Title: Fireworks Over Toccoa
Author: Jeffrey Stepakoff
Release Date: March 30, 2010
Publisher: Thomas Dunne Books
Rating: 2.5 out of 5
Lily Davis married Paul Woodward when she was just seventeen, two weeks before he was going to get shipped out to fight in World War II. She cared about Paul very much, and though they had only been dating a short time and she was young, she felt she was making the right decision.
Now, three years later, Paul is coming home and Lily isn’t sure what to do. Part of her is looking forward to his return, but part of her is feeling trapped by her small town of Toccoa, Georgia. When Jake, a mysterious man who works with fireworks, comes to town, Lily is torn between her duty and her heart.
I had mixed feelings going into Fireworks Over Toccoa. On one hand, I’d seen the story compared to Nicholas Sparks’ work, and I’m definitely not really a fan of his. But Karen White, one of my favorite authors, blurbed the book, so I thought I’d give it a chance.
I will say I was pleasantly surprised by the writing style. Stepakoff is a talented writer, and comparisons to Nicholas Sparks do him no credit. The story was also easy to read and flowed very well.
That being said, I can’t say I enjoyed the book. First of all, the romance was way over the top. Such lines as “His gaze into her was so deep, so true – could she really keep these inner thoughts from him. Her heart began to panic. Could he hear it?” made me roll my eyes. Additionally the 20 pages of sex in the middle of the book were too much for me – I skipped over them. These two had just met. I had trouble believing in the depth of their feelings for each other since they knew barely anything about one another.
Additionally, I can’t say I really liked Lily. I understood why she felt trapped and definitely sympathized, but I think she dealt with these issues in the wrong way. After all, no one forced her to marry so young. She loved Paul and it was strictly her decision. I can’t help but feel she was being a bit selfish and acting on impulse, rather than thinking things through and deciding what she wanted.
If Stepakoff chooses to write a book in a different genre, I will definitely give it a try. After all, he did a solid job with the plot and is a good storyteller. But Fireworks Over Toccoa confirmed that romance really isn’t a genre for me!