When I began planning my Waves of Freedom series with its focus on the Battle of the Atlantic, I needed an East Coast city with a naval presence. Boston fit. In 2014, I was blessed to be able to take a research trip, and I was struck by how Boston’s revolutionary roots highlighted the upheaval and mystery in my series.
The first book, Through Waters Deep, is set in 1941, when Americans debated going to war. Like in 1775. In both years, Americans faced a decision—do we continue life as before, or do we fight for freedom? In both years, America was bitterly divided—Patriots vs. Tories in 1775, isolationists vs. interventionists in 1941.
The second book, Anchor in the Storm, is set in early 1942, when German U-boats ravaged Allied shipping along the East Coast. The situation seemed as dire as in the early days of the Revolutionary War. The characters in the novel are encouraged by how the Minutemen fought despite overwhelming odds and probable defeat.
The third book, When Tides Turn, is set in late 1942 and early 1943, when the battle climaxed and turned in the Allies’ favor, just as the Revolutionary War turned into one of history’s most surprising victories.
In the series, I enjoyed featuring bits of Bostonian history during the 1940s. Did you know . . . ?
In 1942, the golden dome of the Massachusetts State House was painted black as an air raid precaution!
Important technological research was performed at the Navy’s Anti-Submarine Warfare Unit in Boston and the civilian Radiation Laboratory at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology—research that helped defeat the U-boats and created half the radar systems used by the US in World War II.
At the Boston Navy Yard (currently the Charlestown Navy Yard), six thousand ships were constructed, repaired, or outfitted from 1939-1945. At the start of the war, women worked only as telephone operators or in clerical positions (the heroine in Through Waters Deep works there as a secretary—and solves a mystery). As the war progressed, women were hired for more types of jobs. At the peak in 1943, the Boston Navy Yard employed 50,000 people, 20 percent of whom were women. The ladies of the Navy’s WAVES program played an important role there too—which is featured in When Tides Turn.
From its revolutionary roots to its vital impact during World War II, Boston has continued to play an important role in American history.
Plus, Boston cream pie.
Please visit her at http://www.sarahsundin.com.