The Sea Before Us by Sarah Sundin

The Sea Before Us

Book 1 in the Sunrise at Normandy series

Publication Date: February 2018

Betrayal as deep . . .
Love as mysterious . . .
As the sea before them.

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 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 in this powerful new series.


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*Starred review!* [The Sea Before Us] is written with the unwavering excellence for which readers know and love Sundin, and its intensely personal portrait of those living through loss is stunning and tragic.

Sundin displays her usual knack for weaving historical detail into a rousing war drama in this enjoyable launch of the Sunrise at Normandy series. Sundin’s lively book combines heart-pounding war action with inspirational romance to great effect.

Her knowledge of that period, both of the people and the Allied forces, shines in the narrative. In addition to the engaging love story…Sundin has set up an attention-grabbing plot…Readers will be informed and entertained.

History Behind the Story

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Do you have photos from your research trip to England and Normandy?
In The Sea Before Us, Wyatt serves on an American destroyer on D-day. Do you have pictures of destroyers and the equipment on board?

Please see my blog posts, where I share pictures from my tours of Fletcher-class destroyer USS Cassin Young (Charlestown Navy Yard, Boston, MA), Gearing-class destroyer USS Joseph P. Kennedy (Battleship Cove, Fall River, MA), and equipment on battleships USS Massachusetts (Battleship Cove, Fall River, MA) and USS Iowa (Long Beach, CA).

Part 1: Topside

Part 2: Below Decks

Part 3: Gunnery

I’m intrigued about the BBC “photo contest” and how snapshots and postcards were used to draw maps. Was that real?

Indeed it was! Here’s a fascinating article about it, with examples of postcards that were used.

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