Both Jan and I were thrilled when we were able to secure an advanced copy of Katherine Center’s book, Things You Save in a Fire. We found much to love about this story, as its narrative, its characters, and writing were truly something special.
Life has been tough for Cassie. To cope, she has built walls that lets no one in, especially men, and she thrives on routine and order with no drama. Oh, and she’s a firefighter who can hold her own physically and mentally in a male-dominated profession.
When her ailing, estranged mother asks her to come live with her in Massachusetts for a year, Cassie moves from her modern, progressive fire department in Austin, to a job at a small, ill-equipped firehouse where she’s up against some old-fashioned ideas about women in the profession. Before she moves, her old boss gives her “The Rules” on how to survive in her new job.
“So to succeed in my new job, I basically need to be an asexual, androgynous, human robot that’s dead to all physical and emotional sensation”
And then life throws her for a loop when she meets The Rookie, a firefighter who starts the job on the same day. The Rookie has Cassie re-thinking The Rules. But the Rookie isn’t the only person who is leading Cassie to question her life choices. She must navigate the complicated mother-daughter relationship and come to terms with a trauma in her past.
Marialyce and I had fun reading this one! There’s so much to love about this well-written book. It’s light and fun but with substance and depth. The protagonist is a strong, independent, capable woman but not without flaws, which makes her relatable. The theme of forgiveness, of yourself and others, is strong and well-done with many thoughtful, quotable passages. The side characters were delightful.
Is it a bit sappy and predictable? Yes, but this kind of book demands it and I went from laughing to tears more than once. These are characters to root for and I closed the last page with a smile on my face.
Katherine Center is a go-to author and a must read. Publication date is August 13, 2019. Do yourself a favor and read it! I rate according to genre, and this gets 5 enthusiastic stars.
*many thanks to St. Martin’s Press and Netgalley for a copy of this book for review
* this was a fantastic buddy read with my friend Marialyce, and a book we both highly recommend.
Life is sometimes so very hard. We find we bump up against adversity, and though we try to tough it through the bad times, we often find ourselves injured in ways not visible to others, yet surely visible to ourselves.
“That’s the thing I always love best about the human race: How we pick ourselves back up over and over and just keep on going.”
True to this quote, Cassie has had to pick herself up and move on. She has had much in her young life that has made her hard on the outside, a tough as nails exterior which hides the hurt that she feels deep within her heart.
Cassie was left by her mother on of all things her sixteenth birthday. She doesn’t understand and as she matures the rift with her mother becomes further entrenched. That is until her mother asks her to come and be with her for a year. Cassie, as a result of some well deserved punches, kicks, and assorted other blows to a former “high school “friend” who is now a high profile councilman, is about to lose the job she loves, that of being a firefighter. But as fate often does, her mother’s plea coupled with the ability to work in another fire department allows Cassie to still be exactly what she loves and she reluctantly moves in with her mother.
“Ten years I’d simmered in my own self-righteousness, holding my grudge against her as if the only way to win was to stay mad the longest.”
That is the catalyst that changes Cassie’s life bringing her into her mother’s world, the world of the new firehouse and the men who work there and most importantly meeting the Rookie, a young man starting out in the job.
Thanks to wonderful writing that was touching and poignant, a great story line that didn’t get lost in the shuffle, and characters that were portrayed with all their quirks and foibles, this story turned out to be beautiful. It taught the reader along the way that love and forgiveness is really the most important aspects of a human life.
“Choosing to love—despite all the ways that people let you down, and disappear, and break your heart. Knowing everything we know about how hard life is and choosing to love, anyway.. That’s not weakness, that’s courage.”
I definitely recommend this book to everyone, especially those like Jan and I who so love a wonderful women’s fiction story that will hit you in all the right places. Look for it on August 13th, 2019, read it and enjoy!
Thanks you to Katherine Center, St Martin’s Press and NetGalley for a copy of this lovely book.
and here’s the author:
Katherine Center is the New York Times and USA Today Bestselling Author of How to Walk Away, as well as the upcoming novel, Things You Save in a Fire (August 13, 2019). She’s also written five other bittersweet comic novels about love and family, including The Bright Side of Disaster,The Lost Husband,and Happiness for Beginners. The Lost Husband is currently in production as a feature film starring Josh Duhamel and Leslie Bibb. Katherine’s work has appeared in Redbook, InStyle, People, USA Today, Vanity Fair, The Atlantic, Real Simple, Southern Living, InTouch, the Dallas Morning News, and the Houston Chronicle, and many others.