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My Progress:

11 / 30 books. 37% done!

2024 Literary Escapes Challenge

- Alabama (1)
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My Progress:

23 / 51 states. 45% done!

2024 Historical Fiction Reading Challenge

My Progress:

16 / 50 books. 32% done!

2024 POPSUGAR Reading Challenge

21 / 50 books. 42% done!

Booklist Queen's 2024 Reading Challenge

My Progress:

43 / 50 books. 86% done!

2024 52 Club Reading Challenge

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38 / 52 books. 73% done!

2024 Build Your Library Reading Challenge

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25 / 40 books. 63% done!

2024 Pioneer Book Reading Challenge

15 / 40 books. 38% done!

2024 Craving for Cozies Reading Challenge

My Progress:

9 / 25 books. 36% done!

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2024 Mystery Marathon Reading Challenge

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6 / 26.2 miles (second lap). 23% done!

Mount TBR Reading Challenge

My Progress

22 / 100 books. 22% done!

2024 Pick Your Poison Reading Challenge

My Progress:

58 / 104 books. 56% done!

Around the Year in 52 Books Reading Challenge

My Progress

42 / 52 books. 81% done!

Disney Animated Movies Reading Challenge

My Progress

60 / 165 books. 36% done!
Monday, March 26, 2018

Hawaiian Home Front Comes to Life in New WWII Novel

(Image from Barnes & Noble)

A Minnesota farm girl raised by stern, emotionless parents, Violet Iverson never dreamed she would someday end up living on the lush, exotic island of Hawaii.  When a whirlwind romance leads to a one-way ticket to the Big Island and a marriage proposal, she takes a chance and goes.  A decade later, warm, gentle Hawaii feels more like home than cold, grim Minnesota ever did.  Violet's been happy in Honoka'a, where she teaches at the high school and lives on its campus among friends who feel like family.  Recently, however, war has brought unwelcome change to the small town, including rationing, air-raid drills, and the unexplained disappearance of Violet's husband, Herman.  Although it's been a year since he vanished, no one can say whether Honoka'a High's former principal is alive or dead.  Violet thinks her daughter, 10-year-old Ella, knows something about her father's disappearance, but the girl won't admit to it no matter how hard Violet prods.   

When Honoka'a suddenly becomes overrun with soldiers training for a special mission, Violet and her friends decide to earn some extra cash by opening a pie stand near the military base.  With suspicion swirling in the sultry island air, the women soon find themselves accused of spying for the enemy.  Their Japanese friends are also being targeted.  Desperate to clear all of their good names, Violet relies on a handsome Marine to help her find out what really happened to her husband.  Exposing secrets is dangerous business, as she soon discovers.  With danger all around, can Violet solve a mystery, save her friends, and keep her daughter safe?  

I haven't read many World War II novels set entirely on American soil, so I was immediately interested when I heard about Island of Sweet Pies and Soldiers by Sara Ackerman.  Inspired by the experiences of the author's grandparents—who lived in Honoka'a during World War II and hosted many soldiers in their home while the men were at Camp Tarawa before shipping out for Iwo Jima and Saipan—the novel offers a vivid setting and an intriguing story.  Ackerman's prose isn't quite as dynamic, as it's a bit stiff and more tell than show.  Her characters aren't all that memorable either, although they're likable enough.  Overall, though, I ended up liking Island of Sweet Pies and Soldiers.  I didn't love it like I wanted to, but I enjoyed the read overall.

(Readalikes:  Um, I can't think of anything.  Can you?)


If this were a movie, it would be rated:

for language (a handful of F-bombs, plus milder expletives), violence, and sexual innuendo

To the FTC, with love:  I bought a copy of Island of Sweet Pies and Soldiers with a portion of the millions I make from my lucrative career as a book blogger.  Ha ha.
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