Monday, April 12, 2010

Fireworks Over Toccoa

Jeffrey Stepakoff

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.

My Take:
I kept hearing people say that this book is The Notebook meets Titanic, and while there were many similarities (repressed rich girl falls in love with poor yet charming young man, the story being told from the perspective of the person in their old age reflecting back on the great romance of their life, etc.) it just didn't have the same magic.  I also don't think the main character, Lily, was very likable.  I think her position was most like that of Rose, in Titanic.  Except for the fact, that Rose had an abusive and domineering fiance, whereas Lily's husband was kind, and very loving.  This key difference takes the character from a girl you feel sorry for, and even understand, to what Lily seemed like, a spoiled girl who wants the best of both worlds, and she can't make up her dang mind!  I just didn't feel connected to her at all.  I couldn't relate to her even a bit.  As far as the writing was concerned, it was pretty good, I think I'd like to check out this author's future work, I just didn't care for this particular story line.  I think he'll write some really great stuff in the future, but this book won't be his defining work.  All in all, the ending was satisfactory, but not satisfying, the characters not very engaging.  I thought the story line had been done before, and done better.  I'm going to rate this a 4, Borrow from a Friend. 

Do you agree with my review?  Do you think I'm totally off-base?  Either way I'd love to hear from you, be sure to leave a comment and tell me how you feel!

If this were a movie, it would likely be rated PG-13 for brief but strong sexual activity.

If you would like to learn more about Jeffrey Stepakoff, please visit him  at


Dr. Bill (William L.) Smith said...

Thank you,

Bill ;-)

William Leverne Smith

lilly said...

I totally agree, I wasn't all so crazy about this book and I actually think most of the characters fell pretty flat.

The Book Buff said...

you're right, the characters just weren't rich and juicy like they are in great romances. I honestly didn't really care which guy she ended up with!

Felicia S. said...

Thanks for the review! I was on the fence about recommending this book to my sister (totally her genre) but I have heard more than one person say it just wasn't all that great.

This is why I love reading real people's reviews of books :)

Literary Kitty said...

great cover! won't bother reading it now though. thanks for the review. :)

gerea111 said...

You have inspired me to obtain a copy of this book and give it a read. Thanks again for your review.


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