As the United States nears their official involvement in World War II, Ensign Jim Avery begins his duties as a junior officer on board the USS Atwood. Jim is excited and proud to help escort British ships across the Atlantic. And his time spent ashore is delightfully spent escorting an old friend, Mary Stirling, around Boston.
Mary’s position as a secretary for a higher-up in the Boston Navy Yard allows her to be right where she wants to be: doing important work for her country while remaining out of the spotlight. When sabotage is suspected on board the Atwood, Mary’s ability to blend into the background becomes crucial to the investigation.
As Mary and Jim work together to determine just who is behind the trouble in the Navy Yard, they each discover that the friendship they share might be turning into more.
Through Waters Deep is the first in a new series – “Waves of Freedom” – by Sarah Sundin.
I have been waiting for this new series from Sarah Sundin for a long time, and I was excited to get started on it! I’m actually not too fond of World War II-era stories, and I usually avoid them – except for those by Ms. Sundin. She has the ability to portray the atrocities of World War II in a way that shows strength during the battle as well as hope for the future.
When I first started reading this novel, I enjoyed the characters of Jim and Mary right away.
When I first started reading this novel, I enjoyed the characters of Jim and Mary right away. Over the course of the story, I got to know them well, and I would even go so far as to say they are among my favorite characters from Ms. Sundin’s books. As someone who also does not like to be in the spotlight, I very much related to Mary and her struggles. Jim was also a likeable guy, even though I kept wanting him to be a bit more aggressive (not in a bad way) as to where his relationship with Mary was going. I really enjoyed the banter between them and the way that their friendship eventually turned into more (which is how it happened between my husband and me back in the day)!
As for the other characters, there were a lot of them. Because this novel centered mostly on a mystery at the Boston Navy Yard, suspects were just coming out of the woodwork. At the beginning, these many secondary characters were a bit hard to keep straight, but as I kept reading, things fell more into place, and the sabotage aspect of the plot lent a great deal to the overall story. Sometimes the naval jargon in this novel got confusing, but I did appreciate the research and the attention to detail.
At the beginning, these many secondary characters were a bit hard to keep straight, but as I kept reading, things fell more into place, and the sabotage aspect of the plot lent a great deal to the overall story.
As I mentioned earlier, the previous books by this author are some of the only books about World War II that I have ever truly enjoyed. The balance that is portrayed between surviving the horrors of war and continuing to have hope for the future is what makes the novel readable. This hope comes only from a relationship with God through Jesus that gives the characters the strength to carry on no matter what they face. This was definitely true in Through Waters Deep.
As for the lighter side of the novel – the romance between Mary and Jim – it was sweet, and I very much enjoyed watching their love grow.
As for the lighter side of the novel – the romance between Mary and Jim – it was sweet, and I very much enjoyed watching their love grow. The era of the 1940s and its culture was an especially fun backdrop for this romance. While I enjoyed most of the development of Mary and Jim’s courtship, at times their lack of communication tiptoed dangerously close to the Big Misunderstanding, which is my biggest pet peeve in a romance novel. I realize that it is based in reality – I’m sure we have all struggled with communication at one point or another – but when characters base their actions on assumptions of what the other person is thinking and feeling, it sometimes gets really tiring to read.
Through Waters Deep is one of my favorite reads of the year.
In spite of this, Through Waters Deep is still one of my favorite reads of the year. I liked that this one had a mystery to it, and any main character who references Nancy Drew is definitely one that I’m going to like! I also liked that this series is set in the Navy. My dad is a Vietnam-era Navy veteran, and I enjoyed getting a glimpse of the Navy life. The tensions of America being on the brink of war made this novel that much more suspenseful, and the main characters were such that I wanted to keep reading to find out what else happens to them in their lives. My favorite secondary character was definitely Arch, Jim’s friend from the Navy, and I am so glad that he will be featured in the next book in the series.
Overall, Through Waters Deep is another winner from Sarah Sundin, and I am looking forward to the next one!
Through Waters Deep is my first Sarah Sundin novel – a bit surprising when I think about how many great reviews I’ve seen of her books. Nonetheless, it was my first, and it was an enjoyable experience all around. Suspense is not my preferred genre, but this story is a great blend of mystery, romance and some suspenseful moments. Though I was slow to become wholly invested in the story, the further I read the more interested I became. I wasn’t expecting a mystery to be such a big portion of the story, but I thoroughly enjoyed that aspect of it. Though the romance is sweet, the suspenseful scenes reflect the tension of the times, as well as the harsh realities of war and fear of sabotage by both those who were against US involvement in the war and those who were for it.
This story is a great blend of mystery, romance and some suspenseful moments.
One of the things that really stood out to me while reading is how grounded I felt within the setting and time period. I know next to nothing about war ships, have never been to Boston and, until this year, hadn’t read many books set during WWII, especially not from this vantage point of prior to the United States being involved. I feel that Sarah gave enough information for me to understand what was what without going into tedious detail and the right amount to propel the plot forward. The workings of a shipyard, Mary’s job as a secretary in the Boston Naval Yard, as well as Jim’s position on a US destroyer all serve to give the story an authentic feeling. Also, since I’m basically a girly girl, I loved the details about Mary’s dresses – that may seem silly for some readers, but for me, it’s another, albeit small, layer of authenticity that gives the story flair.
One of the things that really stood out to me while reading is how grounded I felt within the setting and time period.
I appreciated that Mary and Jim have their own storylines apart from their interactions with each other. Sarah doesn’t rely on the romantic plot point to carry the overall plot of the story, and I always like when the characters have to come into their own, on their own, where the romance doesn’t solve everything. Mary is an endearing character, her flaw being that she is very shy and reserved; however, she also has a very determined side that makes that flaw a bit more realistic. She doesn’t simply cower at everything and wait to be rescued. Her characterization could have come across as cheesy or unrealistic, but I think it really suited the story and was realistic to the time period as well. Jim has an outgoing personality, but is still reserved when it comes to matters of the heart. While it could have been a cliché “opposites attract,” scenario, it definitely wasn’t that. Their extreme miscommunication at times feels a bit over the top, but I was usually able to look past that because they do grow and develop as individuals as the story progresses.
I appreciated that Mary and Jim have their own storylines apart from their interactions with each other.
Overall, I really enjoyed this first book in the Waves of Freedom series. Through Deep Waters provides an entertaining story, as well as creating realistic set-up for characters in the next book. There were several secondary characters here that definitely have their own story to tell, so I am hopeful that readers will see them again in the coming books. I also look forward to the realistic depiction of US entry into World War II, as well as catching up with Jim and Mary. I recommend Through Waters Deeps for readers looking for a historical novel, well grounded in the WWII era, with both mystery and romance threads woven throughout.