‘ANCHOR IN THE STORM’: WWII HISTORICAL ROMANCE AT ITS BEST. Review of the historical fiction novel by Sarah Sundin. All text © Rissi JC

STORY: With the shadow of Pearl Harbor’s fate hanging over them, the Avery family prepares to say goodbye to their independent daughter, Lillian. As her brothers join the fight as Navy men, her twin sister, Lucy (whom she’s never been close with) is married and expecting her first child. This leaves Lillian with little purpose. Experiencing the pangs of trepidation and excitement she makes ready to move to Boston. Once there, she plans to put her training as a pharmacist to use while rooming with her brother’s girlfriend, Mary.  

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Everything starts out swimmingly until her brother’s best friend Arch Vanderberg, tries to befriend Lillian. As the only son of a wealthy family, Arch is NOT Lillian’s ideal man… but there’s something unexpected hidden beneath Arch’s external entitled attitude. As the two become connected beyond that of their social outings, sparks fly, first impressions alter and a possibility Lillian never dared hope for begins to bloom. 

Anchor in the Storm, by Sarah Sundin | Book Review

I still remember reading Sarah’s Through Waters Deep (book one) last summer and loving it. There is something about these books that inspires, not only poignant thought, but charming romanticism that is hard to dissuade (because it works organically with the rest of the story) or ignore. The author gently coaxes this (and more) out of the characters, even in their worst moments everything remains endearing.

Though the cover designs match and create an elegant “first impression,” Anchor in the Storm is a giant departure from its predecessor. At least in terms of characterizations, and I couldn’t be more pleased with this. Lillian is a very different character than that of Through Waters Deep’s heroine Mary Stirling. 

“She kissed him back, opening every cavern of her heart for him to explore, to own, to love.” ― Sarah Sundin, Anchor in the Storm

She feels acutely contrary to the impression people assume of her. This means she has a personality we can relate to in many respects (true for those of us who don’t wear our hearts on our sleeves). Because her heart is tossed in love, and wounded in the past, Lillian carries her burdens (to the point of refusing herself the cleansing ability to cry) close. Then there is our Navel hero, Arch. What can I put to paper about him that would properly represent him? Nothing, I’d wager. Arch is a noble, worthy hero who is impossible to forget. I loved how he loved Lillian (in spite of their differences and misunderstandings) and respected that he respected her. 

Beyond this, Anchor in the Storm is blissfully akin to the technique we know to be Sarah Sundin’s signature style. There’s a cozy mystery, well researched historical details, a full-circle concept that’s breathtaking, and a romance that develops well. All of which is sure to leave you starry eyed.

About the Book:

Author: Sarah Sundin
Publisher: Revell
Source: Publisher Provided
Publication Date: 2016
Find the Review elsewhere: Goodreads
Add the Book: Goodreads
Series: Waves of Freedom, Book 2
Genre: Fiction; Historical Romance
Rating: ★★★★★

Sincere thanks to the publisher for providing a complimentary copy of this book for reviewing purposes.

About Rissi JC

amateur graphic designer. confirmed bookaholic. bubbl’r enthusiast. critical thinker. miswesterner. social media coordinator. writer.


    1. My pleasure, Sarah. Thank you for writing and sharing these stories – and for dropping by. Always nice to "see" you here. :)

  1. I know I already kinda said this on Twitter, but your review is so beautifully written. Can't wait to read it (and Sundin's other books as well!).

    1. Hi, Bekah! Thanks so much. I appreciate YOU taking the time to stop by, and as always, for reading. :) Hope you enjoy Sarah's novels. They're amazing!

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