Sarah Sundin's Wings of Nightingale series,which features World War II nurses serving in the European war theater, was packed with lots of fast paced action and danger, along with heartfelt personal stories and romance. I expected something similar from THROUGH WATERS DEEP, the first book in Sundin's new series Waves of Freedom, but Sundin has concentrated on a different time and place for this title. It is fall 1941 and America has not yet entered the war. President Franklin Delano Roosevelt has signed the Lend Lease Act which will send planes, ships, and other military materials to bolster England's defense. Reaction back here in America is mixed, and that is especially true at the Boston Navy Yard where defense workers are on a tight schedule to turn out as many ships as possible.
When the christening of a new ship is sabotaged, many believe that it is the work of a Nazi sympathizer and point their fingers at a German immigrant at the yard, but others believe that the sabotage may actually be the work of someone who wishes to push America into a full blown war effort. Mary Stirling, a Navy Yard secretary, realizes that her job is the perfect foil for hearing, seeing, and recording the unrest developing among the workers. At first when she shares her "reports" with the authorities, they laugh at her attempts to be a "Nancy Drew" but she continues to snoop. Meanwhile she encounters a childhood friend, Jim Avery, now a Navy ensign. Soon she knows her feelings go beyond friendship but remains silent knowing that Jim still carries a torch for her best friend. Jim encourages her to keep snooping, but also worries about her safety.
I've always enjoyed Sundin's writing, and while I enjoyed both Mary and Jim and their personal stories in the novel, I was slightly disappointed in the overall plot. I want my historical fiction to be as accurate as possible and I felt THROUGH DEEP WATERS slightly missed the target here. Yes, there really was much dissension here at home prior to entering the war and Sundin does an excellent job of capturing that emotional tension but there was never any "terrorism" or "sabotage" as depicted in the story. Clearly Sundin felt justified in creating a sabotage event for the story since there was actual fear of it happening, but I felt cheated by having sabotage be a key element of the book. I don't know what mystery or suspense Sundin could have created for Mary to be part of, but I wish it had been something more authentic. On a positive note, I liked the humor and heartbreak added by Jim's wealthy friend who was seeking a girl not influenced by his money. Also, Jim's brothers, also Navymen, are introduced (from a distance) and that prepares readers for the next books in the series. Since this book ends as Japan attacks Pearl Harbor, I assume the brothers' stories will be set in the thick of World War II and we know that Sundin can write good fiction about the war action. I received a copy of this novel from Revell Reads for my honest review.