Jump to ratings and reviews
Rate this book

Waves of Freedom #1

Through Waters Deep

Rate this book
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.

376 pages, Paperback

First published July 28, 2015

Loading interface...
Loading interface...

About the author

Sarah Sundin

17 books2,639 followers
Sarah Sundin enjoys writing about the drama and romance of the World War II era. She is the bestselling author of The Sound of Light (coming February 2023), Until Leaves Fall in Paris (February 2022), When Twilight Breaks (2021), and four WWII series. Her novels have received starred reviews from Publishers Weekly, Library Journal, and Booklist. Until Leaves Fall in Paris, received the 2022 Christy Award, When Twilight Breaks and The Land Beneath Us were Christy Award finalists, and The Sky Above Us won the 2020 Carol Award.

A mother of three, Sundin lives in Southern California and teaches Sunday school and women's Bible studies. She enjoys speaking to community, church, and writers' groups. Sarah serves as Co-Director for the West Coast Christian Writers Conference.

Ratings & Reviews

What do you think?
Rate this book

Friends & Following

Create a free account to discover what your friends think of this book!

Community Reviews

5 stars
1,112 (46%)
4 stars
810 (33%)
3 stars
363 (15%)
2 stars
85 (3%)
1 star
45 (1%)
Displaying 1 - 30 of 429 reviews
Profile Image for Kellyn Roth.
Author 24 books832 followers
December 3, 2016
(Originally Posted on Reveries Reviews)

Perhaps you think that everything I say about this novel will sound redundant. It’s a book by the author of A Distant Melody, which I reviewed just a few days ago. They’re both set during WW2, both are adventure/romances with very strong (amazing!) Christian messages, and both were absolutely adored by the person who’s writing this review. However, these two stories are very different.

First, the obvious. A Distant Melody is about an airforce man; Through Waters Deep is about a member of the navy. This, in itself, makes it a very different story. Not a better or worse story, though. The details on navy life were just as fantastic as the details on airforce life.

Then there’s the added mystery/thriller element of Through Waters Deep. The main characters are investigating (unofficially and unwantedly) a supposed sabotage at the Boston Navy Yard. Very exciting. That scene in the dry (well, once-dry) dock was fantastic! I admired Mary so much then! And all those references to Nancy Drew books … *cracks up* Yeah, how many Nancy Drew books HAVE you read? I wondered something.

And Mary’s “scarred past” … I’m sorry, but I laughed. Partially because I could totally be scarred if that’s all that’s required to be scarred. One time when I was five … *dies of shame* Seriously, though, it was refreshing. Little things – and even if it was dreadfully embarrassing, it was a little thing – can have a huge effect on our lives … and take control over us if we don’t give them to God!

And Jim … he “floats.” *cracks up* I’m sorry … I just can’t be serious about these guys’ problems! That’s not a bad thing, either. I mean it as a good thing. I enjoyed it very much. They had amusing problems … but they were serious to me, too. Though not sad (except the root of Jim’s, a little … but everyone knew it wasn’t his fault! He was just being an awesome brother!). Backstories don’t have to be sad/absolutely terrible to be effective. Well-played, Sarah Sundin!

I liked Mary very much. I get along best when I’m working behind the scenes, too, although I admit I like to be recognized. For some reason, seeming to be competent really helps me cope with difficult situations. But Mary … private, humble Mary. She’s a sweetheart. She needed to learn to accept praise, but she was such a sweetheart! She’s an awesome lady.

And, you know, she’s obviously better than Quintessa. MARY is GOLDEN!!!

Jim … he was a really cool guy and … amusing, I admit. I can’t wait to read book 2 of the Waves of Freedom story and read more about Arch. He was an interesting guy. Although, for heaven’s sake, find a girl who doesn’t care about money, won’t you?!?!

I don’t have much more to say, as I don’t want to go on saying cliché things that anyone could say about any book. I’ll just say that if you like WW2, exciting adventures, intriguing mysteries, sweet romances, mouth-watering descriptions of dresses (what? I loved Mary’s clothes! Let’s go further: I NEED MARY’S CLOTHES!!! And to live in the ’40s, too, please!), and an amazing Christian message, read this novel!

~Kellyn Roth, Reveries Reviews
Profile Image for Lindsey (Books for Christian Girls).
1,514 reviews3,355 followers
April 4, 2018
About this book:

“It is 1941 and America teeters on the brink of war. Handsome and outgoing naval officer Ensign Jim Avery escorts British convoys across the North Atlantic in a brand-new destroyer, the USS Atwood. On shore, Jim encounters Mary Stirling, a childhood friend who is now an astute and beautiful Boston Navy Yard secretary.
When evidence of sabotage on the Atwood is discovered, 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.”

Series: Book #1 in the “Waves of Freedom” series.

Spiritual Content- Scriptures are quoted, mentioned, remembered, discussed, & talked about; Prayers & Thanking God; Church going; Hymns & Singing in a choir and a Christmas play; Talks about God, Jesus, & sin; ‘H’s are not capital when referring to God; Mentions of God & Jesus; Mentions of prayers & praying; Mentions of Bible reading & those and events in the Bible; Mentions of Biblical principles; Mentions of churches, church going, services, Sunday school classes, choirs, hymns, sermons, & pastors; Mentions of Christmas plays & those in it; Mentions of Jews; Mentions of sin; A few mentions of Heaven; A few mentions of Christians; A couple mentions of going to mass; A mention of being blessed.

