Things You Save in a Fire, by Katherine Center
Publication: St. Martin’s Press; August 13, 2019
About the book:
Cassie Hanwell was born for emergencies. As one of the only female firefighters in her Texas firehouse, she’s seen her fair share of them, and she’s a total pro at other people’s tragedies. But when her estranged and ailing mother asks her to give up her whole life and move to Boston, Cassie suddenly has an emergency of her own.
The tough, old-school Boston firehouse is as different from Cassie’s old job as it could possibly be. Hazing, a lack of funding, and poor facilities mean that the firemen aren’t exactly thrilled to have a “lady” on the crew—even one as competent and smart as Cassie. Except for the infatuation-inspiring rookie, who doesn’t seem to mind having Cassie around. But she can’t think about that. Because love is girly, and it’s not her thing. And don’t forget the advice her old captain gave her: Never date firefighters. Cassie can feel her resolve slipping…and it means risking it all—the only job she’s ever loved, and the hero she’s worked like hell to become.
Katherine Center’s Things You Save in a Fire is a heartfelt and healing tour-de-force about the strength of vulnerability, the nourishing magic of forgiveness, and the life-changing power of defining courage, at last, for yourself.
After a stretch of reading books that were good, fine, or o.k. I have been lucky enough to read two incredible novels this week, one of which was Things You Save in a Fire, the upcoming novel from author Katherine Center. Although not exactly what I expected, this one was amazing!
This is about firefighter Cassie Hanwell, who right after receiving a great honor, proceeds to completely screw things up for herself. Couple that with her estranged mother begging for Cassie to move to the Boston area to help her with some health issues, Cassie finds herself employed at an all-male and old-school fire station, starting the same day as a rookie named Owen. Although not an emotional or touchy-feely person, Cassie slowly feels the walls crumbling that she has carefully built around herself, not only with the rookie but also with her mother, Diana.
Let me get this out of the way. Things You Save in a Fire includes themes about assault, trauma, illness, parent issues, marriage issues, and so much more. With that being said, this is not a sad book, it won’t bring you down, and if anything – your spirit will soar after finishing it.
It’s evident early on that Cassie is an incredible firefighter, especially for being a female (this is a joke, as you will see when you read, about the especially for being a female part), but is also very guarded and closed off regarding relationships. Not just romantic relationships, but any sort of emotional investment with others. There are several reasons why, but I can’t say.
Another thing that comes to light very early on is that Owen is outstanding. Handsome, sexy, polite to a fault, funny, a family person, generous, and so much more. I could probably spend most of the afternoon describing all of the ways that I love Owen. His only problem was a ton of guilt and sense of obligation stemming from events from his youth. But again, I can’t elaborate on it.
Then there is the quirky, whimsical, creative, loving and interesting Diana (Cassie’s mother). I struggled with her overall character initially, but only because some things hit too close to home for me. However, I quickly fell in love with her honesty, her wisdom, and especially her best friend next door! All of Cassie’s anger and resentment that she had held on to for so many years was primarily due to the actions of Diana. However, it is Diana’s straight-forward emotion and insight that is the catalyst to Cassie learning to forgive others, forgive herself, and open her heart again to those around her.
Things You Save in a Fire is beautifully developed, had incredible characters that will grab you by your heart, and had such moving themes and messages. The journey along with Cassie is filled with tons of humor, mistakes, triumphs, fear, acceptance, forgiveness, and love. This is a must read that I promise you will devour!
*Many thanks to NetGalley and St. Martin’s Press for providing this ARC in exchange for my honest review!