Read Fireworks Over Toccoa: A Novel by Jeffrey Stepakoff Online


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 befEvery 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....

Title : Fireworks Over Toccoa: A Novel
Author :
Rating :
ISBN : 9780312673512
Format Type : Paperback
Number of Pages : 272 Pages
Status : Available For Download
Last checked : 21 Minutes ago!

Fireworks Over Toccoa: A Novel Reviews

  • Angelc
    2019-01-13 18:38

    I received an ARC copy of this book for review from the publisher."Fireworks over Toccoa" is a well-paced love story destined to be on the big screen. The author definitely makes use of his script-writing and producing credits because this book clips right along at the fast pace found in movies and television.In her 80's, Lily isn't sure her granddaughter Colleen is as happy in her relationship as she wants everyone to think. When the two ladies find a long lost formula for a firework called Lily's Star, Lily decides it's time to share her own story. In 1945, 20 year old Lily had been married to Paul, the type of man she'd always been expected to marry. Paul was returning home from WWII in a few days and Lily was starting to feel uncertain about the future she'd always felt was decided for her. Then she saw the fireworks that would change the course of her life forever. Once she meets the man behind the fireworks, Jake, her world and her heart flip upside down. The tone is bittersweet and it makes the reader search his or her own soul and ask what they would do in the same situation. I don't think I would have made the same decisions as Lily, but I did reflect on what I would have done in her place. I don't think I was as able to fully invest myself in the romance because my heart was breaking for her husband, Paul. Perhaps I wouldn't have felt that way if Paul had been a bad person, but the infidelity aspect did make me sad. I probably would have given this book more stars if Paul had been a poor husband or possibly if they hadn't been married yet when he was overseas.Lily's character is very complex and I felt like I could really relate to what she was going through. She didn't want to be a bored society wife and she especially didn't want her life decided for her. She wanted to get out and see the world on her own terms. I liked the timeline of the story a lot. The story is told by the older Lily to her granddaughter, Colleen. I feel like it added interest to the story. I enjoyed being able to see see the outcome of the romance 60 years later, although I did keep thinking of the older Rose in "Titanic" telling her own story. The rumors about this book compare it to a Nicholas Sparks novel, and the story is slightly reminiscent of Sparks. But I felt like this was only in the romantic theme and quick pace. Don't expect a Sparks clone here, this novel isn't as 'goody two-shoes' as his novels are seen to be.Lily and Jake's love story is beautifully told and really pulls at the heartstrings.. The novel is a quick read and the fast paced twists and turns will keep you turning the pages.reviewed for:

  • Myrna
    2018-12-25 17:05

    A light, romantic read set in Toccoa, Georgia around WWII. Kept me interested to see what path Lily would choose. Reminded me of Nicolas Sparks' books/writing.

  • Jason Bradley
    2018-12-19 17:41

    Being from Georgia, I felt at home in the places described, understood the sultry heat, unhurried lifestyle, and unspoken Southern rules described by the author. Jeffrey Stepakoff weaves a story both jubilant and heart wrenching that left me quietly holding the book once the last page was turned, feeling somehow that it deserved contemplation while I brushed the threat of a tear away. I didn't just become invested in these characters, they became family, and leaving them at the end of the book took an effort. This is definitely the best read I have had this year and I encourage others to give it a try.

  • Christy B
    2019-01-06 20:49

    I was teetering between three and four stars to rate this, until it made me CRY. Crying = automatic five stars. It is rare for a book to make me cry. I probably can count how many times I've cried over a book on one hand.People are comparing this to Nicholas Sparks, but as I have never read him, I won't.I read this in about a day; it was a fast read, but by no means a light one. This book proves the term 'quality over quantity'.It tells the story of Lily Davis, married just three weeks when her husband was shipped off overseas in 1942. We find her in 1945, just days before her husband is set to return. Set in Tocca Georgia, Lily goes about her normal life, if you want to call it normal, unpacking everything and setting up house. In the course of all this, she runs across Jake Russo, who is in town to create the fireworks display on the 4th of July. Meeting him shakes up Lily's life. She realizes she barely knows the man she calls her husband and that she is tired of her organized, planned out southern life. She feels passionate about this dark stranger, who she has only known for a short time. Passionate enough to leave her entire life behind?I was intrigued by Jake Russo, an Italian American, who fought in WWII while his own father was being kept in an interment camp back in America. There's a great flashback scene where Jake is talking to his father through the gate of the interment camp he's being kept in. He's confused and asks his father how can he fight for this country who is keeping his father - who has never caused no harm to anyone - locked up? I'm glad that this subject was brought up in this book. Interment camps are often overlooked in American history. And Italian interment camps are something that the government has barely acknowledged even happened.I was completely swept up in the storytelling. It is a beautiful story that left me breathless. I'm so happy I won this, I probably wouldn't have known about it, otherwise.

