The Sea Before Us

The Sea Before Us – Sunrise At Normandy #1

Sarah Sundin

reviewed by bookwolf4

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.


The Sea Before Us is a clean, sweet read about D-Day.

For starters, Wyatt’s faith was really nice to see. He is a strong Christian, despite all that he has been through. He says that in a way, his sins brought him even closer to God as he saw how much he needed a Saviour. But Wyatt isn’t perfect. He struggles with forgiving himself, even though he knows that God has forgiven him. Dorothy is a major factor in encouraging him to forgive himself, even though she does not trust in God.

Dorothy and her father are two grieving people who are trying to protect themselves from more grief, but going about it in very opposite ways. Dorothy thinks that God is trying to take away everyone she loves. This is shown in a very open manner, not judging one character, but making you sympathise with both of them despite their flaws. Dorothy lives in fear of settling down, afraid that, like her mother, she will ruin the man she loves.

Dorothy spends a decade of her life trying to become someone she isn’t, to impress someone who does not care for her. It is really sad to see the lengths that she will go, the desperation, to get his attention.

The only flaw that I found in this book was that the romance was a bit annoying. Every time Sundin wanted to portray how much the two characters love each other, she told us, instead of showing us – and told us in very flowery, fancy words, which was a bit sickening after a while.

In conclusion, this is one of the best books I have read about D-Day. Sarah Sundin shows the feeling of powerlessness that the characters have, knowing they have done all they could, but not knowing if it was enough. I can’t wait for the next book!


“Why ask a girl out unless you really like her? And if you really like her, why go out with others?”

“No, you need to cry. … My mama says women need to cry every once in a while. Washes away all the weakness so you can stay strong. Always let a lady cry, she says.”

“You might be happy with crumbs, but not me.” His face–she’d never seen him angry before, and she didn’t like it at all. “I–I don’t know what you’re talking about.” “Eaton–he throws you a crumb.” He flung his hand to the side, like Papa feeding the ducks. “He throws First Officer Fussbudget a crumb. He throws What’s-Her-Face in supply a crumb. And y’all don’t mind. Y’all keep coming back for those crumbs.” Dorothy’s chin inched up at the unflatteringly accurate description. “I hardly–” “I don’t want crumbs.” He jabbed his thumb at his chest. “The whole loaf or nothing at all.”

See? See? She saw clearly for the first time since the war began, and she longed to be blind again.

“God had taken away everyone I loved. I–maybe if I ignored you, he wouldn’t see how much I loved you. Then I wouldn’t lose you too.”









Mild – To impress a man, Dorothy makes herself become the girl he wanted. She flirts with him, even though she knows he is going out with two other girls.

Wyatt tells Dorothy he loves her. She is confused, not understanding the difference between love and infatuation.

Some flirting between Dorothy and Wyatt, they kiss a few times.

A woman fakes her death, leaves her husband and runs off with a married man.


Moderate – A character falls to their death, breaking their neck.

Mentions of Dorothy’s brothers and mother who were killed. (Mentions of Dorothy’s mother and her mother’s friend reduced to ashes by a bomb).

A boat sinks. People are killed. Lots of ships are blown up on D-Day.


None. Mentions of people cussing, but it isn’t written out.




Moderate – D-Day and the landing at Normandy is intense, this goes on for multiple chapters, building tension.


Wyatt knows God has forgiven him, but he can’t forgive himself, and he wishes his family could forgive him. Dorothy doesn’t trust God, as she thinks that all he has ever done for her is hurt her. Wyatt refuses to accept credit for anything he does well, punishing himself for an accident that he had a part in.



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