Fireworks Over Toccoa - Book Review

I actually heard about this book last fall and could not wait to read it!
I got my hands on an ARC January 14.

Author- Jeffrey Stepakoff

Thomas Dunne Books, March 2010

ISBN: 978-0-312-58158-9, ISBN10: 0-312-58158-0, 
5-1/2 x 7-1/2 inches, 272 pages,

From St. Martin's Press -

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 have seen this book compared to a Nicholas Sparks novel or "The Bridges of Madison County", but since I haven't read anything by Sparks or Waller I went into this book with no expectations.  I think it took me 4 days to read this book even though there were times I didn't want to put it down.  Being from Toccoa, I was drawn in by the author's use of actual places in my town and the true to life characters.  This book held my interest & I can definitely see it either on the small or big screen.  There was such detail given to the places and most of the people.  Fireworks was very well written and easy to read.

At first I was confused with the beginning of the story and it actually took me a while to connect it to the rest of the story, but in the end it worked.  I loved the interactions between Lily & Honey.  I could actually see them in my head while reading.  To me Jake was almost an unbelievable character.  I'm not sure why, it was just a feeling I had about him.  I really felt no connection to Jonathan or Paul.  I was somewhat bothered by Lily's unfaithfulness to her husband, but given the fact that I felt no true connection to him explains why her adultery did not bother me more.  I would have loved to see more of Walter in the book!

I thought I had figured out how this book would end, but in the end was surprised.
Yes, I was kindof disappointed but then again it was a fitting end!

I was quite pleased with the absence of bad language.   Being a love story, there is one sex scene but it's not a surprise and it's not vulgar.  Overall, I would say this is great book to read while on vacation or on a relaxing weekend.

After hearing the audio clip, I'm actually thinking about listening to it instead of reading it again.

If you have any questions about the places in the book, feel free to email me.  I would be more than happy to answer any questions I can about the actual places!

I have not been paid to review this book,
and I receive no financial compensation from the publisher!

1 fabulous folks said...:

morninglight mama said...

I thought the same thing about not feeling any connection at all to Paul, and actually felt a little happy that Lily got to experience an emotional connection with Jake.