  • JG (The Introverted Reader)
    2018-12-25 16:56

    Lily Davis was only 17 when she married a boy she had known for a short time. He was shipping out to WWII soon as a supply man for Coca-Cola and it seemed like the thing to do before he went away. Three years later, her hometown of Toccoa, Georgia has scheduled a big homecoming party for all the returning soldiers, including parades and fireworks. Lily stumbles into Jake Russo, the fireworks man, as he's setting up his show and he opens up a world of possibilities for her.This just isn't my kind of book. I love the cover, I love that it's set at the end of World War II in a town that isn't that far from my own. I was a little afraid that it would have more in common with a Nicholas Sparks novel than I would like, but I took a chance on it anyway.As far as I'm concerned, it could have been written by Nicholas Sparks. Not that there's anything wrong with this book or anything that Sparks has written, it's just not my taste. Tell me that a book was "so good you cried for the last 50 pages," and I will avoid that book like the plague. Not for me. And that's the kind of book this is.I did like Lily. She's a headstrong woman living in a time and place where her opinions and actions are frowned upon. Her mother is trying to mold her into the perfect Southern matron, but Lily is chafing against that lifestyle. It's probably telling of my taste in books and Lily's character when I say that my favorite scene involved Lily assisting a black soldier passing through town. I liked Jake too. What a hottie with surprising depths! There's so much to him that I kind of feel bad calling him a hottie, but he is. He's only returned from Europe recently himself, and his experiences there have of course changed him. He's become quieter, more reflective, and more appreciative of this moment in time, because who knows what the next moment will bring.Their story aggravated me to no end. I won't go into why and spoil anything, so I'll leave it at that. The pacing irritated me too. Lily tells the story when she's 82-years-old and just when I thought I might find out what happened, the action would break and we'd move back to present-day Lily for a few pages. That feels like a cheap way to sustain suspense. One scene taking place in the pouring rain had me rolling my eyes and flashing back on the movie version of The Notebook, something I only watched under duress, but that I actually liked in the end.Like I said though, there's nothing really wrong with this except that it's not my taste at all. If you are a fan of Nicholas Sparks, you will definitely love this one.Thanks to the publisher for sending me this book for review.

  • Kipi
    2019-01-11 20:46

    I really love a sweet romantic story. I'm not a huge fan of Nicholas Sparks...I hate to cry...but his writing is good. As I read Fireworks Over Toccoa I felt it inevitable that the author would be compared to Sparks, and, in my opinion, he comes up sorely lacking. In fairness I was reading an ARC, so there might still have been some editing to do, but the writing seemed choppy and clumsy. For example:"Feeling the sun on his neck, beads of perspiration rolling down his cheek, Jake just stood there in the stillness and the heat, legs firmly astride, one knee slightly bent, arms down, palms a little forward as if to receive something, maintaining his controlled breathing and his constant gaze at her, afraid that if he broke it and looked away, or even just moved from his stance, she's see how nervous her beauty and being this near her was actually making him." - page 71I lost count of the 50+-word sentences.Characterization was, for the most part, shallow. I didn't see Lily as a likable character at all. A woman who falls into bed (so to speak) with a total stranger as her husband is returning from war...whatever her not someone with whom I will sympathize. The other characters were predictable. Her mother was a domineering Southern matriarch who was more concerned with appearances than relationships. Mark, the bitter ex-boyfriend, and Jenna, the best friend who married the ex-boyfriend. The only two redeeming characters were the two fathers. Paul, the husband who loved his wife and couldn't wait to return to her, was almost a non-character. I wanted to feel for Jake after all the hardships he had faced, but his choices with Lily made that impossible for me.

