Monday, August 10, 2015

"Through Water's Deep" by Sarah Sundin - a rich WWII mystery

Cover ArtThe first of the Waves of Freedom books begins when background-loving Mary Stirling, who works as a secretary in the Boston Navy Yard, runs into her old classmate Jim Avery, now an ensign in the Navy. When evidence of sabotage appears both in the Navy Yard and on Jim's ship, the two work together to uncover the culprit whenever Jim is back in port. But Jim's duties on the destroyer frequently take him out to the.dangerous Atlantic, leaving Mary alone to continue sleuthing while a saboteur is in her midst. What will it take for the US to officially join the war? With dangers at home and at sea, will Jim and Mary survive to see the US declare war?

The thing I love about Sarah Sundin's writing is that she captures the WWII period, conveys a strong spiritual message, and manages a captivating story, all in one. The characters are well rounded, fully developed persons, with realistic fears and faults as well as strengths. This is the author's first story to have a strong mystery component, and I think she succeeds admirably.

I really liked Mary. She's not the run-of-the-mill spunky, outspoken, needs-to-right-every-wrong heroine. Instead, she's selfless and sensible and yet has a sense of adventure; she also has fears and insecurities that tend to hold her back. However, when not overshadowed by a vivacious, overbearing personality, she can hold her own. She's the sort of person you'd find in real life. And the thing I really like: in all her note-taking and actions regarding the saboteur, she always acts sensibly. She doesn't just rush headlong without thinking; she keeps the authorities informed. It doesn't mean she's always safe or believed, but she thinks things through. In her personal life, however, she isn't always so sensible, but then who is in love? Especially when one falls in love and fears that love isn't reciprocated?

As this book takes place in the year leading up to Pearl Harbor, while the US was technically still neutral, there are a lot of heated political opinions, and Sundin captures the controversy over war. For all practical purposes, the US was at war in the Atlantic, but for months the government waffled, with two main groups fighting it out: The Isolationists: we should not go to war; it isn't our fight, and our boys do not need to die in Europe. And the Interventionists: we need to protect our allies and prevent Hitler from ever coming close to our shore; we need to save lives. Of course, there were pro-Nazi groups around too, but they were considered a threat, not a voice.

I definitely am looking forward to the next two books in the series! Both Arch's and Dan's stories have been mildly set up, as we can see already where they struggle (particularly in the romance department).

Thank you Revell for providing a free book in exchange for a review; I was not required to make the review positive, and all opinions are my own.

Waves of Freedom
1. Through Waters Deep
2. Anchor in the Storm ~ about Jim's friend Arch
3. When Tides Turn ~ about Jim's brother Dan

And for fun, here's a video of the cover shoot! Enjoy the big band swing!


  1. Thanks for the lovely review, Rachael! I'm glad you enjoyed Jim & Mary's story!

    1. You're welcome! I'm looking forward to the next!