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. (Oct.) Copyright 2010 Reed Business Information.