  • Athira (Reading on a Rainy Day)
    2019-01-12 22:03

    I had this book on my wishlist, ever since I saw it on someone's blog, so I was pretty excited to receive this one for review! The excitement wasn't misplaced either. This book delivered!My opinionFireworks over Toccoa spans four days in the lives of Lily Woodward and Jake Russo. Lily had been married three years to a man she lived only a couple of weeks with, before her husband, Paul, was sent to Europe to serve in the war. Anticipating Paul's return, Lily is nervous realizing that she is no longer the seventeen year old immature girl she was when she got married. She is even more anxious wondering how Paul would have changed. One day, on her way back home after buying groceries, she stops her car, amazed, staring at a "silver trail of light fly up into the sky", and thence she comes across Jake Russo, who is the pyrotechnics man preparing the fireworks show for the July 4th parade. A moment in the sky, forever in the heart.This becomes a defining quote of the fireworks' dazzling effect as well as the meeting between the two. What follows then is a connection between two people who have been little understood by others and find themselves bonding intensely.This is not a story of many twists and turns nor is it a story of many events conjuring to create a suspense. Yes there are twists, and yes, this is a story of how a chance meeting can lead to a lifetime of memories. But that is not the main focus of this book. Rather, it is in how two people discover and fall in love with each other, and find themselves reveling in their real selves and their life secrets. It is about how duty and desire can come together and conflict violently. Duty to one's husband or desire to follow one's heart. It is about reason vs impulse. While instincts deep inside pushed her to lean forward, toward him, she willed these forces to stop.I enjoyed Jake and Lily's relationship. I agree it is quite strange - meeting someone and bonding with him/her almost instantaneously, much less falling in love. Does love at first sight really exist? Or better, love at the first meeting? But the relationship was credible and I didn't feel it out of the ordinary. The way they connect in the initial few minutes of their meeting, which soon expands to a dinner together was quite heartwarming to read. The backdrop of fireworks was well woven into the story of the two characters. Lily's consequent savory of her meeting with Jake interlaced with her sporadic feelings of guilt, were eloquently expressed in the lyrical writing of Jeffrey Stepakoff. And lyrical it is, for the writing is simply beautiful and almost poetic. Even though the sky is already filled with stars, you can always make your own.This story is narrated by an eighty-two year old Lily, and drew me in quite from the first line. Lily and Jake's love for each other, Lily's relationship with her parents, her dilemma about Paul or Jake, and the suspense of what her decision would be had me turning the pages till the very end. It made me smile and cry in turns. Overall, I was quite captivated by this story as well as by the writing. I loved it so much, I couldn't stop reading it.Title DemystifiedThis story is set in Toccoa, home to the Camp Toccoa. It's one of my places to visit too, and I was surprised that quite a few people I know had once stayed in or near Toccoa. Jake, who himself just returned from the war, moves from town to town preparing fireworks shows, courtesy of his family business, Russo Fireworks.Cover Art DemystifiedThis is one beautiful cover. The poster doesn't even fully reveal the perception of beauty that envelopes you as you hold the book in your hands. I took my time reading through the book, simply because half the time, I would stare at this cover. There's so much love and poignancy on the picture and it immediately brings to your mind some of those old romantic classics that you have watched, especially those set during or after the WW2.

  • Deb
    2019-01-16 15:43

    I wanted to like this book, especially since it was the first one I've won from the goodreads giveaways!I started reading it when waiting on my computer (for reboots, downloads, etc.), thinking that once I got into it, I'd take it to my comfy chair for "serious reading" time.I finished it at my computer.One caveat--I generally do not read romance. I don't have a basis of comparison on whether this is a typical book for the genre or not. I found the characters to be flat. Lily, the circa 1945 belle of Toccoa Georgia, fluttered about, didn't have many thoughts, and unbelievably considering her background, fell in love with a manual laborer just days before her soldier husband was to come home.The relationships were also hard to believe, for the most part. Honey, Lily's mother, was a stereotypical Southern matriarch, with poor coping skills for life's trauma. Friends and and old boyfriend were wispy and nearly non-existent. There was one nice scene with Lily and her Father, that was perhaps the highlight of the book.The writing seemed to be trying too hard. About every ten pages, the author attempted to lyrically describe something. The phrasing tended to kick me out of the book, as I thought to myself, "Oh, the author is trying to be poetic or literary--boy that doesn't work!"Although Toccoa was in the title, the setting could have been any Southern place that was hot and sticky. I'd hoped to learn more about the region as part of the back story, but, as with the whole book, was disappointed.

