Things You Save in a Fire by Katherine Center
Published August 13th 2019 by St. Martin’s Press
Synopsis: From the New York Times bestselling author of How to Walk Away comes a stunning new novel about family, hope, and learning to love against all odds.
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 excellent at dealing with other people’s tragedies. But when her estranged and ailing mother asks her to uproot her life and move to Boston, it’s an emergency of a kind Cassie never anticipated.
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 handsome rookie, who doesn’t seem to mind having Cassie around. But she can’t think about that. Because she doesn’t fall in love. And because of the advice her old captain gave her: don’t date firefighters. Cassie can feel her resolve slipping…but will she jeopardize her place in a career where she’s worked so hard to be taken seriously?
Katherine Center’s Things You Save in a Fire is a heartfelt, affecting novel about life, love, and the true meaning of courage.
Cassie Hanwell is happily working at a very progressive Austin Fire Department. She is a rising star in the department and is being presented an award for Valor for saving a group of children who had been in a bus accident. She is expecting to be presented her award by the mayor, but when he goes out of town, she needs to accept her award from a sleezy yet charismatic City Councillor. When he puts his hand on her butt, she sees red and reacts putting him in the hospital. She is told she must apologize or be fired. She comes up with an alternative, transfer me. Her mother lives outside of Boston and has asked Cassie to come and stay with her due to her health problems. Cassie does not want to go, her mother left her and her father ten years earlier, but she has no choice. She heads off with a new job lined up in Lillian Mass. at an all male fire department. How will she fit in? She needs to prove herself while dealing with her mother. The last thing she expects is “The Rookie.”
I loved Cassie. She was tough, smart, strong and damaged. We don’t know what happened in her past, but we get in inkling. When she meets Owen, aka, The Rookie, she is shocked at her reaction to him. She does not want to get involved, especially with a firefighter, especially a firefighter she works with. Dealing with her mother and her anger at her is another thing she needs to deal with and she doesn’t deal well. As the story progresses we see Cassie change. She begins to listen to others and her heart begins to thaw. She starts to forgive, a little, and realizes once she listens and verbalizes, it makes things better. And Owen, oh my. He is the perfect man, handsome, caring, thoughtful, loving and he can cook! He takes it one step at at time with Cassie, but it was obvious to this reader how he felt about her. The rest of the guys at both fire stations were hilarious, yet the kind of guys that supported Cassie. I loved all the characters in this book except one. I was pretty sure who was doing the rotten stuff to Cassie and what happens at the end of the book showed me I was right.
There are a lot of hurdles for Cassie to get over and the huge twist at the end of this book had me flipping the pages quickly. When we finally learn what happened to Cassie when she was 16, my heart broke for her. As she grows, changes, finds love and learns about forgiveness, this reader was rooting for her to find her happily ever after. This was a well-written and plotted story with great character development. This is a romance, it is a second chance story, it is about forgiveness of yourself and others, it is about family and love and most of all it is about finding yourself and what makes you happy. I definitely recommend this story to just about anyone, it is a great story and I will look for more books by Katherine Center. The publisher generously provided me with a copy of this book upon request. The rating, ideas and opinions shared are my own.