Review of Fireworks Over Toccoa by Jeffery Stepakoff

I received this book for free from Publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Review of Fireworks Over Toccoa by Jeffery StepakoffFireworks Over Toccoa by Jeffrey Stepakoff
Published by Macmillan on 2010-03-30
Genres: Contemporary Women, Family Life, Fiction
Pages: 272
Format: ARC
Source: Publisher
Buy on Amazon

Every so often that story comes along that reminds us of what it’s like to experience love for the first time—against the odds, when you least expect it, and with such passion that it completely changes you forever.An unexpected discovery takes eighty-four-year-old Lily Davis Woodward to 1945, and the five days that forever changed her life.  Married for only a week before her husband was sent to fight in WWII, Lily is anxious for his return, and the chance to begin their life together.  In honor of the soldiers' homecoming, the small Georgia town of Toccoa plans a big celebration.  And Jake Russo, a handsome Italian immigrant, also back from war, is responsible for the elaborate fireworks display the town commissioned.   But after a chance encounter in a star-lit field, he steals Lily's heart and soul--and fulfills her in ways her socially-minded, upper-class family cannot.  Now, torn by duty to society and her husband--and the poor, passionate man who might be her only true love--Lily must choose between a commitment she's already made and a love she’s never known before.Fireworks Over Toccoa takes us to a moment in time that will resonate with readers long after the book’s unforgettable conclusion.  A devastating and poignant story, this debut novel will resonate with anyone who believes in love.

I don’t often read contemporary adult romance. Not necessarily because I don’t enjoy it, but because I tend to enjoy young adult romance more. I see a book with Nicholas Sparks’ named emblazoned on the top though, and feel sort of turned off, he’s just not the right author for me. I cannot get into his books, but a few of my friends can. I approached Fireworks Over Toccoa by Jeffery Stepakoff with trepidation. The plot piqued my interest, but one of the cover blurbs mentioned Nicholas Sparks, which is again, sort of a turn off.

Fireworks Over Toccoa  by Jeffery Stepakoff starts off in present-day Georgia, two boys find some artifacts during a drought. Then immediately we are transitioned to meet a supporting character, Colleen. Colleen’s all examining this house with her fiancé and questioning her relationship. Everything is perfect, but she’s just not content. Grandma Lily has the answers of course, and so relates her story to Colleen. Lily’s story is the meat of the novel. Lily takes us back to World War II, when she’s engaged to someone perfect as well and a fireworks man causes her to give pause to her life. Really, Lily’s story is simply a moment in time, a quick snapshot.

I did empathize with Lily, but could only feel so bad for her. Her life was a little too perfect for me. I mean, she’s painted as this free bird that everyone likes. Her dad is a company executive. Her parents gave her a house, so they aren’t all up in her grill. Her biggest problem is getting married too young, and the guy she married was not a bad guy at all, clearly in love with her. It sucks to be trapped in a loveless marriage, but from my reader-perspective the marriage looked like one that could be based on friendship and grow from there. I understand passion, and yes, passion is amazing. However, I personally think passion is something you can build from friendship. It does happen all the time, people become friends, fall in love, and get married.

Anyways, there’s sexytimes in Fireworks Over Toccoa. It’s steamy, and clearly not derived from real life. These are probably not scenes you’d want to be reading on the bus.

The setting is particularly fabulous too. It made me want to go to Georgia despite the heat. I mean the small town southern atmosphere just rolls off the page. It all sounded so lovely, and like a great place to take a vacation or dance under the stars.

Fireworks Over Toccoa is a quick read, my ARC was 260 pages and just a little bit bigger in height than a mass market paperback. I did not care much for the ending, but then I am very particular about endings. Let’s just say I felt a little emotional.

Other Reviews of Fireworks Over Toccoa by Jeffery Stepakoff:

Rhapsody In Books
The Reading Journey
The Bibliophilic Book Blog
All About {N}
Pop Culture Junkie

About April (Books&Wine)

April is in her 30s and created Good Books And Good Wine. She works for a non-profit. April always has a book on hand. In her free time she can be found binge watching The Office with her husband and toddler, spending way too much time on Pinterest or exploring her neighborhood.


  1. I just read a positive review of this book and I know yours is positive, too, but I think the girl in this would annoy me (based on YOUR review) so I may stay away!

  2. Jen (Devourer of Books) says

    Hmm. I have a copy of this, but based on what you said I'm thinking I may not enjoy it all that much. I was totally turned off by the Nicholas Sparks endorsement too, but then it also had an endorsement from Karen White, who I do like.

  3. Jen (Devourer of Books) says

    Hmm. I have a copy of this, but based on what you said I'm thinking I may not enjoy it all that much. I was totally turned off by the Nicholas Sparks endorsement too, but then it also had an endorsement from Karen White, who I do like.

  4. Awesome review. It is kind of odd how the blurbs are supposed to entice you and sometimes they do the opposite!

  5. alitareads says

    I don't know about you, but those sexytime scenes *always* seem to come up when I'm on public transit. Like, always. If I'm reading a book with one sex scene, you can it will come up when I'm on the bus at 8:30 am.

    ANYway. Great review! The small town-ness of it really intrigues me.

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