  • April
    2018-12-20 16:53

    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.Read the rest of my review here

  • Teechbiz
    2018-12-16 16:38

    I think this is a good book about forbidden love set in WWII

  • Cheryll
    2019-01-14 19:55

    Quick easy read. But the story stayed with me. Good if you like a love story that just might make you cry.

  • A Reader In Love
    2019-01-02 22:56

    “I'm just a girl Jake""I think you're that, and much, much more."Another long moment. Lily found herself returning his smile, finding her own sense of knowing. And suddenly she felt at ease, a sense of mysterious calm.” ― Jeffrey Stepakoff, Fireworks Over ToccoaWhat can i say about this book? i went into it not knowing much about it and i have never heard of this author or this book before, but i was in the mood for another romantic read after The Longest Ride and this one was just what i needed. This book really just tugs at your heart strings and makes you fall in love with these characters. I found my self connecting with Lily the most because you cant help but find a little bit of yourself in her. The story starts with a young couple just setting out soon after engagement and drastically changes to present day where a grandmother is giving her granddaughter her wedding dress, all the while thinking her choice isn't the right one. When the granddaughter finds a newspaper with a article from a museum on an artifact they found a piece of paper with a formula written in Italian Called Lilly Star, and once she shows it to her grandmother she recognizes it immediately as something she lost so many years ago. The story is set in motion after that and you get the back story from Lily herself telling her granddaughter and the museum curator her story to authenticate that the formula is hers. It all starts in the summer after the war has ended and Lily is expecting her husband back after 3 years away after only being married for a week Lily is restless and rethinking her life and what will happen once her husband returns.Lily finds solace in a man named Jake an outsider pyrotechnics man curating the fireworks show. In the course of 4 days they fall in love he is only in her hometown to put on the Fireworks show for the arrival of the soldiers but by chance meeting it all started with a Firework and it ends with one. Jake and Lily's romance is equal to Titanic or just as great as Nicholas Sparks The Notebook. And i honestly flew through this book and really enjoyed it it was just so magical and really romantic how the author chooses to tell the story. If you want to be swept away with a great love story that tugs at your heart and really makes you feel all the feels this book is definitely for you. I would love to read more of his work because this is debut novel and for a first book it was really great. I fell in love with the characters and i fell in love with the story telling.

  • Kelly Moran
    2019-01-03 21:50

    Author Jeffrey Stepakoff has a MFA in Playwriting from Carnegie Melon. His television credits include the Emmy-winning Sisters, The Wonder Years, Major Dad, Tarzan, and Dawson's Creek (as a co-executive producer). This is his debut novel, with Billion-Dollar Kiss following. He resides in Atlanta, Georgia with his family. Colleen finds herself at a crossroads in her life. She is engaged to be married to a handsome doctor, who wishes only to provide her the perfect house to begin their perfect life together. But she is unsettled, and unsure why. Seeking her grandmother's comfort, they happen to read an article about a recently uncovered WWII artifact in their hometown of Toccoa, Georgia. But her grandmother, Lily, has her own story to tell to help her. A story that transpired decades ago over the course of four days in July of 1945. Lily was married just days before her husband was sent abroad to fight in the war. Now, he and the other soldiers are returning to the small town of Toccoa. But an attractive Italian immigrant responsible for the elaborate fireworks display to welcome home the troops soon captures Lily's restless heart and soul. Torn between duty to society and her husband, and a passionate man who just might be her one true love, Lily must choose between a commitment she'd already made and a love she never knew. Reminiscent of THE NOTEBOOK and BRIDGES OF MADISON COUNTY, this is a story told over generations, jumping both past and present. I give the author an immense amount of credit for the research it took to write such a tale of fiction. From what it was like in the States during WWII, like coffee rationing and mindset, to the detailed setting and events for our troops, this was a well-investigated story. A book that can be read in one short sitting, but will stay with you for a lifetime. This book was told in a very narrative tone, without a lot of dialog, which writers know is extremely difficult to pull of successfully, but Jeffrey Stepakoff did. This book is also a perfect example of how the choices we make can change the course of our life for generations to come. How one step, left or right, can alter our happiness. If anything, it makes you think. The setting and imagery was inspiring, and the characters' stories profoundly moving. Grab some tissues, you'll need them by the end.Kelly Moran,Author and Reviewer