Negative Content- Minor cussing including: an ‘idiot’, a ‘pansy’, two ‘stinking’s, and nine ‘stupid’s; Many mentions of curses & cussing (said, not written); A bit of sarcasm & eye rolling; Threats; Being shot at (up to semi-detailed); A torpedo, explosion, & flames (semi-detailed); Set during a war & all about mentions of it, Nazis, fighting, & deaths (semi-detailed); Many mentions of violence, fights, sabotaging, bombs, criminals/spies, & arrests; Mentions of torpedoes, an explosion, fires, gunfire, & deaths (up to semi-detailed); Mentions of screams, blood/bleeding, & accidents that resulted in a loss of a body part (semi-detailed); Mentions of thugs, being jumped/attacked, injuries, blood, & pain (barely-above-not-detailed); Mentions of past wars & fights; Mentions of jail, gasoline, & fires; Mentions of thieves & stealing; Mentions of someone addicted to pain medicine & addicts; Mentions of alcohol & drinking (Jim does drink rum at one point, but it’s for medical purposes); Mentions of tobacco, cigarettes, cigars, & smoking; Mentions of lies & lying; Mentions of gossip & rumors; A few mentions of bodies; A few mentions of threats; A couple mentions of (a rumor of) butchering babies; A couple mentions of dying from hypothermia; A couple mentions of thugs; A couple mentions of vomiting; A mention of hunting traps;
*Note: A mention of Girl Scouts.

Sexual Content- two blown kisses, two nose kisses, two forehead kisses, a barely-above-not-detailed kiss, a semi-detailed kiss, and two detailed kisses; Remembering a kiss (semi-detailed); Wanting to kiss and touch someone & be kissed (up to semi-detailed); Touches, Nearness, & Heat (semi-detailed); Noticing (semi-detailed); Mentions of kisses, kissing, & seeing others kiss (barely-above-not-detailed); Mentions of dates, dating, boyfriends, girlfriends, & breakups; Mentions of jealousy; Mentions of crushes; A few mentions of a guy who cheated on his girlfriend, got another girl pregnant, and married her; A few mentions of flirting; A few mentions of Jim saying his preferred girl are bubbly blondes; A couple mentions of (a rumor of) women being ravished; A couple mentions of red-blooded men responding to a kiss; A couple mentions of a jealous lover; Love, falling in love, & the emotions;
*Note: A few mentions of two-piece swimsuits & figures; A couple mentions of a girl wearing a skimpy swimsuit & doing provocative looks and poses; A mention of a girl looking like a pinup girl; A mention of girl being told not to wear a certain color because it excites men.

-Mary Stirling
-Jim Avery
P.O.V. switches between them
Set in 1941
375 pages

Pre Teens- One Star
New Teens- One Star
Early High School Teens- Two Stars
Older High School Teens- Two Stars (and a half)
My personal Rating- Two Stars (and a half)
…I start off too many reviews with “Hmmm”, don’t I?
To be honest (as I always am in these reviews), I’m torn about my feelings on this one. Let’s do bullet points, since those help list things out well. :)
- Mary! I adored her. I felt like I really related to Mary in many ways. Her personality just clicked with mine well. She’s also a big Nancy Drew fan, so that was cute.
- Okay, technically still about Mary, but I loved seeing her faith and what she struggles with. I do have to point out that I’d like her to teach all the other war-time heroines I’ve read about, about faith and trust when it comes to their man being sent away. This girl had it right. *claps*
- The mystery. I thought it was really interesting even though I definitely had a hard time following who was who, it kept me fascinated in the plot.
- Jim’s big family. Kind of silly, but I like it when authors add a good family dynamic and relationships to their stories.
(These points affect the rating, so they’re technically worth more than “one bullet point” each.)
- His feelings came way too quick for my tastes. He was a bit too physically interested (noticing her curves) in Mary after that. (He noticed her “shapely calves” while in church…while she’s wearing a choir robe. Lord help me.)
- About halfway, Mary started noticing his nearness and there were some awkward times for this reader.
- The kisses and the desires Jim had to kiss her.
- Some of the war fighting and accidents got a bit too much at times in the details.
So, this was my second book by this author. Like that first one, while I liked the Spiritual Content, I was disappointed by other content. I think I might still finish both of the series I’ve started by her, but I have a feeling they all will be quite romancey which I find unfortunate.

Link to review:

*BFCG may (Read the review to see) recommend this book by this author. It does not mean I recommend all the books by this author.
Profile Image for Beth.
775 reviews314 followers
January 1, 2016
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.

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.

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.

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.
Profile Image for Melanie.
1,900 reviews550 followers
October 1, 2015
Through Waters Deep was another great read from Sarah Sundin! It started a little slow for me and didn't grab my attention as fast as some of her other books, but it was still so good and the ending made me absolutely love the book!

I liked how the romance was gradual and of course the setting was great. There were a couple scenes that were nerve-wracking, as you didn't know what was going to happen and if things were going to turn out okay.

I can't wait to read the next book in the Waves of Freedom series, which is about Jim's sister (who we learned a little bit about in Through Waters Deep), and I definitely recommend this book to fans of historical books. A great read!

*Disclosure of Material Connection: I received one or more of the products or services mentioned above for free in the hope that I would mention/review it on my blog. I was not required to give a positive review, only my honest opinion - which I've done. All thoughts and opinions expressed are my own and I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.*
Profile Image for Cara Putman.
Author 48 books1,608 followers
March 24, 2015
Open the cover to Through Waters Deep and step back to 1941 Boston in the days before the United States entered WWII. It’s a story of sabotage, mystery and sweet, heart-stopping romance. In this novel, Sarah Sundin demonstrates why she is a gifted novelist. The historical detail will transport lovers of historical fiction into the Naval Yards, a location ripe with sabotage and intrigue in the days leading to US entrance in the war. The characters are richly drawn, and people struggling with real-life issues. The supporting cast is fantastic and already has me longing to read the next installment.

