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Island of Sweet Pies and Soldiers

3.93  ·  Rating details ·  1,260 ratings  ·  225 reviews
When her husband mysteriously disappears and rumors swirl about his loyalties, a mother must rely on the remarkable power of friendship in war-torn Hawaii

It’s 1944, combat in the Pacific is intensifying, and Violet Iverson and her daughter, Ella, are piecing their lives back together one year after her husband vanished. As suspicions about his loyalties surface, Violet sus
Paperback, 394 pages
Published February 13th 2018 by MIRA
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Showing 1-30
3.93  · 
Rating details
 ·  1,260 ratings  ·  225 reviews

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Malia Kresser
Dec 03, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I love this book! Set amongst the colorful landscape of Hawaii and it’s diverse racial makeup after the bombing of Pearl harbor during WWII. The characters and story drew me in as though I were a part of it all. I am a huge fan of historical fiction and this ranks tops on my list~ think Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society set on a tropical isle. The alternating narrative of showing the war and racism through 10 year old Ella’s eyes is a brilliant addition though taking up less of the s ...more
Lilly Barels
Nov 29, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I won Ackerman's novel in a giveaway and I feel incredibly fortunate to land such a gorgeous read. I'm still thinking about the beautiful language and sentences that remind me of Barbara Kingsolver and Sue Monk Kidd. I was fully invested in the characters, especially the dynamic mother/daughter relationship between Violet and Ella. The historical fiction genre is one of my favorites and Ackerman writes wartime Hawaii with detail and ease. It is a story that keeps you wanting to turn the page to ...more
Janelle • She Reads with Cats
Thank you so much to the author and MIRA Books for sending this lovely book my way – all opinions are my own.

I might be biased but I’m in love with this book! Hawaii is one of my favorite places to visit so the vivid descriptions of this gorgeous setting made me feel like I was there. The story takes place during WWII and Violet’s husband has vanished, leaving her and their ten-year-old daughter, Ella, alone in war torn Hawaii. Violet makes pies for the soldiers stationed on the island and devel
Dec 04, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: arc, giveaways
Sara Ackerman's Island Of Sweet Pies And Soldiers hits all the marks. Historical Fiction with a dash of Romance & Suspense all mixed together and served up like a Sweet Pie! Set during WWII and Hawaii used as the backdrop we see Violet, her daughter Ella & friends struggling to make life work with husbands gone & a war raging on. With tones of racial divide and a mystery surrounding Violet's husband I was fully invested in this story. It had a lot more suspense than what I originally ...more
Dec 11, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Absolutely stunning! The vivid description of life in Hawaii during WWII made me feel like I was there. Secondary to the plot, the scene creation and immersion were some of the best I've ever read.

The plot itself was wonderfully paced, with some parts fast moving and some parts slow, fitting a natural progression of events. The slow anguish of a missing, beloved husband against the bluster of a company of marines who one day swarm the island and the next are off the fight without even knowing w
Todd Clark
Dec 04, 2017 rated it it was amazing
An overall great read. Not my usual kind of book, but I had a hard time putting it down. It seemed to have it all - setting, story, and that page-turning quality I need for a book to keep my attention. I'm also all about learning new things and I had no idea about Camp Tarawa and how and where our soldiers trained before the battle of Iwo Jima. Ackerman does a fine job of making us feel like we are right there, standing in the streets of Honoka'a waving at the troops as they drive away. And did ...more
Elena Mikalsen
Dec 16, 2017 rated it it was amazing
From the first page, I was lost in the beautifully-painted Hawaii. The historical atmosphere and the women portrayed by the author stayed with me well after I finished the book. The author’s writing style is wonderfully lyrical, transforming you easily into the mind of a child, a mother, a soldier, a teacher, a person of a Japanese descent. What a lovely historical read!
Dec 01, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: good-reads
Good mystery and a great setting.
nikkia neil
Thanks Edelweiss for this ARC.

A book that will leave a big impression and can be shared with everyone you know. Deals with war, racism, murder, love, friendship, and what makes a home.
Dec 04, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Great Book,
Dec 06, 2017 rated it really liked it
Set against the lush Hawaiian landscape Island of Sweet Pies and Soldiers is a nostalgic World War II-era story that will elicit desires to sing show tunes from South Pacific.