  • Betty-Anne
    2018-12-31 17:44

    I am not a regular reader of romance-themed books, because all too often I find that they are mere formulaic repetitions of hundreds which have gone before. Nevertheless, I took a chance with Jeffrey Stepakof’s Fireworks Over Toccoa because the description caught at me with the promise of something different. At least partly, the book did deliver.The story takes place during an unnamed present, and the period toward and after the end of WWII. The main character, Lily Woodward marries her sweetheart who is promptly shipped off to the war. Awaiting his homecoming with a mixture of anticipation and trepidation, she is aware of an undefinable ‘something’ missing from her life. During this period she meets the fireworks man, Jake Russo, a man of Italian descent with his own concerns about living life and the effect of the war on his family. The decisions that Lily makes affect their future in many ways.What I most enjoyed about the novel was the structure – Lily’s tells the story of her life to two persons, including her granddaughter, who is facing her own decisions about love’s choices. The present segues so well into the past, that it is almost difficult to return to the current day at the end of the book. I will always enjoy a book that can manage to make me figuratively ‘lose myself’ in it. The language is engaging and beautiful.The story was still somewhat derivative however; a mix of Titanic (the movie) and Robert James Waller’s “The Bridges of Madison County”. While the story at least didn’t follow the more typical formulas found in many romances, the echoes of those two stories were too strong to be ignored. Fortunately, Stepakof’s language got me past some of the most distracting moments.Overall, Fireworks Over Toccoa would appeal to romance readers who want a little less formula to their stories. It is an easy and short read, with an ending that was satisfying to me, but may not be so to everyone. I would still be likely to read more from Stepakof in the future, but may not actively seek out his work.

  • Amy
    2019-01-03 15:36

    "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."SPOILER...Sort of:WELL EXCEPT FOR THE FACT THAT SHE IS ALREADY MARRIED, HER FIRST TIME LOVE SPANS A WHOPP'N four days, and the passion has not changed me forever. I'm sorry, but I just don't buy into the I met you, know you for 4 days (one of which is the day he left ... and he didn't go really three days) and you are changed forever. So much so that you don't invest one more day in finding him...maybe a another couple looking some more? Did I mention he didn't go far...he's not dead so you can go back to him. This was around 1950 not 1850...there were telephones. And planes. And cars. And the US Postal Service. And your family was rich so no problemo there. (Not to mention the fact that it was soooooooooooooooooooo good that HE LEFT and DIDN'T COME BACK or look for YOU.) Honestly, if you've read the description you have read the book. Time for disclosure: I didn't read the whole book. I just couldn't. I started out really liking the book but then it switched on me. This is one of those books that starts with modern day characters that seem interesting (Colleen and Drew) but then it becomes a book in a book. We go back 50 years and stay there. We abandon Colleen and Drew and don't really ever revisit them. I skimmed over most of the book and then read the last chapter and I NEVER DO THAT. One thing about this book is it is short...and small...and has lots of white space. Some of the other reviewers complained that there needed to be more editing. Any more editing and it would have been a short story. I loved the forward...the premise of fireworks and the famous family that this book inspired seemed promising. The cover is beautiful. BTW, I liked his other book about the orchard.

