Sunday, August 16, 2015

Review: Through Waters Deep

Through Waters Deep
By Sarah Sundin
Waves of Freedom, #1
Revell, 2015


It is 1941 and America teeters on the brink of war.

Outgoing naval officer Ensign Jim Avery escorts British convoys across the North Atlantic in a brand-new destroyer, the USS Atwood. Back on shore, Boston Navy Yard secretary Mary Stirling does her work quietly and efficiently, happy to be out of the limelight. Yet, despite her reserved nature, she never could back down from a challenge. When evidence of sabotage on the Atwood is found, Jim and Mary must work together to uncover the culprit. A bewildering maze of suspects emerges, and Mary is dismayed to find that even someone close to her is under suspicion. With the increasing pressure, Jim and Mary find that many new challenges---and dangers---await them.

Sarah Sundin takes readers to the tense months before the US entered WWII. Readers will encounter German U-boats and torpedoes, along with the explosive power of true love, in this hopeful and romantic story.

My thoughts

Through Waters Deep - spanning the months from March to December 7, 1941 and ending with the bombing of Pearl Harbor - is a treasure for historical fiction fans. Sarah's research is impeccable, but more than that, she has the ability to bring you right into the sights and emotions of that era. The writing flows, often with a lighthearted feel, yet there are some vividly-depicted situations that truly reflect wartime - sabotage, racial prejudice, unimaginable split-second decisions with lives on the line, made for the overall good. Historical detail is one of this story's strengths and while it took a while to capture my interest, I was fully engaged as the story unfolded. To get an even better feel for this story, visit Sarah's wonderful Pinterest page.

Mary and Jim are such good characters, so easy to like and connect with - yet I often wished I could physically reach out and shake some sense into them. Mary is almost paranoid in her desire to avoid anything that shines the spotlight on her, while Jim is easygoing, content to float along and let others chart his path. I loved the way their romance began as friendship and progressed realistically from there, but they manage to take the "miscommunication" theme to a new level. It was really good to see their spiritual and emotional growth.

A strong mystery element is woven throughout, which many reviewers describe as having a Nancy Drew feel. Although essential to the plot and very relevant to the times, this wasn't my favorite part, one reason being that I had a hard time keeping up with the suspects. But I loved watching Mary  become the "invisible secretary" and use her shorthand skills to record information. Until reading this story, I was unaware of how strong a conflict there was between those opposed to the war and those eager to join in.

Strong secondary characters contribute greatly to the story - Jim's friend Archer, for instance - and I believe we will see some of their stories as the series unfolds.  I didn't enjoy Through Waters Deep quite as much as Sarah's previous series, but am fully invested in the characters and look forward to the next book, which releases in the summer of 2016.

Recommended to fans of historical fiction, especially World War II settings.


Sarah Sundin is the author of With Every Letter, On Distant Shores, In Perfect Time, and the Wings of Glory series. In 2014,On Distant Shores was a finalist for the Golden Scroll Awards from both AWSA and the Christian Authors Network. In 2011, Sarah received the Writer of the Year Award at the Mount Hermon Christian Writers Conference. A graduate of UC San Francisco School of Pharmacy, she works on call as a hospital pharmacist. During WWII, her grandfather served as a pharmacist's mate (medic) in the Navy and her great-uncle flew with the US Eighth Air Force in England. Sarah lives in California with her husband and three children.

Find Sarah online at, Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest.

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Thank you to Litfuse Publicity for providing a copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.

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