August 13, 2019
St. Martin’s Press
Blurb: From the New York Times bestselling author of How to Walk Away comes a stunning new novel about courage, 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 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.
Last year I had a fortuitous book winning: I won Katherine Center’s novel How to Walk Away (you can read my review here). I adamantly called it the best novel I had read so far that year. In fact, it might still be the best one I read last year.
Today I read Things You Save in a Fire and I will tell you again that this is the best thing I’ve read all year. Katherine Center has mastered the art of storytelling. Prose that never rushes or slows. Characters who matter. Life, love, hope, caring, forgiveness. It’s all here, and I cared. I cared to read this beautifully written novel. I read it today. All of it. I stopped at intervals especially when I felt that her writing might be taking me somewhere where I would cry.
Yes, the world is full of unspeakable cruelty. But the answer wasn’t’ to never feel hope, or bliss, or love–but to savor every fleeting precious second of those feelings when they came.
Cassie is not your average heroine. She’s a stoic firefighter whose Captain in Austin says that her path has been easy because she hasn’t had to fight for anything in that progressive city. But circumstances remove Cassie from her progressive Austin to a small New England town where she’s warned that the men probably won’t want her; they won’t be welcoming; that she will have to hide everything about her that is feminine.
Cassie proves herself time and time again but always realizes that it might not be enough.
But this story is not just about Cassie the paramedic. It’s also about mother-daughter relations and how what you think you know may be quite wrong or not what you expected. And mostly it’s about forgiveness, yourself and others. And then, it’s about love. The kind of love that reaches in and makes you become something more than you ever thought yourself capable of being. And, it’s about understanding and empathy, which may, in the long run be even more important than love.
I’m not going to tell you that this book has all of the “feels” because that’s almost an insult. This book resonates. This book does everything it should and more. This is, on this day, my perfect book.
Thank you, Katherine Center, for giving me this wonderful novel.
Read this. That’s my recommendation.
I received an ARC in exchange for an honest review.