
joy *the clean-reader extraordinaire*
*3.5 stars* but marked down because i was able to put it down 90% through and had no compelling urge to finish it for several days!

the ww2 home-front setting
the heroine's gradual, and believable, journey towards confidence in herself -- despite how frustrated i sometimes got with her mousy-ness
the fascinating view of jewish-christian relations in the US during the holocaust
the emphasis on common ground between jewish and christian beliefs, which is unfortunately rare in christian fiction
Jun 15, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Excellent reading. I will read more from this author. Set during World War II. This young girl falls in love with a widower who has two children. When he decides he needs to join the war effort, she offers to take care of his children while he is away, in hopes that he will fall in love with her when he returns. I thought this was going to be a love story but it is all about a naive girl who rapidly grows up as she instantly becomes a mother of two children who do not want her as a mother and is ...more
Mar 23, 2013 rated it it was amazing
I really enjoyed this book it was so hard to put down. What I love is the way the author told each ones story yet they all entertwined. Penny Goodrich, a hopeful yet naive young woman, Esther Shaffer a young girl who has faced tragedy already, Peter Shaffer a little boy who has lost his voice (literally speaking), and Jacob Mendel, a lonely Jewish man. Added to these intriguing characters is the backdrop of World War II; the war is a character in itself, really. With all of this, Lynn Austin cra ...more
Sep 15, 2014 rated it really liked it
Enjoyed the story very much. It had a young adult tone and style. I think it would be an excellent read for young folks (Middle School and High School). Even with some of the usual predictability, there was spiritual meat to gnaw on. The story reminded me that God is always working behind the scenes and that we should never give up on hopes and dreams. Rather, we should be ready to see God working in ways we would not expect.
Dec 07, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: those who like historical novels
Recommended to Alice by: found on Amazon
This was a free Kindle book we downloaded just before a trip because it had good reviews. They were right! As it turned out, the son of one of the main characters was in Hungary during WWII and we visited there during our trip. My husband was reading the book at the time and it gave even more life to what he was reading and the visit we made to the Dohány Street Synagogue in Budapest. We enjoyed this book about the struggles of 4 intertwined families in Brooklyn during WWII.
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 next »
topics  posts  views  last activity   
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  
  • Sons of Thunder (Brothers in Arms Collection)
  • My Heart Remembers
  • Love Finds You in Victory Heights, Washington
  • Whisper on the Wind (The Great War, #2)
  • For Time & Eternity (Sister Wife #1)
  • Before the Season Ends (Forsythe #1)
  • Flame of Resistance
  • The Triumph of Grace (Grace in Africa, #3)
  • Embers of Love (Striking a Match, #1)
  • Love Finds You in Homestead, Iowa
  • A Kiss of Adventure (Treasures of the Heart #1)
  • The Homecoming
  • This Fine Life
  • A Vote of Confidence (Sisters of Bethlehem Springs, #1)
  • When All My Dreams Come True (Colorado Runaway, #1)
  • Promise Me This
  • The Preacher's Bride
  • A Distant Melody  (Wings of Glory, #1)
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
More about Lynn Austin

Fiction Deals

  • Mercy Among the Children
    $14.99 $1.99
  • West of the Tularosa
    $4.99 $1.99
  • Love and Ruin
    $12.99 $3.99
  • Siddhartha
    $10.95 $2.99
  • The Orphan Daughter
    $4.99 $1.99
  • When We Were Worthy
    $5.99 $2.99
  • Somebody's Daughter
    $5.99 $2.99
  • A Night Divided
    $10.99 $1.99
  • The Book of Disquiet: The Complete Edition
    $24.95 $2.99
  • The Cherished Quilt
    $8.99 $2.99
  • To Find a Mountain
    $3.99 $1.99
  • I'll Be Your Blue Sky
    $12.99 $1.99
  • The Lotterys Plus One
    $10.99 $1.99
  • Buddha
    $13.99 $1.99
  • The Falls (P.S.)
    $8.74 $1.99
  • Broken Pieces
    $3.99 $1.99
  • Love Held Captive (A Lone Star Hero's Love Story)
    $8.99 $2.99
  • The Girl Who Came Home
    $11.99 $1.99
  • When Jesus Wept (The Jerusalem Chronicles, #1)
    $3.99 $1.99
  • In the Name of the Family
    $13.99 $1.99
  • The Man He Never Was: A Modern Reimagining of Jekyll and Hyde
    $8.99 $1.99
  • The Hired Man
    $14.99 $1.99
  • Crimes Against a Book Club
    $3.99 $1.99
  • Girls of the Great War
    $4.99 $1.99
  • The Map of Love: A Novel
    $14.99 $2.99
  • Wish Me Home
    $4.99 $1.99
  • The Extraordinary Life of Sam Hell
    $5.99 $2.99
  • Every Tongue Got to Confess
    $10.24 $1.99
  • A Golden Age
    $9.24 $1.99
  • Serena
    $11.99 $1.99
  • Dreamland
    $11.99 $1.99
  • Holy Fools
    $9.99 $1.99
  • Tampa
    $11.49 $1.99
  • The Beloved Hope Chest
    $8.99 $1.99
  • The Fifth Avenue Artists Society
    $11.99 $1.99
  • All That's Left of Me
    $4.99 $1.99
  • Palm Trees in the Snow
    $3.99 $1.99
  • A Map of the World
    $14.99 $2.99
  • Chemistry Lessons
    $9.99 $2.99
  • The Last Flight of Poxl West: A Novel
    $9.99 $2.99
  • Come Home to Me
    $4.99 $1.99
  • The Year We Left Home
    $11.99 $2.99
  • The Whip
    $5.99 $1.99
  • Touching Spirit Bear (Spirit Bear, #1)
    $3.99 $1.99
  • Written on the Body
    $13.99 $2.99
  • Dragon's Teeth (The Lanny Budd Novels)
    $17.99 $1.99
  • My Dear Hamilton: A Novel of Eliza Schuyler Hamilton: Wife, Widow, and Warrior in Alexander Hamilton’s Quest for a More Perfect Union
    $10.99 $1.99
  • The Shadow Queen
    $11.99 $2.99
  • Broken Verses
    $9.99 $2.99
  • The Liar
    $9.99 $1.99
  • The Hippopotamus
    $9.99 $1.99
  • Happiness, Like Water
    $9.99 $2.99
  • Moo
    $6.24 $1.99
  • The Mysteries of Pittsburgh
    $17.99 $1.99
  • At Risk
    $17.99 $1.99
  • Journey's End (Gilded Promises)
    $3.99 $1.99
“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
More quotes…