Bottomline — this book is perfect for lovers of WWII romances who love a mystery that would give Nancy Drew a run for her money.
Profile Image for Hannah.
2,402 reviews1,323 followers
February 28, 2016
4.5 stars.
It gets a drop in stars because I set it aside for a week or so after a couple chapters focussing too much on physical draw/what they were and weren't wearing while boating as a group made me lose interest. But when I picked it back up, I was instantly drawn back in by the mystery of the saboteur and the delight of following the story to the end. It gets extremely suspenseful, and I loved the parts about both of them learning to be brave...of Jim learning the parallel to Nehemiah, to not listen to the opinions of others, and Mary facing her fear of public attention.

This book has a strong Christian message, and also kept me guessing until almost the end with the intricacies of the mystery.
Profile Image for sydney.
367 reviews79 followers
October 2, 2021
This book is just as good as the first time I read it. I absolutely adore this book.
The plot, the setting, the characters... all of it is just perfect. Definitely one of my top favorite Sundin novels.
I am very much a character driven reader - plots and settings are fun, but characters are what really make me love a book. Mary and Jim are two of my favorite characters she's written - I really like that they have background before the book begins so we don't spend as long building up their relationship and get to see them interact comfortably right away. Their banter was so witty and fun to read, and the pining. I just loved it. Even though its slightly more cheesy than her other books it just feels right and it was adorable. And I enjoyed them individually, too. Mary especially. As a shy girl myself, I could really relate to her and wanting to stay in the background. She didn't feel patronizing in any way, either. Sometimes shy characters can feel silly, but Mary had ambition and hobbies and I really appreciated that. I just love her characters so much and that really allows me to put myself in their shoes and jump into the story. Even the side characters add something to the story and round it out.
Also the mystery aspect of this book is exactly how I like my mysteries... everything is sort of spelled out for you, and my scatterbrain loves that. It's a very chill sort of mystery.
Enough of my gushing... I just love her books and I haven't read something I truly loved in a long time, so this was exactly what I needed. :)
Profile Image for Vanessa Hall.
Author 5 books119 followers
June 15, 2021
I held off on reading this book for some reason (again, it just sat in my pile of library books waiting to be read for weeks), and I don't know why I took so long to open it! I think maybe I needed to be in a Sarah Sundin, WWII mood, but once I started reading, it was so easy to just keep going!

Something I enjoy in most of Sundin's books is the realism of her characters. In so many books, the characters seem just like that - characters. They can do everything perfectly, always have good reactions, always know what to say, and just don't feel like normal people who make stupid, normal mistakes. However, Jim and Mary both felt more like normal people, especially Jim. He make mistakes. He had average, twenty-something-year-old reactions to problems. I also appreciated that Mary's traumatic past experience was something that wasn't earth-shattering, but something that could happen to any kid. It was a nice change from the super dramatic backstories many characters possess.

The mystery part of this book wasn't my favorite - I got a little confused with all of the possible suspects, and I was really tired when I got to where they were explaining how the whole thing sorted out. (Of course, that's my own fault, so for anyone else, it'd probably make a lot more sense.) There was a fair amount of action, mostly at the end, but the rest of the book moved along nicely, too. The morals of the story, following God's leading and trusting Him, were both brought through in an understandable way. The romance was sweet was not overdone, and the author set up the next book in the series quite well. All in all, this was what I expected from Sarah Sundin - an enjoyable read with so much quality research and great characters!

Profile Image for Tricia Mingerink.
Author 10 books324 followers
October 31, 2017
Um, why haven't I read a Sarah Sundin book sooner?

This book hit all the write notes for me. WWII history. US Navy. A dash of romance, suspense, mystery, and action.

Thanks to watching the TV show JAG several times, I was familiar with a lot of the naval lingo. I've toured several battleships, carriers, destroyers, and submarines from WWII era and onward, so a lot of the ship lingo also was familiar. I've toured the USS Texas that was briefly mentioned in this book, and I've toured the USS Constitution that the characters visit, along with the Charlestown Navy Yard (the Boston Navy Yard at the time of the book) and the Bunker Hill Monument. So a lot of the sites in the book are familiar to me.

Loved this book so much! *rushes off to get the next book*

Profile Image for Anne.
502 reviews475 followers
February 9, 2020
Sarah Sundin's World War II universe is one of my absolute favourites to get lost in and come back to again and again.

Her plots are always the perfect mix of adventure and romance, and this one even had a little mystery. Her characters are always so engaging and well-developed, and her writing style is lovely. Her books are prime examples of good Christian fiction that doesn't excessively preach, but manages to reach and connect with the reader while imparting a Christian message.

I was so thrilled to start this series, and it was so good. This one turned out to be my least favourite in this trilogy, but only because books 2 and 3 are even better. I still really liked it and had a wonderful time following Mary and Jim and learning and growing with them.

Highly recommended, as is always the case with Sundin's novels :D
Profile Image for Sarah.
Author 39 books391 followers
June 19, 2020
Another wonderful Sundin book. I really found myself relating to how mary felt about so many things. I mean, I know I feel like a silver girl when most guys go for gold. I really liked her struggles and that she was strong even with them. I liked how she was good at spotting lies that were told her.
Jim was a dear. I liked him a lot.
Profile Image for Carrie Daws.
Author 29 books138 followers
June 8, 2021
More than once as I read, I imagined the heroine as a sweet version of Marvel's Agent Peggy Carter, obstinate and determined yet utterly private and reserved. Sarah Sundin has created another remarkable story that lovers of WWII novels will devour.
Profile Image for Rissi.
426 reviews9 followers
July 17, 2019
Through Waters Deep - How to Explore History in a Romance!

