Thursday, March 26, 2020

Audio Book Review: Island of Sweet Pies and Soldiers by Sara Ackerman

Genre: Adult Historical Fiction/Audio Books
Pub. Date: February 13, 2018
Publisher: Mira Books
Other Books By Author: The Lieutenant's Nurse
My Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

Goodreads says, "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 suspects Ella knows something. But Ella refuses to talk. Something—or someone—has scared her.  Violet enjoys the camaraderie of her friends as they open a pie stand for the soldiers training on the island for a secret mission. But even these women face their own wartime challenges as prejudice against the island Japanese pits neighbor against neighbor. And then there’s the matter of Sergeant Stone, a brash marine who comes to Violet’s aid when the women are accused of spying. She struggles with her feelings of guilt but can’t deny the burning attraction—or her fear of losing another man when Stone ships out for Iwo Jima.  Set amid the tropical beauty of Hawaii, Island of Sweet Pies and Soldiers offers a fresh perspective on World War II as it presents timeless depictions of female friendship, the bond between a mother and her child, and the enduring power of love even in the darkest times."

Violet Iverson and her daughter, Ella, live on the beautiful island of Hawaii. The year is 1944, so her life isn't one long tropical vacation. Her husband disappeared mysteriously a year ago and rumors are still circulating about why he left and where his loyalties lie.  The setting is war torn Hawaii, so things are getting very serious.  With her husband gone, Violet relies on her female friendships more than ever and they decide to open a pie stand for some income as well as the happiness of the soldiers on Hawaii.  Despite the women's best efforts, suspicion now falls on them, not to mention the prejudice that is running rampant towards the Japanese on Hawaii.  Violet meets Sergeant Stone, who has come to her aid more than once, and despite her best efforts, she starts to have romantic feelings for him.  Once he is sent on a secret mission to Iwo Jima, she is starting to panic even more, because what if he doesn't return and she is left alone again?  The audio book of Island of Sweet Pies and Soldiers by Sara Ackerman is a vivid escape to wartime Hawaii and the novel depicts the powerful relationships between females during this time period.

Violet is a character that I immediately was interested in.  She is now a single mom since her husband mysteriously disappeared and at this point, she doesn't expect him to return.  There are some suspicions around his disappearance, but she doesn't have any leads whatsoever.  Violet and Jean, her best friend, open a pie stand for the soldiers on Hawaii to help support themselves.   When she meets Sergeant Stone, her life changes forever.  I really loved the ups and downs of their relationship and I could feel for Violet when she realizes that he has to ship out for a mission to Iwo Jima.  There's so much uncertainty, but Violet knows she can count on her girlfriends and the love for her daughter in Island of Sweet Pies and Soldiers.  Together they can conquer whatever comes their way.  

Then there's Ella, Violet's daughter. Every other chapter is narrated by her and I enjoyed the varying point of view in Island of Sweet Pies and Soldiers.  Readers have an inkling that Ella knows something about her father's disappearance, but doesn't want to divulge the information.  Slowly readers put together the pieces of the puzzle.  Also, I appreciate how this novel highlights how the war impacted Hawaii through a child's eyes, especially when it comes to the suspicion around the Japanese on the island and their treatment.

Ackerman does a wonderful job depicting Hawaii in Island of Sweet Pies and Soldiers. I can count on her to take me to such a lavishly beautiful island despite the fact that the war is upon its shores.  Her descriptions are so vivid and authentic; I felt like I was there. Also, Carly Robins and Devon Hales, did a satisfactory job narrating the audio book of Island of Sweet Pies and Soldiers. Both of their narrations truly brought Violet and Ella to life. 

If you love WWII fiction, especially novels that take place in the Pacific theater, give Island of Sweet Pies and Soldiers a try.  I know I am definitely going to pick up Ackerman's next novel Red Sky Over Hawaii, which is due out this June.

Are you a fan of WWII fiction and historical fiction audio books? Have you read any of Ackerman's novels? Let me know in the comments below.  


  1. I love WWII historical fiction but actually don't come across those set in Hawaii very often. Great review!

    1. Thanks, Angela. I love books set in Hawaii--the perfect escape! Thanks for visiting!

  2. I have had this on my TBR list for the longest time!

    1. It's very good! I have enjoyed Ackerman's novels and look forward to the one coming out this summer! Thanks for visiting, Marg.

  3. I like the sound of this, thanks for sharing your thoughts


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