  • Siobian
    2018-12-16 22:36

    Fireworks Over Toccoa begins with the discovery of a long-lost gift given to Lily Davis Woodward when she was twenty. Lily, who is now eighty-four, begins to tell the story of four days in 1945 that changed her life forever. At the end of WWII, Lily was excited because her husband was returning home from serving three years in the war, but she was also apprehensive because they had spent but two weeks as a married couple before Paul was shipped out. While preparing for Paul's return, Lily meets Jake Russo, and Italian pyrotechnician just back from the war, who is visiting the small town of Toccoa, Georgia to produce a beautiful fireworks show for the 4th of July. Jake and Lily are instantly drawn to one another and make a connection as brilliant as any of Jake's fireworks. But Paul is returning in just a few days and Lily has to make a choice between living the life she knows everyone expects of her and following her heart.To be perfectly honest, I almost didn't read this book because it had been compared to Nicholas Sparks's novels, and while he seems like a great guy, I like the movies of Sparks's books better than the books. However, the draw of reading a novel set in a town where I have spent so much time (Toccoa is about half an hour from where I live) was too much for me to ignore. So, though I was a little skeptical at first, the book quickly drew me in and I finished it in a few short hours. The character of Lily was a fun, vibrant one and I enjoyed getting to know her and seeing the relationship between her and Jake develop. The town of Toccoa was almost a character in itself as the author spent a lot of time describing its appearance and Southern charm. I especially enjoyed reading what it was like in Toccoa after the war. I've read many books set during WWII but I have read few about what it was like immediately after here in the States (especially so close to home) and it was a nice change in perspective.

  • Paul Pessolano
    2018-12-26 20:00

    If you enjoy fiction/literature and romance you will definately enjoy "Fireworks Over Toccoa". If you enjoy a novel that encompasses southern life and southern morals, you will enjoy this book."Fireworks Over Toccoa" starts with the discovery of a glass bottle in Lake Hartwell that has not been opened since the late 1940's. An item inside the jar unlocks the forgotten life of Lily Davis.Jeffrey Stepakoff brings to the reader a stunning story of life in a rural Georgia town that is suddenly swept up in World War II. A truly patriotic town that has become home to many soldiers stationed at Camp Toccoa before being sent off to war.Lily finds herself marrying Drew Chandler, a family friend who is being sent overseas. She is content to wait three long years for his return, a seemingly easy thing to do in this time and place.Lily's life takes an abrupt change when she accidentally becomes involved with Jake Russ. Jake has been hired to set off the fireworks display for the fourth of July. He is from an old Italian family from Pennsylvania that has become the foremost manufacturer of polytechnics in the world. This part of the story is more fact than fiction and if you would like to know more about them you can google "Zambelli Fireworks".Lily becomes romantically involved with Jake and starts to question her marriage to Drew. She starts to wonder if the marriage may have been more one of convenience rather than love.Lily's entire life hangs in the balance when her father discovers her improprieties and she is informed that Drew should be arriving home in the next couple of days."Fireworks Over Toccoa" is a story of romance, dedication, love, fidelity, and heartbreak. The story will keep the reader entranced throughout the entire book and provides an ending that is both unusual and satisfying.

  • Virginia Campbell
    2019-01-10 18:42

    "Fireworks Over Toccoa", by Jeffrey Stepakoff, is just like life itself--either more or less than what you expect, but never exactly what you anticipate. At times I wasn't sure if I liked it, and then on the next page the story line would turn around and be completely captivating. I did like the characters very much. Lily Davis is a young Southern woman cultivated by her mother, Honey, to be a society belle. Her father, Walter, with whom Lily shares some private family jokes, lets her mother rule the roost. Lily has some private dreams, but she is a good and dutiful daughter, and marrying handsome and well-to-do Paul Woodward is no hardship. Just two weeks after their marriage, Paul, an executive with Coca-Cola, is sent off overseas in his role as a support services provider for the armed forces. During his absence of over three years, Lily is left in a sort of limbo. Definitely a bride, but barely a wife, Lily waits at home for Paul. Just before his scheduled return, Lily meets Jake Russo, the fireworks expert hired to put on a big welcome home show for the returning military personnel. Lily and Jake find themselves intensely drawn to each other, and their physical relationship is needy, raw, and life-changing. Once they join together in passion, their lives will never be the same. Lily's father, Walter, was my favorite character. There was more depth to Walter than anyone suspected, and he came through when he was needed. With this debut novel, Jeffrey Stepakoff has put his own creative twists and turns on a touching story of wartime romance and the sacrifices we never expect to make. I look forward to reading his second book, "The Orchard", in the very near future.Review Copy Gratis Thomas Dunne Books