Through Waters Deep by Sarah Sundin | Book Review

Journeying through Sarah Sundin’s books is like a quaint trip back to yesteryear. Saying this may sound silly considering the novel’s WWII setting, but there’s a special kind of nostalgia.

We meet Mary Stirling, a girl with a kind heart who enjoys the shadows where no spotlight shines on her. Secretary at a Boston naval base, Mary’s work is never done. It’s in her work that she meets again with Jim Avery.

Jim knows Mary from high school, but he hasn't seen her in years, which is why a reunion with her is the best surprise. As they work together to capture a saboteur, he comes to realize how special she is. But with men fighting a war that shadows their horizon, Jim and Mary's friendship is soon tested...

Despite a slow beginning (the story doesn't tug me in as quickly, strange since it wastes no time in putting the characters together), this novel is absolutely charming. It takes quite a step away from Sarah’s earlier works, surprising considering the time frame is the same. This one makes us of the “cozy mystery” genre, which is different than her Nightingale trilogy.

"Ever since we said goodbye, I couldn't wait to say hello." - Sarah Sundin

Shifting to the characters, I'll say, Mary is quite the detective. The contrast of her character is sweet; she lives one way (to do good) without attention, but then lives vicariously through a Nancy Drew fixation. I really like her fascination with puzzles, and from all I hear about her, Mary’s character reminds me of my grandmother. Not in her mystery hunting, but in all she does behind the scenes. Her desire is to honor Christ, and she seeks no reward. Not to disregard Jim, he too is a noble, wonderful man. The shift in his reaction to Mary is wonderfully explored and it's nice to get his perspective in the alternating POV's.

Much as I like the mystery angle, I think the concept trips over the many characters that pop into the prose as suspects. When reading, I do find it a challenge to keep track of who’s-who and who is or isn’t a legit suspect as the names continue to pile up. But that’s beside the point, and doesn't hinder this delight of a novel. Comparisons by readers describe this as a Nancy Drew mystery, only this time, it’s set on the eve of WWII. From its brilliant historical facts that weave into the story to the charming potential romance we adore, this isn’t a novel historical fiction aficionados should miss.

Bold and soft, this is a "good time" kind of read; plus there's lots of period cues avid historians will appreciate. Pick up Through Waters Deep and prepare to experience a scary, yet charming time in history where every moment counts. If this book reminds us of anything, it’s this message. You'll swoon over dashing naval officers (plus some romantic "aww" gestures), and the subtle sass its heroine learns to embrace. All of this adds up to one thing.

Through Waters Deep should be your “must read” list!

Sincere thanks to the publisher for providing a complimentary copy of this book for review; all opinions are my own.
Profile Image for Dawn.
780 reviews75 followers
August 19, 2015
With the nation teetering on the brink of war, a sailor and a secretary renew an old acquaintance and work together to stop sabotage. Mary Stirling is good at her job. She's a secretary in Boston's Navy Yard. She tries hard not to draw attention herself, but she's concerned about the little things. That's what makes her such a great secretary. Ensign Jim Avery has been assigned to the USS Atwood. When he happens to run into Mary on the Boston docks, he's delighted to renew their high school acquaintance. Mary's changed since high school. While she's still quiet and reserved, she's not the girl she was then. Jim finds himself drawn to the pretty, quiet woman she is now. Jim's changed too. He's a Navy officer and is determined to be the best that he can. When suspicious accidents begin occurring at the Navy Yard, both Jim and Mary begin to investigate. Especially once a bomb is discovered on board the USS Atwood. But tensions are running high. And it appears that the country is heading on a fast track into the war. With Jim at sea and Mary on the shore, how can they stop who ever is causing the damage before something else happens? Will boldness be the answer for this pair who is afraid to speak what is in their hearts? Or will they allow circumstances keep them from discovering the love that is blossoming?

I've read most of Sarah Sundin's books and I was delighted when I say she was starting a new series. This time she's writing about the Navy and the cover alone on this book had me hooked. And I hadn't even opened it up yet! This one has been on my radar since last summer and is one of my top three highly anticipated books of the year. (The others being Rachel Hauck's How to Catch a Prince and Robin Jones Gunn's One More Wish).

I've discovered that I like books set in WWII. Really like them. While this one starts in the months prior to the US actually entering the war, the action starts immediately. One thing I absolutely loved about this book was that it's a bit different than Sarah's usual. This one has all the elements of a mystery to it. Maybe it's because the heroine is a huge Nancy Drew fan. I don't know. But that difference made me love it.

There were so many times that I wanted to shake both Jim and Mary! It wasn't that they didn't communicate, they did, just not about their feelings. It was more along the lines of both of them expecting the other to act just like he/she did in high school when they have both grown up and matured. I wanted Mary to fight for what she wanted and to be persistent like she was with her sleuthing. And Jim! I wanted him to realize that he needed to let her know his feelings. One thing I did love though was that both of them learned some hard lessons. Mary learned how to step into the limelight and to use her gifts. Jim learned that sometimes being bold and making a harsh decision was the right thing to do. I'm trying not to give to much away here, but I loved that part of the book.

When this one ended, it left me longing for the next book in the series. Because it'll be about Jim's sister Lillian and his buddy Arch. I'm excited to read their story because I developed a soft spot for Arch in this book and I can't wait to see how his story is fleshed out.

I received this book for free from Revell Books for the purpose of reviewing. My thoughts and opinions are my own.

