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Fireworks Over Toccoa Paperback – March 15, 2011


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 272 pages
  • Publisher: St. Martin's Griffin; Reprint edition (March 15, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0312673515
  • ISBN-13: 978-0312673512
  • Product Dimensions: 8.5 x 5.5 x 0.7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (71 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,018,766 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Veteran television writer Stepakoff breathes new life into a familiar plot and setting in his debut novel. Lily Davis Woodward, once a headstrong, independent dreamer, acquiesced at age 17 to her wealthy parents' wishes and married Paul Woodward, the perfect high society Atlanta husband. Two weeks later, Paul ships out to serve on the European front, and Lily tends the home fires until the summer of 1945, when Lily, about to see her husband for the first time in three years, meets Jake Russo. The pyrotechnics man, who's planning the fireworks for the local July 4 celebration, spurs Lily to wonder whether her life is what she really wants. Sparks predictably fly, and after several passionate days, Lily is torn between what's expected of her and the chance to pursue an exciting and adventure-filled life. For sure, forbidden love's been done to death, but Stepakoff's spellbinding descriptions of Jake's unusual line of work and the lush countryside of northern Georgia, the unexpected plot twists, and a surprise ending give this story plenty of oomph. (Apr.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Booklist

Television writer Stepakoff, author of Billion Dollar Kiss (2007), turns to fiction with a sweet, nostalgic tale set at the end of World War II. The daughter of a prominent family in Toccoa, Georgia, child bride Lily Davis Woodward hasn’t seen her husband, Paul, since he was shipped off to war three years ago. She is now nervously anticipating his return, until she comes across a handsome stranger named Jake setting off fireworks in a lush field. The chemistry between them is explosive, and before long, Lily finds herself showing Jake the secret abandoned cabin where she goes to create her artwork and entering into a torrid affair with him. Lily is predictably torn between love and duty, and wrestles with her desire to be with Jake and her fear of upsetting her genteel parents and the husband she barely knows by running away with him. Pleasant if not groundbreaking, Stepakoff’s fiction debut should appeal to readers who liked The Bridges of Madison County (1992) and other tearjerkers that celebrate forbidden but passionate love. --Kristine Huntley --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

More About the Author

Jeffrey Stepakoff was raised in Atlanta, Georgia. He attended the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill where he received a BA in Journalism. In 1988, the day after getting his MFA in Playwriting from Carnegie Mellon, he drove to Hollywood where he began writing for film and television.

Stepakoff has written for fourteen different TV series, including the Emmy-winning THE WONDER YEARS, SISTERS, and DAWSON'S CREEK where he was Co-Executive Producer. He has also created and developed pilots for many of the major studios and networks, including 20th Century, Paramount, MTM, Fox, and ABC. And he has developed and written major motion pictures, including Disney's TARZAN and BROTHER BEAR.

A few years ago Stepakoff began pursuing his long-held dream of writing fiction. FIREWORKS OVER TOCCOA, a SIBA Okra Pick and an Indie Next List Notable, is his first novel. Stepakoff's second novel, THE ORCHARD, comes out in July 2011. His fiction is available now in six languages.

Presently, Stepakoff lives in Atlanta with his wife and three young children, and is working on his third novel for St. Martin's Press. In his spare time, he builds forts in living room with sofa cushions.

Join him at: www.facebook.com/JeffreyStepakoff

Customer Reviews

First I hate when authors punish their characters too much.
bookaholic
I felt that the characters were true to life, real people with real feelings and emotions.
Avid Reader
It's a beautiful love story that has all the drama in Toccoa that you could ask for.
Tiffany B. Collins

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

12 of 13 people found the following review helpful By Steven James on November 27, 2009
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
In large pot add one part "The Bridges of Madison County", two parts "The Notebook", cover with Coca Cola and sprinkle with one heaping teaspoon pyrotechnics. Consume in front of a crackling fire with a bottle of your favorite wine, keeping tissues handy in case of overflow.

Author Stepakoff has crafted the perfect book. I was so riveted by FIREWORKS OVER TOCCOA that I stayed up half the night reading. I won't describe the plot because the product description has already done that. What I will do is rave about how engrossing the characters were, and how gripping the plot, and how deep the heartache is in this fine little book which is destined to be a national bestseller. It has all the ingredients of a hit movie, as well.

