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Book Review: When Tides Turn by Sarah Sundin

Sandra Ardoin @SandraArdoin

Cover Art
Revell Publishing

(I can totally see Dan Avery through that cover photo—stiff and super serious.)

When Tides Turn is out and finishes the naval-set stories of Jim, Lillian, and Dan Avery in the Waves of Freedom series.  Readers, don’t even think you’ll finish a Sarah Sundin novel/series without coming away more knowledgeable about World War II. Frankly, you’ll wish you could have read her stories for history class!

Quintessa Beaumont longs to be more than a pretty face. She wants people, especially men, to take her seriously and treat her as someone useful. It doesn’t help that she’s made some poor choices in the romance department in the past, choices Lt. Dan Avery remembers. But Dan is too focused on becoming Admiral Avery to worry about Quintessa, or Tess as she chooses to be called once she makes the decision to join the Navy’s WAVES. 

A figure in white caught her eye—a naval officer with a familiar determined gait. Quintessa’s heart lurched. Dan Avery? What was her roommate’s oldest brother doing here? 

She smoothed her blonde curls but stopped herself. Why bother? The man was already married—to the United States Navy.

Dan grew up too soon and has carried his overblown sense of responsibility into his adult life. All he wants is to be part of the action at sea and to become the naval officer his mentor believes he’s capable of being. When tragedy strikes, it brings with it the realization of what he’s allowed his life to become—all work and no play, none of the Sabbath rest God wants for us.

It would have been easy to find Dan unlikeable. I’ll admit, at first, I had my doubts about him. I’ve liked Quintessa in the previous two books and wanted to see her with someone who would value her. But after a while, I was won over, and by the end, I gave my approval. 😉

There’s a lot going on in this story other than a romance. As Tess fights for respect, she also works to solve the mystery involving her former roommate Yvette, who seems to have gotten mixed up in some type of spying. Tess just isn’t sure which side she’s on. Dan deals with a naval officer from his past who is determined to ruin his career. The themes are strong—self-esteem, ambition, forgiveness, and trusting in God’s plan. And, as usual, the historical setting gives the reader the sense of being transported back in time. 

Bottom line, Ms. Sundin has another hit on her hands! Hmm… Where will she take us next? She mentioned another Avery serving in the Pacific. I wonder.


As an author of heartwarming historical and contemporary romance, Sandra Ardoin engages readers with page-turning stories of love and faith. Rarely out of reach of a book, she's also an armchair sports enthusiast, country music listener, and seldom says no to eating out.

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