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Island of Sweet Pies and Soldiers by Sara…

Island of Sweet Pies and Soldiers (original 2018; edition 2018)

by Sara Ackerman (Author)

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545338,643 (3.75)1
"Hawaii, 1944. The Pacific battles of World War II continue to threaten American soil, and on the home front, the bonds of friendship and the strength of love are tested. Violet Iverson and her young daughter, Ella, are piecing their lives together one year after the disappearance of her husband. As rumors swirl and questions about his loyalties surface, Violet believes Ella knows something. But Ella is stubbornly silent. Something--or someone--has scared her. And with the island overrun by troops training for a secret mission, tension and suspicion between neighbors is rising. Violet bands together with her close friends to get through the difficult days. To support themselves, they open a pie stand near the military base, offering the soldiers a little homemade comfort. Try as she might, Violet can't ignore her attraction to the brash marine who comes to her aid when the women are accused of spying. Desperate to discover the truth behind what happened to her husband, while keeping her friends and daughter safe, Violet is torn by guilt, fear and longing as she faces losing everything. Again."--provided by publisher.… (more)
Title:Island of Sweet Pies and Soldiers
Authors:Sara Ackerman (Author)
Info:MIRA (2018), 400 pages
Collections:Your library

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Island of Sweet Pies and Soldiers by Sara Ackerman (2018)



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Once upon a time, Violet's world was turned upside down not once but thrice. First, she was swept off her feet by Herman, a man of good standing and noble intentions, whisked away to the islands, and a life was built around the friendship turned more with Ella as the wonderful "byproduct" of their home grown love. The second time was when that same said stalwart figure in her life...disappeared without a trace...and the only one who knows something isn't talking. So, who's playing mum? That'd be Ella, but despite KNOWING she's holding something back, she doesn't have proof nor the desire to disrupt her daughter's life any more than it has been already, so she buries the speculations, covers the uncertainties, and tries to move on with some semblance of normalcy while still humbly searching for answers. The thrice world rocking event was a bit more complicated...

This mile marker involved more than a moment, but ultimately life changing and far reaching events. Violet's heart was reawakened by truth, tragedy, and a sweet second chance romance that reminds her that life is for the living, the past belongs in the past, but neither one says we need to leave behind those we love. We could feel her pain for all that happened, but as much as it was about her, little Ella (such a sweet, strong, and wonderful young lady!), and what may be, it was also about the stories of all those surrounding them during some of our nation's darker times. WWII wasn't for the faint of heart, and discrimination and prejudice are nothing new (then or now) in every day life let alone times of war, but seeing it from the battlefields is one thing, seeing it from the families is another.

All in all, though I wobbled between fascinated and merely interested as I was reading, by book's end I found the story making room for itself in my heart. Getting to know Ella and Violet, Roscoe and Parker, Jean and Setsuko, and all the others, will warm your heart, and remind you that family is more than blood, but those you choose to hold close and never let go.

**copy received for review ( )
  GRgenius | Sep 15, 2019 |
Enjoyable story set on the Big Island of Hawaii during World War II. I liked main character Violet and her young daughter Ella, who are struggling to get by after the disappearance of Violet's husband one year ago. Violet thinks Ella may know something about what happened, but Ella's not talking. I enjoyed Violet's group of friends who really supported her and each other during tough times. Also really liked the soldiers who were training on the island and became regular visitors to Violet's and her friend's house. Roscoe the lion was an interesting addition, as well. And I absolutely loved the Big Island setting and the time period of WWII. There's mystery and romance in this interesting and entertaining read. ( )
  PaulaLT | Aug 19, 2019 |
I loved this book from page one. The tale of female friendship and the unique WWII home front tale in Hawaii drew me in and wouldn't let me go. In a land commonly known as a paradise, it was jarring to see how war affected those left behind: death, detainment, and prejudice. This was one of the best books I read in 2018!

I loved Ackerman’s descriptive prowess. She brings to life the vibrant world of lush Hawaii and its various people groups. For such a small island community, there is an incredible diversity in cultures and races. Ackerman really does it justice in making the reader experience and appreciate how each group saw life and the war. Then you bring in the army on a war footing; with their paranoid lookout for any thought up spies, a proverbial stick of dynamite is thrown into that cultural pot and everything boils over in different ways. Let's just say you never get bored exploring the people groups of this island.

The dual story telling of Violet and her daughter was jarring at times; however, once I got used to that format, flowed fantastically. As the story went along, seeing the same events through the eyes of a mother and her child, each with differing POVs and information known, made the story all the more interesting. Those different perspectives gave the reader two completely different views of a family torn apart by tragedy and a society in flux.

Violet was an amazing character through which to tell this story. Her mix of vulnerability and strength of character and will made for a potent mix. She puts down prejudice and hatred wherever she encounters it, not letting her Japanese neighbors stand alone in the winds of war. Yet, she also feels a vast emptiness not knowing the ultimate fate of her husband and trying to help a daughter facing severe emotional crisis. Every time I encountered Violet, I knew I was in for a rich experience.

With a unique setting and vivid storytelling, Ackerman has given us a window into an island in turmoil during war. I loved all the characters and her way of telling a story. If ever you consider reading a book detailing WWII on the home front, give this one a look as it’s a great example thereof.

Note: Book received for free from GoodReads giveaway in exchange for an honest review. ( )
  Sarah_Gruwell | Feb 17, 2019 |
I just loved the whole package of this book. I loved the story, time period (WWII), and the characters. A very character driven story. A must read! Island of Sweet Pies and Soldiers by Sara Ackerman.

Instantly, I was transported back in time and on the tropical island of Hawaii. It was like I was right there with Violet, Ella, and the other women. While, the men are present in this story; it is the women that brought the story to life with their powerful voices, story, and personalities. This is what I am speaking of when I mention character driven story.

Ella seemed so mature for her age. Partly this had to do with the big secret she was keeping. Also, she was protective of her mother. Because the story was so good, I didn't try to rush it by worrying about what this big secret was that Ella was keeping until the reveal. Which, I want to comment on the ending did end on a good solid note. There is nothing worse than reading a book only to get a weak ending. Ms. Ackerman has a new fan in me. ( )
  Cherylk | Mar 20, 2018 |
I received a free copy of this book from the publisher, via Goodreads First Reads, in exchange for an honest review.

This novel of the story of a mother and daughter living in Hawaii during the height of World War II really should be read on a beach. The sun-soaked tropical setting was almost magical. I could almost see exotic flowers in bloom as the action took place. The characters and plot were a bit underwhelming. It seemed like the book couldn't decide if it was a romance or a mystery. I think I would have preferred the romance aspect. The mystery aspect fell flat for me, but I'm not much of a mystery fan to begin with.

All in all, it is tropical and a bit fluffy. I think it will be a perfect recommendation when summer reading rolls around. ( )
  LISandKL | Dec 21, 2017 |
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