Author * Speaker * Editor

Excellent storytelling, accurate historical reporting, and gritty, persevering characters

The Story behind When Tides Turn by Sarah Sundin

Sarah Sundin is returning to the blog this week because she has a new release! It’s always a happy day for me when I hear she has something new out there. I love reading other views of WWII. Her newest book is When Tides Turn

When Quintessa Beaumont learns the US Navy has established the WAVES program for women, she enlists, eager to throw off her frivolous ways and contribute to the war effort. Lt. Dan Avery employs his skills in antisubmarine warfare to fight U-boats at the peak of the Battle of the Atlantic, but the last thing he wants to see on his radar is fun-loving Tess. As Dan and Tess work together in Boston, the changes in Tess challenge his notions—and his heart.

It’s always fascinating to hear about little-known parts of the war. What inspired you to write When Tides Turn?

When Tides Turn was inspired by two World War II events, the establishment of the WAVES and the turning point of the Battle of the Atlantic.

The US Navy established the WAVES (Women Accepted for Voluntary Emergency Service) on July 30, 1942. At first the Navy was reluctant to take women due to fears that women wouldn’t be capable or would distract the men. In my novel, Tess Beaumont joins the WAVES and has to prove herself. During the war, the WAVES quickly proved their worth, and soon all branches of the Navy were clamoring for more WAVES. By the end of the war, 86,000 women served as aviation machinists, yeomen, engineers, parachute riggers, radiomen, and more.

The Battle of the Atlantic was the longest battle of World War II, as German U-boats attacked Allied shipping and Allied warships fought back. In When Tides Turn, American naval officer Lt. Dan Avery serves during the peak of the battle in March 1943, when the U-boats sank 95 ships. However, the tide was already turning. Allied advances in breaking the German Enigma code and in radar and radio direction-finding helped locate the elusive U-boats. And air power turned the hunter U-boats to prey. In 1943, the Allies began using auxiliary carriers (also called escort carriers) in convoys. The carrier aircraft detected U-boats, sank them, and drove them away from the vulnerable cargo ships. May 1943 represented the turning point in the Battle of the Atlantic, when U-boats sank 41 ships, but 44 subs were lost, several to carriers such as the USS Bogue, the real ship my fictional hero serves on. Although U-boats remained active until V-E Day, they never again posed as serious a threat. Victory in this battle led to victory in the war by allowing American and Canadian troops to safely cross to Britain for D-day in June 1944.

Sarah Sundin is the author of nine historical novels, including When Tides Turn. Her novel Through Waters Deep was a finalist for the 2016 Carol Award, won the INSPY Award, and was named to Booklist’s “101 Best Romance Novels of the Last 10 Years.” A mother of three, Sarah lives in California, works on-call as a hospital pharmacist, and teaches Sunday school. She also enjoys speaking for church, community, and writers’ groups.

Thanks for stopping by, Sarah! I always learn something when you’re on.

And you can enter to win a copy of this book. Follow the simple directions below.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Good luck, everyone!


  1. My first thought was joining the Navy, but I get seasick. My second thought was the Air Force but I am terrified of heights so for the good of our country my best contribution is to stay home and pray! Thanks for the opportunity to win….Great post!

  2. I would enlist in the Air Force. 😀 Looking forward to this book!!

  3. Always greatly enjoy Sarah’s books and Liz’s, along with the blogs! Which branch of service….well, since I worked as an accountant in the airline industry, I would probably say Air Force, due to the interest in aviation. Thanks!

  4. I’m looking forward to read your new book because my mother was in the Navy as a typist and my father was in the Navy, too, as a engineer.

  5. I’d love to be a Wave!!

  6. If I had served (and I often regret I didn’t), it would be Navy. My father served in the US Navy during WWII on the USS Bowie, and my son served 6 years on the USS Boxer LHD4. The patriotic heritage was carried on from my father to my son and I often wish I had followed suit. Sarah’s books link me to the time when my father and father in-law served this great country and I love each and every one. Can’t wait to read “When Tides Turn”!

    • Sarah and I both have sons serving in the military. So proud to be a military mom. Thanks for stopping by!

    • I love the family heritage! My grandfather served as a pharmacist’s mate in the Navy in WWII – and my son (who bears his grandfather’s name as his middle name!) is a new sailor! He’s very proud to follow in his great-grandfather’s footsteps.

  7. I would probably choose the army to carry on the family tradition.

  8. Air Force definitely :))

  9. If i had to serve, I would join the Air Force. I would love to be a pilot.

  10. My dad retired from the Air Force, and my husband, uncles, father-in-law, brother, etc. we’re in as well, so I’d choose that branch for certain.

  11. If I had to serve in the military, it would in the Army.

  12. I would probably join the Air Force. As always, love Sarah’s books.

  13. I’d take Air Force. I don’t like heights but I do like to fly!

  14. I have several uncles who were in the Army. So since it’s hypothetical I’ll say Army! I respect all of our armed forces though!

  15. Navy, I think, but definitely not in a submarine! I’d probably need a desk job, no matter which branch I went into. Our military personnel deserve every praise possible. Brave young men & women!

  16. The Army and hopefully behind a desk. I am sure they need good secretaries.

  17. I would choose the Army because I had several in the family that served in that capacity. But I definitely wouldn’t want to be on the field. I’m too terrified of guns. Thanks for this giveaway!

  18. That is a good question. My husband served in both the Navy and the Air Force so I might consider them, but my dad served in the Marines, so maybe I would go with that… I just can’t decide. I would probably be of the most use in some type of office capacity. 🙂 Thanks for the giveaway.

  19. Thanks for having Sarah! I don’t think I could handle the Navy, Marines, or Coast Guard and seeing as how I don’t do great with flying I guess that eliminates the Air Force so Army it is!

  20. I really have no idea where I would choose. I’ve never even thought about it. I’m so thankful for those who do go and serve.

  21. If I had to serve, I would choose the Navy. I’d love to be on the water, although I’ve only been on a large passenger boat.

  22. I would have to say the Navy. It would be fascinating to be on the water and see the many sights.

  23. I would have joined the Navy!

  24. Even though my Daddy served in the Army, I’d want to serve in the Air Force. I love to fly!

  25. I’m an Air Force brat and proud of it. My dad served 20! If I hadn’t met my husband when I did the AF was my goal!!!
    Enjoy your books.

  26. I have both a brother and a brother-in-law who have served in the Air Force, so I guess I would choose it.

  27. My husband is a Marine so it would be the Marines. He is tough and has a strong sense of intregrity

  28. The Marines would be my choice 🙂

  29. Coast Guard!! I should’ve been born a fish!