Recommended to fans of Jody Hedlund, Sarah Sundin, Laura Frantz, Julie Lessman, WWII, Cathy Gohlke, Kate Breslin

Rating - 5 stars
Profile Image for Hannah.
153 reviews40 followers
January 9, 2018
Where do I start? Hmm...let's just say this became one of my new favorite books! I was expecting to like it, but not love it!
If you want to know what the books is about, here's the blurb from the back of it:

War is coming. Can love carry them through the rough waters that lie ahead?
It is 1941 and America teeters on the brink of war. Handsome and outgoing naval officer Ensign Jim Avery escorts British convoys across the North Atlantic in a brand-new destroyer, the USS Atwood. On shore, Jim encounters Mary Stirling, a childhood friend who is now an astute and beautiful Boston Navy Yard secretary.

When evidence of sabotage on the Atwood is discovered, 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.

This book was incredible. The characters, the plot, the writing, and the time-period (for those of you who don't know, my favorite thing to read is books set in the 1940's). Sarah Sundin has weaved together a tale with mystery, action, and romance in this delightful Pre-War novel.

The characters: The characters are something that I fell in love with. I don't always connect or find myself wanting to get to know characters better, but in this book, I couldn't help but love them all, from Mary and Jim, to Avery and Quintessa. They all have their special moments and their little quirks. Mary I especially connected with. She and I are so alike in so many different ways. And I must admit, I couldn't help falling in love with brave Jim. He's such a hero in so many different scenes throughout the book and my heart just melted over his valiant heart.

The plot: The plot was wonderful. A little mystery, a dash of action, and a lot of romance; this story has it all. I loved the case that Mary worked on throughout this book, with her handy little notebook and Jim (most of the time) by her side. I must say, I never thought who the real culprit could be. One minute all fingers were pointing to one man, and the next moment they were pointing to someone else. It kept me coming back for more, wanting to help Mary solve the mystery.

The writing: Sarah Sundin really has a way of pulling me into this one. (Possibly because it's set in the Forties.) She describes everything so well, and with great accuracy. I thoroughly enjoyed her writing style.

My rating: 5 out o 5 stars, definitely! I can't believe I have to wait another year for the second one. When i finished this book and thought of a years waiting, I was quite devastated. I fell in love with these characters and their stories, and can't wait to find out where God leads them next. This book has prompted me to buy the rest of Sarah Sundin's books, starting with 'The Wings of the Nightingale' trilogy. So, I say, well done Mrs. Sundin, you gave me a new favorite book, and one that I'll not soon forget, and you've made a new fan!

NOTE: I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for my honest review. I was not asked to write a positive review.
Profile Image for Shantelle.
Author 2 books352 followers
November 24, 2015
Sarah Sundin’s novels never disappoint! I’ve read two trilogies by her, both set in the WWII time, and Through Waters Deep (set in 1941) still didn’t fail to thrill me! I can’t say enough good things. Just thoroughly intriguing and satisfying. I loved it!

In the first book of this new series, WAVES OF FREEDOM, we meet Mary Stirling, a quiet secretary in the Boston Navy Yard, and Jim Avery, a naval officer. Jim’s had his heart broken by a beautiful, out-going blonde … Mary can’t stand being in the spotlight because of an on-going struggle with fear and shame. And outside their personal crisis, a war is going on that America is still not a part of. But all is about to change.

From beginning to end, I was hooked. I find more and more that I love novels set in the time period around World War II. And Sarah Sundin’s are just so historically rich! I’m always just captivated by the depth, freshness, and vibrancy of her stories. In her last series, we were up in planes, and now we’re on ships with Ensign Jim Avery. It was very interesting to explore this aspect; and also learn about how things were in America before the joined the second world war.

On that note, I loved the mystery entwined through this historical fiction. And how it fit so perfectly with all the strain and feuds because of the war going on overseas. It kept me wondering and guessing. I thought Sarah did a great job with it; and keeping a nice list of suspects, so you couldn’t quite pin the real culprit! Loved Mary’s “Nancy Drew” side, *grins* Such, such fun! Rich history paired with a dangerous, little mystery.

I so, so appreciate the deep themes of Through Waters Deep. So many meaningful messages! The characters are real, with real struggles. They capture your attention and interest, and you really want the best for them! With a beautiful faith aspect, and romance of friendship, loveliness, and depth—this book couldn’t help being on my favorites list! ^__^ But yes, it was just wonderful. I love everything about the faith aspect and romance of Through Waters Deep. It was simply beautiful. Touching. Soooo sweet!

All I can think to say now is, I am so very excited for Book 2 in the WAVES OF FREEDOM series! Anchor in the Storm, please release quickly! *wink* I can’t wait to read more by Sarah Sundin. Her stories are incredible; and I think will always be favorites for me!

If you like the history of World War II, and also deep faith themes and a beautiful romance … not to mention, an exciting mystery … you must check out Through Waters Deep. It is not to be missed!

I received a copy of Through Waters Deep from Revell Publishers in exchange for my honest review.
Profile Image for Staci.
1,622 reviews501 followers
September 27, 2015
Nice beginning to the Wave of Freedom series.

Author Sarah Sundin has added the element of mystery to Through Waters Deep. Mary is a bit like Nancy Drew as she works to solve the mystery of who is the saboteur of the ship yard. Jim is a navy officer and Mary's high school friend. Both Jim and Mary struggle with confidence.

The novel includes historical detail about the sentiment of the United States just prior to the bombing of Pearl Harbor. This was my favorite part about the novel. There are a lot of parallels from that time to the feelings today about immigration and wars in the Middle East.