At times tender and quirky, I found myself attached to Violet and Ella. In Violet, I felt for the single mother trying to hold herself together, after the disappearance of her husband, the attack on her island and the fact that her daughter is suffering from PTSD. With every chapter, Violet exudes a quiet strength that prov
Dec 18, 2017 rated it it was amazing
This is a must read, with the setting Hawaii after Pearl Harbor. I was drawn to the characters and the story, feeling like I was living in Hawaii of the 1940’s, and as applicable today as neighbors turned on their Japanese neighbors. Violet and her daughter Ella felt comfortable and close to their Japanese friends, defending them as people not as the enemy, despite the war with the Japanese. Ella has a secret she is keeping, and Violet is sure it has to do with her husband’s disappearance. Enter ...more
May 28, 2018 rated it it was ok
This book, quite honestly, was a whole lot of nothing. It wasn't funny nor sad, heartwarming nor violent, charming nor connective. No feeling. The blurb says that it's about two friends who open a pie stand in Hawaii, to sell pies to soldiers, with one friend's husband having gone missing, and through that, friendship and family prevails. That's...semi true. The husband, Herman, (I think that's his name, but I can't remember, which, I guess, is sad) goes missing, and the wife, Violet, her daught ...more
Dec 03, 2017 rated it really liked it
I received a DIGITAL Advance Reader Copy of this book from #NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. From the publisher -
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
Apr 22, 2018 rated it it was amazing
What a wonderful novel to read. I fell in love with the cover and after reading the synopsis, I knew this was something I needed to read. I didn’t expect the novel to be such a calm and enjoyable read. The novel takes place on Hawaii during WWII. A group of soldiers have arrived for training on the island, where they meet a group of women who are making the best of the situation. It’s a novel filled with racial tension, romance, friendships, war and family life.

Violet’s husband went missing one
Vividly descriptive and evocative of life and the challenges presented in wartime: Violet and Ella Iverson are existing day to day with grief and fear as constant companions. A year from her husband’s disappearance, questions are many yet answers few. The lush landscapes, omnipresent heat and frequent rain, fears of invasion and the sudden transformation of friends and neighbors to a nebulous and feared “them”, the multiple layers of questions, answers and quandaries build this story into a rich ...more
Mar 18, 2018 rated it really liked it
Island of Sweet Pies and Soldiers is a beautifully written story set in Hawaii after the bombing of Pearl Harbor. The Hawaiian Island was described in vivid detail! If you enjoy historical fiction with a bit of mystery and romance, you must read Island Of Sweet Pies and Soldiers!
Emily Strelow
Dec 23, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Lions and Soldiers and Secrets, oh my! This historical fiction about WWII Hawaii has it all. The details of setting, character and history are so well-drawn through delicious prose that you will feel as though you lived through the tension on The Big Island in the months following Pearl Harbor, but before Iwo-Jima. Hawaii is still a territory and not a state yet in 1944, and through deft storytelling you can feel that sense of isolation in a wartime territory.

“Maybe that was the way of life, to
Feb 18, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: blog-tour
Full review and giveaway on my blog:
Barb in Maryland
Lovely WWII story set on Hawaii's Big Island. The author nailed just about everything; not surprising as bits of the story are based on her family history. The author caught all the tension of daily life in the islands during the war--the air-raid drills, the conflicts between the military and the civilians, the precarious situation of the local Japanese population. However, the story has enough breathing room between the high drama incidents to recount the humdrum of day to day life.
There's a s
Diane Ferbrache
A sweet, touching and compelling mystery/historical fiction novel about life on the "Big Island" of Hawaii in 1944. After Pearl Harbor, much changed about life in the idyllic village. This is the story of 3 women and a girl, a missing father, and the soldiers who are now occupying the island. I have read many books about WWII, but I think this is the first about life in Hawaii. Although the main story is about the relationships among the women, there are certainly bits of commentary about racism ...more
Nov 22, 2017 rated it really liked it
Hawaii, 1944: Marines come to Hawaii for training, and one is the brother of Jean, a local teacher, who lives with fellow teacher Violet and Violet’s daughter, Ella. Her brother and his friends visit often with their mascot, Roscoe, trying to cheer up Ella, who has become withdrawn since her father vanished without a trace a year ago. Life on the home front is as challenging in Hawaii as it is all over, especially for the large Japanese population residing there, but people still manage to have ...more
Tina Milledge
Jan 18, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: abandoned
DNF. I usually enjoy novels set during WW2 but have never read one based outside of Europe or the Far East and was keen to do so, plus the cover looked appealing. For some reason I can’t quite put my finger on why, I could not connect with this story, possibly it was down to the narration. I just wasn’t hooked. I persevered to a third through to give it a fair chance but I just wasn’t lapping it up. I didn’t connect with nor feel any emotion for the characters. I can see I’m in the minority thou ...more
Basic B's Guide
Feb 12, 2018 rated it really liked it

