Lately, I've been in a bit of a reading slump. It's not that I haven't read enjoyable books, but I've only had three 5-star reads so far this year, and I finished the last one (For Love & Honor) at the end of February. I was absolutely ready for another "I love this book so much and I can't put it down and I wish it wouldn't end" kind of read ... and, happily, that's exactly what I found with When Tides Turn.
In a time of war, sometimes battles take place in the heart. Tess Beaumont is tired of being thought of as just a pretty face. Eager to do her part for the war effort, she joins the Navy's newly established WAVES program for women. Perhaps there she can convince people that there is more to her than meets the eye. Lt. Dan Avery has been using his skills in the fight against German U-boats and hoping to make admiral. The last thing he wants to see on his radar is a girl like Tess. Convinced that romance will interfere with his goals, Dan is determined to stay the course, no matter how intriguing a distraction Tess is. But love, like war, is unpredictable. When Dan is shipped out at the peak of the Battle of the Atlantic, he finds himself torn between his lifelong career goals and his desire to help the beguiling Tess root out a possible spy on shore. Could this fun-loving glamour girl really be the one?
When Tides Turn, the third and final book in Sarah Sundin's Waves of Freedom series, is set mainly in Boston in the early 1940's. The novel continues the story of the Avery siblings, finally telling oldest brother Dan's story. A Navy lieutenant with his sights set on eventually becoming an admiral, Dan is dismayed when he's assigned to a desk job at the Anti-Submarine Warfare Unit in Boston ... especially since Quintessa Beaumont, a woman far too pretty for her own good, is constantly crossing his path.
Tired of being viewed as just a pretty face, Quintessa asks her friends to call her Tess and is determined to be taken seriously. As part of her transformation, Tess, who has a business degree, wants more than her salesgirl position at a department store, so she joins the Navy's new WAVES program for women. She assumes the WAVES will take her away from Dan Avery, a man she finds incredibly intriguing and attractive, but who also knows about her embarrassing past. However, the Navy assigns her to Boston ... where she struggles to conceal her growing feelings for Dan.
I have to admit that Tess wasn't exactly my favorite heading into this novel. In the first novel, she was even a pseudo-villain, though she did improve in the second book. Still, I wasn't sure if I could get behind her as the heroine of a novel. (Spoiler alert: I could.) While I couldn't exactly identify with her problem of not being taken seriously because of her beauty, I did admire her drive to improve herself and support her nation. And her romance with Dan had a super-sweet, slow-burn quality to it that I really enjoyed.
Much of the novel is about Dan's and Tess's individual journeys—Dan's with the ASWU, as he dealt with his desire to be assigned to a ship a superior with a vendetta, and Tess's in Boston, as she worked with the FBI to uncover a spy. But the novel really sings when the two are together; it's so obvious how they not only have chemistry but also push each other to be better. Both Dan and Tess change dramatically through the novel, largely through the influence of the other. The conflicts in their romance also seemed realistic—these conflicts were not overly drawn out, and they stemmed from flaws that each one had. I really appreciated that they had to deal with their differences before they could have a solid relationship.
When Tides Turn is a wonderful conclusion to Sundin's Waves of Freedom series. It's a novel history buffs and romance lovers are sure to enjoy! 5 stars.
Sarah Sundin is the author of Through Waters Deep and Anchor in the Storm, as well as the Wings of the Nightingale and the Wings of Glory series. A graduate of UC San Francisco School of Pharmacy, she works on call as a hospital pharmacist. During WWII, her grandfather served as a pharmacist's mate (medic) in the Navy and her great-uncle flew with the US Eighth Air Force. Sarah lives in California.
Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from Revell through the Revell Reads program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. 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."
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