I look forward to the next novel in the series which comes out in the summer of 2016.
Profile Image for Loraine.
2,881 reviews
September 15, 2015
SUMMARY: 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.

REVIEW: Once again Sarah Sundin starts off a series with a bang and a book that keeps the reader riveted from beginning to end. If you like World War II historical fiction with a touch of romance and intrigue thrown in for good measure, this is definitely a book I would recommend.

Sundin's historical research shows throughout the story particularly in the description of destroyers, the armament, and the jobs handled by the various Navy men. Also in her representation of incidents that led up to Pearl Harbor and US finally entering the war. I was particularly interested in the information of the Isolationists and Interventionists as I didn't know much about this aspect of attitudes before our entry into WWII.

Mary and Jim were intriguing main characters both hiding behind personas: Mary shy and not putting herself forward and Jim flowing along wherever the winds blew him. Yet both put themselves forward when it meant protecting friends and country. I loved the rocky road of the development of their relationship with both being timid about letting the other know how they felt.

The plot line was excellent with the combination of historical fiction, romance and intrigue. The mystery was definitely gripping with plenty of red herrings to keep the reader guessing. I loved the climax of the mystery as well as the romantic conclusion to Mary and Jim's developing relationship.

Sundin continues to turn out books that keep the reader wanting more, and I look forward to the other 2 books in this series.

FAVORITE QUOTES: "I broke Jesus too.....I didn't understand. So she told me when we sin, we break Jesus' heart. And then he went to the cross, willing breaking himself so we could be made whole."

"Humility was a great virtue, but did humility require hiding in the corner? Nonsense. The Lord had given her gifts, and he wanted her to use them for his purposes. Not for herself, but for him. As long as she kept her priorities straight, she would be fine."

"When God answered a prayer, he answered it abundantly.
Profile Image for Charity Andrews.
203 reviews8 followers
August 26, 2015
This is the first book I have ever read by Sarah Sundin. I was surprised at how quickly it grabbed my attention! There is much intrigue as Mary struggles to fine the saboteur on the Navy ship she is helping get commissioned. Through it all, she learns to find her self worth and fall in love. In a pre-American Involvement-WWII, tensions are high as it builds up to that fateful day at Pearl Harbor.

The characters are really great in this book. They are full of depth and character. God is not an afterthought either, which I really like. He is woven throughout the pages. It's a fun mystery and a sweet story. I absolutely recommend it!! Please pick up a copy.

Thank you, Litfuse, for this great read! As always, this is my honest opinion. Here's to many more!!
Profile Image for Amy.
239 reviews33 followers
May 10, 2015
Full review coming soon!
Profile Image for Lainie.
8 reviews
June 10, 2017
My first Sarah Sundin book and Wow! This book was full of suspense, mystery and joy. It started right off with a clue into the starting of a mystery and surprised me by carrying it, very evidently throughout the entire rest of the book.
There was so much to take away from this book, and not just the History of America in 1941.
One of the main characters Mary Stirling, a Boston Navy Yard secretary, had struggled with pride because of past experiences in her younger years and had since then avoided any chance of being publicly involved in anything. No spotlights, no familiarity with large groups of people, no casual talk about herself, frightened that her pride would get the best of her. But after bumping into her high school friend Jim Avery, now an officer Ensign in the Navy, they begin to become closer friends. They expose weak points and encourage each other to get beyond their burdens from the past and realize God can use their struggles for good and help see them in a new way, a way to use not for themselves but for His glory!

This relationship between Jim and Mary gradually moves towards an unspoken mutual romance, and just when the time seems right to express their feelings an unexpected obstacle occurs and prevents it from taking place.


Though the romantic descriptions were a bit broad and sometimes in my opinion unneeded and the story slow through the middle, this book continues to get better as you go on. The characters were relatable and the vivid descriptions of battles at sea, and heroic acts keeps you on your toes!

A story about finding strength to overcome fears, and the power to trust God's significant plan for your life. Just when the tension is too much to handle the ending makes up for everything!
Profile Image for Rebekah Morris.
Author 94 books217 followers
May 18, 2018
3.5 stars for me.
I'm still not quite sure what I think about this book. I enjoyed it. I liked the main characters for the most part, but at the same time there were things I didn't really care for.

Mary– I liked her. I did. But at the same time I really wanted someone to come alongside her and tell her that The way she worked on the mystery was quite fun.
Jim– He was pretty good. But I just didn't get his whole "not make waves" attitude.
The other characters were well done. I can't say I liked them all, but I don't usually like every character in a book.

I didn't care for the scene with the girls in their bathing suits and the guys without their shirts on, but thankfully it was short and didn't get too detailed.

The Christianity in the book didn't feel stuck in, but at times I wish it were a little stronger.
Overall I enjoyed the story and am looking forward to reading the next book in the series.
Profile Image for Brooklyne E..
61 reviews14 followers
March 16, 2021

This book, y’all. Like, I just can’t get over it. I absolutely loved it!!

The characters, the plot, the message, the mystery, etc!

First off, Mary is the sweetest. She’s so honest with herself and you can really feel her internal struggle with overcoming stage fright and prideful thoughts (even though she was extremely humble.) I love her passion for helping people and her drive to better her character by pushing through her fears. And deciding to be bold even when she wished to be invisible.

Jim. Jim was pretty darn awesome. I’m usually pretty picky about guy MCs. But Jim was so different than a lot of characters you see in fiction. I loved learning about his background and how he decided to start following Gods lead instead of “floating” through life. (Also I liked how his priorities changed.) His character definitely grew. I didn’t care for how he let Quintessa fawn over him, but he was learning how to stick up for himself. I also loved his friendships along the way. I love it when MC have best friends (as both Mary and Jim did).

