Friday, October 7, 2011

While We're Far Apart by Lynn Austin

From Lynn Austin's web site:

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.

From Laura:

This book starts in the summer of 1943 when Eddie Shaffer decides he needs to enlist in the war to get away from the memory of his dead wife, and needs to find a place for his two children, Esther and Peter, while he's gone. He figures to leave them with his mother, but she refuses. Enter Penny, the girl next door who, of course, has been in love with Eddie forever and offers to watch the children for him. She moves in to his apartment in the Jewish neighborhood, with the Jewish landlord, Mr. Mendel living downstairs. Esther and Mr. Mendel are both looking for answers on why God would take loved ones from them, and we see the struggles they both have with their different faiths. They all eventually become friends, and wait for their loved ones to come home from the war.

There's a lot of history in this book, especially about the fate of the Jewish people in Europe during the war. I thought the characters were all good, and well written. I felt like I could relate to all of them. The relationships, however, were not very well written. There's a lot of interaction with the children and Mr. Mendel, but really not very much with Penny and the children, or Penny and Eddie (which I kinda wanted to see). We get letters to Mr. Mendel from his son and daughter-in-law, but we don't get to see letters to the family from Eddie. I guess I had a hard time deciding who the book was about, and it left me wanting for different interaction. Maybe not more, just different. Overall, I am only giving this book 2 stars. There were some good things about it, but I don't think it was worth the time put in to it.


Heather said...

I love the cover!! :)

Although from your review, I'm not sure I would like the book. It sounds like a great idea. Too bad it didn't pan out.

Mandi Tucker Slack said...

I have to admit, I love the cover too! That's too bad that it didn't turn out.