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The Sea Before Us (Sunrise at Normandy) Paperback – February 6, 2018
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From the Back Cover
Nothing but love could heal the wounds of war
In 1944, American naval officer Lt. Wyatt Paxton arrives in London to prepare for the Allied invasion of France. He works closely with Dorothy Fairfax, a "Wren" in the Women's Royal Naval Service, who pieces together reconnaissance photographs with holiday snapshots of France--including those of her family's summer home--in order to create accurate maps of Normandy. Maps that Wyatt turns into naval bombardment plans for D-day.
As the two spend concentrated time together in the pressure cooker of war, their deepening friendship threatens to turn into something more. But both of them have too much to lose to give in to love . . .
"With a pitch-perfect balance between history and the fine-tuned elements of story, The Sea Before Us stands out as superior in WWII fiction. Faith anchors the narrative with realism and sensitivity, while Sundin's meticulous attention to historical research around the massive D-day invasion shines to the level of a master storyteller. It's at once engaging, emotional, and a strong series debut. I couldn't put it down."--Kristy Cambron, bestselling author of The Lost Castle and the Hidden Masterpiece series
"History comes to life through Sundin's characters, who cope with the trials and dangers not only on the fields of combat but also in their personal lives. This great combination of dramatic history and likeable characters will keep you turning pages to find out what happens next."--Ann H. Gabhart, author of These Healing Hills
Sarah Sundin is the author of the Waves of Freedom, Wings of the Nightingale, and Wings of Glory series. Her novels have received starred reviews from Booklist and Library Journal, and her popular Through Waters Deep was a Carol Award finalist and named to Booklist's "101 Best Romance Novels of the Last 10 Years." A graduate of UC San Francisco School of Pharmacy, she works on-call as a hospital pharmacist. Sarah lives in California. Visit www.sarahsundin.com for more information.
About the Author
Sarah Sundin is the author of Through Waters Deep, Anchor in the Storm, and When Tides Turn in the Waves of Freedom series, as well as Wings of the Nightingale and the Wings of Glory series. Her novels have received starred reviews from Booklist and Library Journal. Her popular Through Waters Deep was a Carol Award finalist and named to Booklist's "101 Best Romance Novels of the Last 10 Years." A graduate of UC San Francisco School of Pharmacy, she works on-call as a hospital pharmacist. Sarah lives in California. Visit www.sarahsundin.com for more information.
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The Sea Before Us was an interesting historical read, albeit rather slow and frustrating. Dorothy's post is a unique detail, and there also is significant narrative regarding Wyatt's involvement leading up to and on D-Day (from his point of view); there is some description of rationing, air raids, and other wartime references. To me, the book had a slow start (even with a short flashback in the first chapter, I felt somewhat "dropped" into the story as well) and didn't pick up a great deal even toward the end (albeit I will say, kudos to Sundin for a plot twist that I did not see coming!). But, apart from the fragments, which jarringly broke up otherwise average writing, what I found most aggravating was Dorothy! She is a silly girl who is, for some reason, still pining after her schoolgirl crush, Lawrence, who comes back on the scene after a decade and is clearly an arrogant ladies man. Even though Dorothy finally (at the very end, after months of foolishness) acknowledges Lawrence's poor character, as well as Wyatt's good character, I could hardly accept that she ended up with Wyatt (who deserved better, in my opinion).
While I wasn't drawn in myself, I imagine others will enjoy The Sea Before Us for its historical detail and clean romance. And, if nothing else, for its plot twist.
Disclaimer: This book was received for free from Revell, a division of Baker Publishing Group, in exchange for my honest review. Note as with all reviews and references, I do not necessarily agree with (or am even aware of) any or all of the beliefs, views, etc. of the author; please read my disclaimer here.
In England, Dorothy has suffered the loss to war of her two brothers and her mother, and as a result her father has distanced himself from her, leaving her alone but needing to care for him as he will not look after himself. She also plays a part in the war effort, and her job in the Wrens gives her a chance to try to get close to her childhood crush and her brothers' friend Lawrence.
The war brings Wyatt and Dorothy together, and they each learn many lessons from the other, as each helps the other to gradually overcome their problems. In the background we see the unfolding of the war in the leadup to the invasion of France by the Allied forces in WWII.
This book was enjoyable and interesting on two fronts. First, the romance was clean and well done without taking over the entire book - the characters grew both individually and together, and the progression felt realistic - though I would have liked her to see what an unpleasant person Lawrence was rather sooner. Second, there was a strong background of history, both specific events (including a historical note at the end) and the overall feel of the time - educational to those who have never experienced war, air raids, rationing, etc. However, it doesn't feel like a history textbook or anything like that, the historical bits are neatly tied into the story so that you get the feeling without being bashed over the head with it. The writing quality was good, too - I don't even remember noticing any errors, though I don't try to look for them.
My one complaint about this book was that the whole thing with his brothers was left completely up in the air. I realise that this is because it is part of a series, with each brother having their own book (and I look forward to their release), but I don't like things being incomplete. Having said that, Wyatt's story was wrapped up neatly otherwise, which was good.
Overall, this is a book that I would highly recommend to anyone wanting a bit of history in with their somewhat more in-depth romance. This is not what I would class as a light read, but I say that in a good way. Curl up with it and you won't want to put it down!
Language/writing style: good writing, with no bad language
Characters: felt realistic
Message: Christian, motivational - good, not overdone
Overall rating: 5 stars
Note that I received a free copy of the book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. I was not required to write a positive review and this is my considered opinion of the book.