Monday, January 25, 2010

FIREWORKS OVER TOCCOA by Jeffrey Stepakoff

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 maudlin 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.

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