July 12, 2011: Just announced. While We're Far Apart is 2011 Christy Award winner in historical fiction category.
During World War II, families around the world were fractured by the cruelty of war. In the United States, soldiers left their families to fight in faraway places while family members and sometimes strangers helped care for spouses and children. The horror of persecution put Jewish families in unbelievable situations, separation by exile---or death. And, the hardest part was not knowing what was happening with loved ones during the separation.
While We're Far Apart is set in New York City during the war. Penny Goodrich has a full-time job and still volunteers to keep the children of the widower she'd like to marry when he decides to enlist. Penny's parents resent her for moving out of their home, and the children resent her for trying to take their mother's place. Living in the same building is Jewish man who came to America to escape persecution. But, he now worries about his son's family who is still in Hungary as well as the prejudices of some of his neighbors.
Family secrets emerge in Penny's family and in that of the children. Prejudice against Jews shows its face in the neighborhood, too. A rich mix of characters, conflicts, and a little romance makes this the most interesting historical fiction I've read lately.
I must admit that Lynn Austin is one my favorite historical fiction authors. Rich in historical detail, her stories draw you in and make you feel like you are really there. I'll be ready to read the next one she turns out. See her website here.
Buy it on Amazon.com. It's available in paperback and Kindle editions.