The plot was amazing! I was very intrigued as to who was sabotaging the Boston Navy Yard. The mystery was great and the climax had my hands sweating. I almost couldn’t stand the POV switch because right when something suspenseful happened, I’d get to switch to another character and a different suspenseful part of the book. The ending was sweet and kinda just perfect for what the story was leading up to in each character. (Jim finally made some waves. And Mary got over her fear of being in the spotlight—thanks Jim.)

There was a couple characters that I would have liked to know what happened to them... like Gloria. She played a part in the first, but then kinda left the scene once Arch and her broke up. I’d also have liked to hear more about Mitch Hadley as he was thrown in at the end. Or at least, I don’t remember him being mentioned until the end. Lastly, I really wanted to hear more of Mary’s backstory... I feel like the readers got more of Jim’s story than hers.

Yes, parts were sad. But I felt like it was realistic to the timeframe. Not everyone made it home to be with their families. I so appreciate the description. The details, and basically I just love the writing style!!

The message was totally relatable. Overcoming fear, mental blocks, “silly” reasons for anxiety, overconfidence, lack of confidence, peer pressure, leadership, pride, self esteem, it was all there! I love the ties of Nehemiah and the lessons learned.

I know it’s a good book when I get so excited about it that I can’t stop talking about it. It’s just plain brilliant, ‘Kay?

I’d totally recommend this book if you are looking for a heartfelt love story, fun characters, and a exciting mystery! Probably more for older readers but I guess it just depends on your maturity and comfort level.

But personally, I thought it was super sweet, extremely exciting, and now one of my favorites!! I can’t wait to read book two and three!
Profile Image for Haley S.
385 reviews
April 27, 2017
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.

Filled with adventure, mystery, and, of course, romance, Through Waters Deep by Sarah Sundin was very good. I can't say that it what my favorite book by Sarah Sundin, but I did like it!
The one thing that wasn't exactly my favorite was that Jim wouldn't admit his feelings!!! Dude, just tell Quintessa that you like Mary, not her! That was the only reason that I didn't really like the book. Everything else was great!!
I really liked the mystery part of the story! Super intriguing! I could not wait until I found out what character was doing the sabotaging!
Reading about this era is wonderful because it is different from the other historical fiction eras. It isn't the Victorian era but it isn't the modern era. It is in between everything!
Because of my excitement to read the next books in the Waves of Freedom series, I will be posting a review on Anchor in the Storm soon. Even though it may seem early, I got the book early, and I must thank Sarah Sundin for hosting the giveaway in which I won Anchor in the Storm. As for the third book, I will have to wait for that.
Now for my final rating of Through Waters Deep, I would give this book 3 stars!

Title: Through Waters Deep
Author: Sarah Sundin
Author's Website: http://www.sarahsundin.com/

This review was written in my own opinions and words.
Profile Image for Bookworm.
330 reviews50 followers
January 11, 2017
Okay, so I stayed up till eleven last night to finish this-I just had to read Mary and Jim's triumphant and joyful reunion in the silence and calm of the night. <3 I really liked this one, better than A Distant Melody.
Let's see-well, when you combine a gentle and shy, cute girl named Mary Stirling, and a handsome, goofy (I loved that he was goofy sometimes, too often a hero is so properly quiet and serious), and caring Navy man named Jim Avery, some sabotage on a shipyard, and everyone suspect in the beautiful old town of Boston, you get a very satisfying mystery/romance!
I do find it disappointing that her heroes in her books are too-often attracted suddenly when they notice how good a figure the girl has. I mean, Jim was already falling in love with her, but I didn't like how he focused on her legs or how curvy she was. And the kissing was a little too descriptive. I like sharing my books with my brother but I can't really with these. :/
Otherwise, I really liked this book, and may have to give some of her others a try. I love how descriptive she is with clothes-*happy feminine squeal*!
Profile Image for R.J..
Author 4 books53 followers
August 22, 2015
I received this book from the author/publisher for the purpose of this review. All comments and opinions are entirely my own.

After reading In Perfect Timing I absolutely fell in love with Sarah's writing as well as her characters and stories. I was not in the least disappointed with Through Waters Deep as it had an excellent amount of action and romance! I love the characters and the story was thrilling. And how about that cover?! Awesome! Honestly, I really didn't notice anything particularly "bad" in this book, but there were a few detailed kissing scenes that may annoy/disturb some. Also, the story tends to lag a bit in the middle, but not bad. So overall, I rate Through Waters Deep 4 out 5 stars and will definitely be reading book 2 to the Waves of Freedom series!

Thanks for reading!

You can read this review, as well others, on my blog at http://acceleratethejesusmovement.wor...
Profile Image for Rachelle Cobb.
Author 8 books285 followers
June 27, 2019
I loved this book. Sarah Sundin is one of my top five favorite authors and no wonder so many others say the same! She is skilled at writing compelling characters whose growth arcs are unparallelled. She weaves her plot with intricate mastery to historical detail, and I'm never able to put down her books for long! I always finish them fast and can't wait to start the next one.
Profile Image for Malia Saldaña.
246 reviews12 followers
April 25, 2020
This book was a cute read. The characters were good, and the mystery was fun. I usually don’t read about the Navy. So, this was very interesting. I can’t wait to read the other two books in the series.
Profile Image for Ruth.
553 reviews38 followers
June 13, 2016
Following a childhood trauma, Mary Stirling’s primary goal in life became a concerted effort to remain as unobtrusive and unnoticed as possible – for pride in one’s self and accomplishments brings notice, and as her mother was always quick to remind her, pride comes before a fall. Now a secretary at the Boston Navy Yard, far from family and the memories that so rigidly defined her, she excels at her job, but is careful to do all she can to remain out of the spotlight. With war in Europe leading to an increasingly tense environment on American shores, rumors of sabotage between rival isolationist and interventionist political factions swirl around the Navy Yard. When a bottle of champagne at the latest launch – organized by Mary – is found to have been refilled with gasoline, the nebulous, rumored dangers at long last become a frightening reality. The ever-observant, always invisible Mary is perfectly placed to ferret out talk of sabotage – she goes everywhere and is remarked by no one. But as the pre-war tensions escalate, Mary’s amateur sleuthing efforts could bring her the kind of notice she never anticipated – the notice of a desperate saboteur willing to do anything – or hurt anyone – to achieve their aim.