  • Amy
    2018-12-16 14:54

    I received an advance copy of this book from the publisher.FIREWORKS OVER TOCCOA opens with an elderly woman named Lily recognizing an artifact from her past in a local museum. It is a "recipe" for a very special firework named after her. The discovery brings back many memories and Lily tells her story to her granddaugther and the museum director. At the end of WWII, small town royalty Lily Davis Woodward awaits the return of her husband who she hasn't seen in three years when he left for the war two weeks after their marriage. Lily worries what his return will be like as she has changed a lot from the 17-year-old bride she once was. The town throws itself in preparations for the return of all of their soldiers which will culminate in a special fireworks display. Unexpectedly, Lily falls for the fireworks man, Jake Russo, and begins a passionate affair with him. Lily finds herself at a crossroads and must decide what life she will ultimately choose.I wanted to like this book. It has a great premise and a good deal of romantic potential. However, this is the type of story that would make a better movie than a book. There isn't enough depth to make it truly successful and it is too short to believably develop the characters and their relationships. I found much of it maudling and silly. The characters are interesting and had potential but it just didn't carry through.BOTTOM LINE: While I did not like this book, I think certain readers would find it appealing. I will recommend this one for fans of BRIDGES OF MADISON COUNTY. There are a number of similarities. As for me, I'll be waiting for the movie version of this book.

  • Stacey Lucky
    2018-12-24 15:56

    I don't think he loved you that much Lilly..only took him a day to leave you lol!Being a GOOD military wife who has gone through many deployments,and going through one right now. I do not approve of this type off book. Military wives already have a bad reputation without people writing books about it. Why did I pick this book from the library if I don't approve? I have a weakness of judging books by their cover.

  • Christine K
    2018-12-18 22:45

    Beautiful. I really enjoyed this Southern small town war time romance. The settings are described so vividly, the love very rich and urgent. There were definitely a few tears shed thanks to the richness of Jeffrey Stepakoff's story telling. It is very evident that the author did work with a tv show giants like The Wonder Years (LOOOOOVE) and Dawson's Creek... this would translate to a very successful movie.

  • Shelby *trains flying monkeys*
    2018-12-27 18:58

    I read this book in just a few hours. Doesn't mean that it is a fluff book. I live just a few miles from where this book is set and loved that part. However, the story itself sweeps you up and keeps you invested until the very end. This book will stay with me a long time and every time I see a firework I'll think of it.

  • Teryl
    2018-12-20 22:00

    This book started out slow. In fact it wasn't until half way through that it really started to pick up. Then, the last 1/4 I couldn't put it down. I did skim entire pages because he over described things. This book was so sweet and sad at the same time. Plus, it had a tiny bit of suspense in it. Who's Lily going to pick? sweet!

  • Jolene
    2019-01-15 19:06

    This was a love story like The Notebook meets Bridges of Madison County. Enjoyable!

  • Jill
    2018-12-22 18:02

    Lily meets Jake, who makes fireworks. Interpersonal fireworks ensue. Gloppy and soppy. Will surely be a movie.

  • Susan
    2019-01-11 21:46

    Great summer read. WWII era love story located in GA.

  • Wilette Youkey
    2019-01-13 21:42

    A beautiful story that left me in tears.

  • Aubrey Cykon
    2019-01-11 17:39

    I really liked this book because it had a good overall idea of the hard decisions people have to make in their everyday life. The book also shows how the main character, Lily, has so many feeling, but having to basically bottle them up just to keep her family happy. After this, she has to share her true feelings, but still struggles with her internal thoughts and feelings.

  • Erin
    2019-01-13 22:47

    I enjoyed this! Historical fiction has become a favorite of mine as of late, and this was a light summer romantic read.

  • Natalie
    2018-12-25 16:38

    Fine. Nothing too memorable