Can a Guy Write a Good Love Story?

Filed Under: Book Related

I wonder if I’m a sexist when it comes to the books I read?

I automatically assume a romance written by a chick will be better than a romance written by a guy. Am I the only one?

So, I went into Fireworks Over Toccoa [affiliate link] with a chip on my shoulder completely expecting to not enjoy the book because, well, it’s written by a guy – Jeffrey Stepakoff.

I read the “Discovery” chapter at the very beginning of the book and then put the book away for a couple of weeks. Though that chapter interested me, it didn’t grab my interest and compel me to finish the book.

Since I had committed myself to reading the book and reviewing it, I picked it back up Friday and was determined to finish it.

After around Chapter 3, the book grabbed me and by last night, I couldn’t put the book down.

The story starts out simply with Colleen and her “perfect” fiancé – Drew – and their plans for their life together. Actually, they’re more like Drew’s plans for their life together but he’s an on-the-go type of guy and I didn’t instantly hate him. What becomes apparent very early on is the fact Colleen’s grandmother – Lily – doesn’t seem to think Drew is exactly perfect.

The fact Lily isn’t wowed by Drew confused me a bit and that confusion was one of the main things that kept me moving forward in the book.

As the story develops, we’re pulled back in time and we hear Lily’s story – the real story of the book. A young woman in the deep South from a very influential family who falls in love with the “perfect” guy…only to have him sent overseas due to World War II for almost four years.

That’s not the love story.

The love story comes a bit later in the book and Lily has to choose between the “perfect” man – the one who fits perfectly into the life that’s been made for her – and the man who intrigues her and is the exact opposite of the man who fits in her picture perfect life.

There was a bit of a deus ex machina at the end but Stepakoff did a good job of spinning that into something I wasn’t expecting.

Fireworks Over Toccoa [affiliate link] is a book I’ll give to my friend Alana to read and Stepakoff definitely has made me reexamine my screwed up idea that guys can’t write romances. As a chick who was born and has been raised in the South, Stepakoff nailed Southern culture and the “beat” of life in the South and nailed this romance.

Good book. You should buy it.

*Disclaimer Stuff: I received this book to review and promised to give it a read and a fair review. This is a book I would have purchased if I had known about it beforehand.*

Image/Jeffrey Stepakoff


  1. EEEEEEE!!!!! (that’s a girly squeal of delight) Can’t wait!!

    I am SO enjoying “The Middle Place” right now! It’s every bit as fabulous as you said it would be.


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