Ensign Jim Avery welcomes the renewal Mary’s friendship when the one-time schoolmates reunite at the Navy Yard where Jim’s brand-new destroyer, the USS Atwood, is about to be commissioned. While he never viewed Mary romantically, instead preferring her best friend, the unattainable golden girl Quintessa, the more time he spends in Mary’s company the more he comes to appreciate her steadfast nature and quiet beauty. But just as he begins to realize the depth of his feelings, his orders send him out to sea and into danger, where a crude sabotage attempt is discovered. As tensions rise at home and abroad, the need to discover the saboteur at the Navy Yard increases as Jim and his fellow sailors face increasing threats from U-boats intent on stopping Lend-Lease convoys. The coming conflict forces both Mary and Jim to a crossroads, where each must decide whether or not they have the courage to face their fears and seize their chance at victory in life and love in the shadow of war.

The period leading up to and covering the second World War has long been one of my favorite areas of study, and film and fiction set during this period are guaranteed to pique my interest. As such Sarah Sundin’s novels have long been on my radar, but due to the ever evolving height of my to be read pile, I’ve yet to read her work until now. And, full disclosure, I totally picked this book to start with as I think the cover is stunning – that red dress! Swoon! Here Sundin dives into what has always been in my experience a relatively untapped market in historical fiction – stories set on the American homefront. Movies and novels covering this time frame are more often than not set in the action-heavy locations of the European or Pacific theaters of conflict. Happily, this first installment in Sundin’s Waves of Freedom series fills that gap, exploring the social and political tensions that regular citizens confronted on a daily basis, tensions Mary finds in one of its most extreme forms as sabotage and accusations fly around the Navy Yard.

Sundin’s characters are a delightful throwback, capturing the mannerisms and worldview of the time period with an authentic flair. While the nautical metaphors – such as Jim’s well-meant but ill-advised preference to “float” through life, thus avoiding accountability for decisions that could harm others, and both Jim and Mary’s reluctance to “make waves” either professionally or personally – wore thin as the novel progressed, one cannot fail to appreciate Sundin’s characterization, so critical in bringing the setting to vibrant life on the page. Mary and Jim, as well as their friends and colleagues, speak with the rhythms of the time period, their dialogue and worldview resonating as though it could have stepped straight from the pages of a 1940s-era Hollywood script.

I loved Mary’s character, even as I swung between heart-wrenching empathy regarding her self-confidence struggles and mind-blowing frustration at her seeming inability to ever stand up for herself. But that very tension is what made her such a compelling, relatable character, one I loved all the more for being a woman so wholly of her time. Despite her reluctance to ever step into the spotlight, I loved her hidden spunk, born of her passion for mysteries and an appreciation of the iconic – and always confident – sleuth Nancy Drew. Likewise, Jim is an everyman hero with a laid-back appeal reminiscent of the likes of a young Jimmy Stewart or Robert Taylor, all boyish charm and earnest heroism.

The friends-to-lovers trope has rarely been handled better, as Sundin deftly illustrates Jim and Mary’s respective maturation and slow-burning, simmering regard for each other slowly transform into the possibility of something more. It’s a bit rare for me to find swoon-worthy quotes in my much-loved inspy romances, but when Jim returns from his first deployment, eager to declare his feelings to Mary, and practices his opening gambit – “ever since we said good-bye, I couldn’t wait to say hello” – I was a GONER. That moment perfectly encapsulates why I love the romance of classic film and proves that Sundin must be, in that respect at least, a kindred spirit, able in that one rhythmic, heartfelt declaration to catapult Jim and Mary’s romance high onto my list of all-time favorites.

As the proud granddaughter of a Navy veteran, I loved the subject of Sundin’s latest series and couldn’t help but imagine a bit of my grandfather and grandmother’s wartime experiences alongside those of Jim and Mary (although to my knowledge they never encountered a saboteur! *wink*). Sundin spins her tale of life and love on the cusp of wartime with a compelling warmth and authenticity that speaks to both her affinity for her subject and her knowledge of the time period. I loved her focus on the homefront, particularly Mary’s – and her roommates – working woman status, hinting at the professional opportunities to come for women during the coming conflict.

Through Waters Deep is a thoroughly entertaining, engaging tale, a deft blend of history, romance, and a dash of intrigue. Sundin alternates points-of-view between Mary and Jim, which works for the most part – until one is left with a cliffhanger ending, to be resolved in the next alternating chapter. But setting aside that narrative issue, Mary and Jim’s story proved to be the perfect entry point into Sundin’s work. Her sense of time and place made the history-lover in me sing while her delicately-rendered romance made me swoon. Through Waters Deep is a beautiful story of second chances and bravery. I’m more eager than ever to catch up on Sundin’s backlist!
Displaying 1 - 30 of 429 reviews

Can't find what you're looking for?

Get help and learn more about the design.