The only drawback that I could find was one lengthy and overly graphic love scene, which may somewhat limit the scope of the reading audience. I know I would think twice before passing it on to, say, one of my mother's friends. And I most definitely would not want to be the high school teacher suggesting that his students read it, although I know they would LOVE it.

That said, the rest of the book is flawless. One will laugh, cry, think, and ponder their life's choices while reading FIREWORKS OVER TOCCOA. Read this book as soon as you can get your hands on a copy. It's that good.
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10 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Tracy Marks VINE VOICE on January 21, 2010
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
In Fireworks over Toccoa, we are transported back to the end of World War II, when Lily was awaiting the return of a husband she hadn't seen for three years, and had only known in marriage for two weeks. A few days before his return, Lily fell suddenly in love with Jake, a pyrotechnics specialist she met in a field, under the fallout of dazzling fireworks. Decades later, discovering a memento of past love, she tells her story to a museum curator and her granddaughter, Colleen, who is anxious about her impending marriage.

Unlike most reviewers here, I cannot rave about Fireworks Over Toccoa, although I recommend it with reservations. It is a mildly enjoyable read, oriented toward lovers of romance, with the same theme as Bridges of Madison County, but lacking R.J. Waller's flair with simple, evocative language.

However, the novel does have believable characters and realistic, natural dialogue. It allows us to experience yearning for all-encompassing soul-and-body love, to taste it fully but confront the difficult choice of whether to let it go. It enables us to enter into the minds of the characters, and experience both romantic fulfillment and the confusing clash of conflicting emotions, such as Lily experienced after an evening with Jake: "She just stared at him, pondering. Had he changed his mind? Had she imagined it? Was she the one initiating it? She suddenly realized that she was sitting in this car, but she wasn't starting it. She was ready to stay and ready to go."

On the other hand, we do frequently have to tolerate trite language, and occasionally ponderous descriptions: "As she looked up, light refracted in the tawny trails still lingering like viscous nectar from a great tupelo comb hewn and oozing and over the clouds.
Read more ›
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Jess on November 21, 2010
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Holy crap I love this book!!! From the first chapter, NO from the first page I fell in love. The moment I read on the back cover that Stepakoff had been involved with many wonderful TV shows, including Dawson's Creek, I was very curious about the story. I don't know if that is the reason I could not stop relating the book to other books, TV shows and movies but every time I turned the page I was reminded of something else I loved. I caught myself - unsurprisingly - remembering some of my favorite moments in Dawson 's Creek (Grams' one great kiss). Fireworks Over Toccoa has the Southern charm of a Sarah Addison Allen novel but the way it was told kept reminding me of Titanic.

I continued to think I would find something, just one negative thing, because this book couldn't really be this good and finally, towards the end, I knew it was going to be a bit too predictable (which isn't even the worst thing I can say about some books) and then BAM! my whole predictable ending was shot down, as well as a chance of finding a flaw in the story. This was truly a lovely, delightful and delicious story. It made me want to sit down with a Coca-Cola in a bottle and watch some fireworks.

I love that the story came about after Stepakoff began research for a TV pilot that never came to be. The characters were so real, and I was so lost in the story that I forgot to wonder which parts of the story were actually real.

Love it!!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Kathy O'Gorman VINE VOICE on November 17, 2010
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
I loved the voice in this book, a novel about Lily Woodward, living during World War II with a soldier husband, in a marriage pushed on her at an early age by her parents. She struggles with her wants versus her shoulds, much like The Bridges of Madison County. Do we do the right thing, or follow our heart? Lily struggles with this, too. You'll find yourself cheering her on, and won't be disappointed. I really enjoyed this one. While it wasn't the best book I've ever read, it was a very good read, and one I would recommend to friends. It's a great book to tuck in your bag for an in-flight read, or to read on the beach on vacation. It has enough romance and angst to keep you riveted. It's not a book I couldn't stand to put down for awhile, but it is one I always found myself coming back to. I think it would be enjoyed by mature women who don't mind a little romance and even some descriptive sex, and would not be appropriate for teen readers.
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