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Wednesday, January 31, 2018

Island of Sweet Pies and Soldiers by Sara Ackerman

Setting: Hawaii
Genre: Historical Women's Fiction
Publisher: MIRA
Release Date: February 13, 2018

There were times Island of Sweet Pies and Soldiers really saddened me. I wish we could learn from past mistakes. Some people seem oblivious, however.

Since her husband's disappearance a year ago, Violet Iverson does all she can to keep a roof over their heads. Her daughter's struggling and seems to truly be lost without her father. Young Ella is nervous, prone to anxiety, and clingy. Violet isn't sure if the attack on Pearl Harbor is to blame or if Ella knows something about her dad's disappearance.

When Violet's friend's brother brings some U.S. military men into their lives, Violet is cautious. She soon finds herself drawn to one of the men. She's also hesitant because no one really knows if her husband is alive or dead. Soon, Violet and her friends are selling homemade pies to the soldiers, getting caught up in gossip, and facing the cruel realities of the war.

I've read the accounts of Japanese-Americans getting rounded up and put in internment camps. Suspicions ran deep and anyone of Japanese heritage became a suspicious figure. It disgusts me. What bothers me more is that I see people on Facebook saying how it needs to happen again. Anyone of Middle Eastern descent is a terrorist and we should round them up. I'm saddened for the characters in the book who dealt with this type of fear and suspicion. It may be a fictional story, but there's still a lot of truth to how people react today.

The story moved slowly. I wasn't at first sure I'd like it, but I felt like part of the group. I could smell the pies baking, feel their fear, and understand their frustration as they watch Japanese-American friends get taken into custody for no apparent reason.

Soon, I couldn't put Island of Sweet Pies and Soldiers down. I was caught up in the mystery, though I did figure out what happened before it's revealed. I wanted to see Ella and her mother find their way. I was delighted with the story and wouldn't mind a sequel.

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