Anchor in the Storm
One Plucky Female Pharmacist + One High-Society Naval Officer = Romance–and Danger
For plucky Lillian Avery, America’s entry into World War II means a chance to prove herself as a pharmacist in Boston. The challenges of her new job energize her. But society boy Ensign Archer Vandenberg’s attentions only annoy–even if he is her brother’s best friend.
During the darkest days of the war, Arch’s destroyer hunts German U-boats in vain as the submarines sink dozens of merchant ships along the East Coast. Still shaken by battles at sea, Arch notices his men also struggle with their nerves–and with drowsiness. Could there be a link to the large prescriptions for sedatives Lillian has filled? The two work together to answer that question, but can Arch ever earn Lillian’s trust and affection?
Sarah Sundin brings World War II to life, offering readers an intense experience they won’t soon forget.
Introducing Lillian & Arch
Brief physical description
Lillian Avery: She has dark blonde hair, large hazel eyes, and delicate features. Due to a childhood accident, she lost her left leg below the knee and wears a prosthesis.
Ensign Archer (Arch) Vandenberg: a handsome man with wavy blond hair and bright blue eyes. He comes from old New England money and has a polished, patrician look about him.
Two years ago, I posted a picture of my daughter, Anna, all dolled-up in 1940s dress for a school project. My Facebook friends said she could be a model for one of my books. And I realized…she has the same coloring and look as Lillian does! Not intentional at all. So when I sent in my cover questionnaire to Revell, I sent this picture. And the cover model does look a lot like my Anna!
As for Arch, the cover model captures his look perfectly!
Strengths and weaknesses
Lillian is plucky and independent, cheerful and determined. Her independence comes at a cost though. She has a hard time opening up to people, and she doesn’t trust many people outside her family.
Arch is charming and sociable, but also cautious, dependable, orderly, and a perfectionist. However, his high standards often cause him to be suspicious and judgmental when he’s not careful.
Quirk (if any)
Lillian has a love-hate relationship with her prosthesis. She loves the independence her artificial leg gives her, but she hates how people stare—as Arch finds out the hard way! And she despises the crutches she has to use when she’s sore or her prosthesis is being repaired. She sees them as an emblem of weakness.
Although Arch comes from old New England money, he despises wealth and distrusts those who seek it. He longs to live a simple, Spartan life. However, he’s still drawn to the finer things in life.
Your inspiration for the character
As a pharmacist myself, I’ve longed to tell a story about a pharmacist on the US Home Front, especially a woman. Since less than 5 percent of pharmacists at the time were female, I wondered why a woman would choose the profession. She’d need to be feisty and determined…and what if she felt she needed a profession because no one would ever marry her? I’d also always wanted to write about a heroine with a visible physical disability—and Lillian Avery came to be.
Arch started off as Jim Avery’s best friend in Through Waters Deep. I gave him old-money New England roots to contrast with Jim’s small-town Midwestern upbringing, and made him more serious and grounded to balance Jim’s easy-going, fun-loving personality. Somewhere along the line, I realized Arch didn’t want to be rich—and I wanted to know more! I couldn’t wait to tell Arch’s story.
Background to the story
For Arch’s naval story, I wanted to follow the U-boat war off America’s East Coast in the first six months of 1942, when the Germans sank one hundred merchant ships. The US Navy was scrambling to catch up with limited resources, and I felt it was a particularly dramatic aspect of the war.
Lillian’s mystery was inspired by my husband, who is also a pharmacist. A few years ago, he made a transition from medical research to community pharmacy—and he was shocked at the impact of the current narcotic abuse epidemic. He noticed abuses of the system and several forged prescriptions, and he began cracking down. My overactive novelist’s imagination kicked in. What if my husband enraged the local drug kings? Would they come after him? It didn’t take long for me to modify this concept to my female pharmacist in World War II.
Sarah Sundin is the author of eight historical novels, including Anchor in the Storm. Her novel Through Waters Deep was named to Booklist’s “101 Best Romance Novels of the Last 10 Years,” and her novella “I’ll Be Home for Christmas” in Where Treetops Glisten was a finalist for the 2015 Carol Award. A mother of three, Sarah lives in California, works on-call as a hospital pharmacist, and teaches Sunday school. http://www.sarahsundin.com
Relz Reviewz Extras
Review of On Distant Shores, With Every Letter, Blue Skies Tomorrow & A Distant Melody
Character spotlight on Jim & Mary, Georgie & Hutch, Tom & Mellie, Ray & Helen, Jack & Ruth & Allie & Walt
RBC Book Club interview with Sarah ~ Part 1 & Part 2
Visit Sarah’s website and blog
Buy from Amazon: Anchor in the Storm or Koorong