“But not everything is bad. We made pies, we made friends. We fell in love. I just hope it ends well.”

A beautifully vivid WW2 novel set in Hawaii. I found myself deeply immersed in the landscape and story. This is truly a unique perspective on WW2 and I’ve read my fair share of historical fiction novels set during this time.

I really enjoyed the alternating narrative from Violet and Ella. The author has a wonderful way of connecting you with the characters in this novel. I felt like these were my
Feb 24, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Set in Hawaii in 1944, this novel is told between two protagonists, Ella, 10 years old and her mother, Violet. With the bombing of Pearl Harbor, and the influx of soldiers, Hawaii with its lushness, sets the background for this WWII story. While Violet and Ella have gone a year without knowing the whereabouts of Herman, Ella's dad and Violet's husband, their lives are in limbo. Enter the army and the soldiers who come to train before being shipped out, both are now ensconced in a different and m ...more
Carol (Reading Ladies)
Mar 09, 2018 rated it really liked it
Thanks to The Loud Library Lady for a free review copy in exchange for my honest opinion.
Aloha! 🌸🌼🌺🍃🌸🌼🌺 Readers that are looking for a light histfic read with a bit of romance and mystery will enjoy this quick reading page turner! 🍰 If you’ve lived in or are from Hawaii it will be extra enjoyable for you! 👍 I appreciated the realistic story line of a single mom trying to hold it together, the heartbreaking descriptions of 10 yo Ella suffering from anxiety and fear, and the themes of friendship,
Dec 22, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: giveaways
I was glad to find I had won a book through Goodreads, but didn't expect much. I've read many books set in WWII period, some better than others. I was pleasantly surprised with this one. It was very well-written and moved right along. The setting was one of the Hawaiian islands with the main characters the 'locals'. I did not realize so many of the population were Japanese, which I am sure did lead to conflicting views, when longtime neighbors and friends were suddenly considered the 'enemy'. Se ...more
Mar 25, 2018 rated it really liked it
This was a wonderful historical fiction story. The setting is on the Big Island a year after Pearl Harbor. The story follows Violet and her daughter as they deal with the disappearance of her husband Herman and the effect it has on her daughter. Really enjoyed the friendships and strength of the women in the story. The author did a wonderful job of intertwining Hawaiian life alongside the Marines and how World War II effected everyday life on the islands.
Great read
Dec 22, 2017 rated it really liked it
When I saw this book offered as a digital review copy (DRC) offered on Edelweiss, I was intrigued: a WWII historical fiction title set in the Hawaiian islands just after Pearl Harbor. Wow. What an interesting premise and a point of view that I had never seen before. This is a romance but the historical setting amplifies the conflict and keeps the focus firmly in place. This is a must read for those who like WWII historical fiction!
Dec 26, 2017 rated it really liked it
A touch of romance and mystery make this novel about WWII Hawaii even more intriguing than the setting.

*Thanks to Netgalley and the publisher for providing an e-galley in exchange for an honest review.
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Sara writes books about love and life, and all of their messy and beautiful imperfections. Born and raised in Hawaii, she studied journalism and later earned graduate degrees in psychology and Chinese medicine. She is the author of historical novels Island of Sweet Pies and Soldiers and The Lieutenant's Nurse, with several more in the works. She blames Hawaii for her addiction to writing, and sees ...more