Book Review: The Sea Before Us

18 Jun

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. Dorothy pieces together reconnaissance photographs with thousands of holiday snapshots of France–including those of her own family’s summer home–in order to create accurate maps of Normandy. Maps that Wyatt will turn into naval bombardment plans.

As the two spend concentrated time together in the pressure cooker of war, their deepening friendship threatens to turn to love. Dorothy must resist its pull. Her bereaved father depends on her, and her heart already belongs to another man. Wyatt too has much to lose. The closer he gets to Dorothy, the more he fears his efforts to win the war will destroy everything she has ever loved.

The tense days leading up to the monumental D-Day landing blaze to life under Sarah Sundin’s practiced pen with this powerful new series.


Sarah Sundin enjoys writing about the drama and romance of the World War II era. She is the author of ten novels, including the The Sea Before Us (February 2018) and the Waves of Freedom series (Through Waters Deep, Anchor in the Storm, and When Tides Turn).

A mother of three, Sundin lives in northern California, works on-call as a hospital pharmacist, and enjoys speaking to community, church, and writers’ groups. Her novels When Tides Turn and Through Waters Deep were both named to Booklist’s 101 Best Romance Novels of the Past 10 Years. Through Waters Deep was a 2016 Carol Award Finalist and won the INSPY Award, and her novella in Where Treetops Glisten was a finalist in the 2015 Carol Awards. In 2011 she received the Writer of the Year Award from the Mount Hermon Christian Writers Conference. Please visit Sarah at, on Facebook at SarahSundinAuthor, and on Twitter at @sarahsundin.


My Impressions:

My book club gives its unanimous approval to The Sea Before Us by Sarah Sundin. This WWII-era romance has everything we look for in a book — great relatable characters, realistic story line, and a setting that captures our imagination. We also had plenty to talk about! Most of us didn’t know much about the planning of the D-Day invasion or the sea support of the campaign, and this novel was a wonderful glimpse into the strategy and sheer determination of the participants. This one is a recommended read from By The Book.

The Sea Before Us is set in the months leading up to the D-Day invasion. Main characters Dorothy, a WREN, and Wyatt, a US Naval officer, are both involved in the planning stages. I loved the detail Sundin shares in the meticulous mapping of the Normandy coast in a time way before Google Earth. In addition, the complexity of the naval operation is told in a way even those with no military background can understand. But this novel also gives a glimpse into the wartime psyche of the people of England. The famous stiff upper lip hid a multitude of fears but served as a means for civilians and military alike to defeat the evil that took over Europe. Dorothy and Wyatt, both dedicated to their jobs, were influenced by their past mistakes and sense of unworthiness. While it helped get the job done, both needed to put aside failures and rejections in order to discover their worth in God’s eyes. This aspect of the novel made both characters realistic. As for the romance, sparks ignite for the Texas cowboy and the vivacious red-headed English girl. For Dorothy a family secret is revealed, but Wyatt’s family issues remain — the story will continue in the next two books.

We all loved The Sea Before Us, but are not satisfied that we will have to wait so long for the next two books! But we are definitely putting them on our 2019 and 2020 reading list.


Book Club Approved.

Audience: adults.

To purchase, click HERE.

(I received an ARC from Library Thing and purchased a copy from Amazon. All opinions expressed are mine alone.)


4 Responses to “Book Review: The Sea Before Us”

  1. Sarah Sundin June 18, 2018 at 9:53 am #

    Thank you so much, Beckie! I’m so glad your book club enjoyed The Sea Before Us!

    • rbclibrary June 19, 2018 at 6:24 am #

      Thank you, Sarah, for great books!


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