In 2010, Sarah Sundin published her debut historical novel. Since then she has authored seven World War II era novels and has carved out a significant readership of fans who love vintage romances set against the backdrop of the Second World War. With her most recent novel, Through Waters Deep (Revell), she kicks off her third series, Waves of Freedom.
Through Waters Deep is set in 1941, when America was still neutral but turmoil was brewing overseas. Sarah says she was fascinated by this time period because of the impending war. “Before Pearl Harbor in December 1941, the States were anything but united. Isolationists and interventionists were deeply and angrily divided. The tumultuous time seemed like the perfect setting for my tale of mystery and sabotage.”
Her novel follows Navy Yard Secretary, Mary Stirling, who jumps at a chance to get in on the action of catching a suspected spy. Sarah says of her character, “She’s a quiet, detail-oriented young lady who avoids attention, yet can be daring when necessary. When evidence arises of a saboteur at the Boston Navy Yard, Mary is excited to have a ‘Nancy Drew’ case of her own.” Mary’s love interest is Ensign Jim Avery who escorts British convoys across the North Atlantic aboard the USS Atwood. While Jim is aboard the ship and Mary back on shore, evidence of espionage on the USS Atwood surfaces. Because of Mary’s disposition and role as Navy Yard Secretary she seems like an unlikely fit for the task at hand. However, Mary is actually a perfectly positioned asset in the quest to discover the culprit. She is able to get suspects to divulge information to her because she is, after all, just a secretary. Also Mary’s shorthand skills prove to be the perfect way to record suspicious conversations.
As far as the inspiration for this novel, Sarah say she had some real-life motivation. “Since my grandfather served in the Navy in WWII, I wanted to write a series about the Navy. I felt drawn to write a story about two long-time friends reunited after several years apart, who slowly fall for each other. Then I imagined Jim and Mary seeing each other at a shipyard, so I made her a secretary at the yard.” Sarah also admits while researching she learned some surprising facts that greatly shaped the plot of her story. When she learned of the six American ships sunk by German U-boats before the United States entered the war and before Pearl Harbor, she felt that was an interesting opportunity for a story. “What would it be like to serve on a U.S. destroyer, doing battle—even though the nation wasn’t at war?” Questioned Sarah.
Anyone who enjoys World War II era history and romance with a bit of suspense will enjoy this Navy Yard drama. The plot thickens when Mary discovers that perhaps someone close to her is suspected as the culprit—and perhaps danger is just around the corner. You can look for the second installment in the Waves of Freedom series to arrive summer 2016.