Fireworks Over Toccoa, by Jeffrey Stepakoff
Publisher: St. Martin's Press
Author Jeffrey Stepakoff has a MFA in Playwriting from Carnegie Melon. His television credits include the Emmy-winning Sisters, The Wonder Years, Major Dad, Tarzan, and Dawson's Creek (as a co-executive producer). This is his debut novel, with Billion-Dollar Kiss following. He resides in Atlanta, Georgia with his family.
Colleen finds herself at a crossroads in her life. She is engaged to be married to a handsome doctor, who wishes only to provide her the perfect house to begin their perfect life together. But she is unsettled, and unsure why. Seeking her grandmother's comfort, they happen to read an article about a recently uncovered WWII artifact in their hometown of Toccoa, Georgia. But her grandmother, Lily, has her own story to tell to help her. A story that transpired decades ago over the course of four days in July of 1945. Lily was married just days before her husband was sent abroad to fight in the war. Now, he and the other soldiers are returning to the small town of Toccoa. But an attractive Italian immigrant responsible for the elaborate fireworks display to welcome home the troops soon captures Lily's restless heart and soul. Torn between duty to society and her husband, and a passionate man who just might be her one true love, Lily must choose between a commitment she'd already made and a love she never knew.
Reminiscent of THE NOTEBOOK and BRIDGES OF MADISON COUNTY, this is a story told over generations, jumping both past and present. I give the author an immense amount of credit for the research it took to write such a tale of fiction. From what it was like in the States during WWII, like coffee rationing and mindset, to the detailed setting and events for our troops, this was a well-investigated story. A book that can be read in one short sitting, but will stay with you for a lifetime.
This book was told in a very narrative tone, without a lot of dialog, which writers know is extremely difficult to pull of successfully, but Jeffrey Stepakoff did. This book is also a perfect example of how the choices we make can change the course of our life for generations to come. How one step, left or right, can alter our happiness. If anything, it makes you think. The setting and imagery was inspiring, and the characters' stories profoundly moving. Grab some tissues, you'll need them by the end.
Author and Reviewer