Things You Save in a Fire
by Katherine Center
My rating: 4 / 5
Genre: Women’s fiction, romance
Multiple events conspire together to cause Cassie Hanwell to move away from the city in which she’s just received an award for her service as a firefighter to a new city where, she’s told, they don’t even think women should be firefighters. But Cassie has taught herself how to overcome almost anything–by keeping emotions and feelings at bay and always following a schedule and a plan. This method serves her well, but also poorly, in her new life. A very strained relationship with her sick mother and a crush on the rookie at her new fire station both lead to changes she could never have expected.
This book was a fun read for me, and I think it is interesting that it isn’t quite as much of a pure romance as I thought it would be. The romance is a key factor, but it’s not the only factor. Other important elements include recovering from past trauma (or lack thereof), mother-daughter relationship (focusing on abandonment of the daughter), surviving in a not-entirely-friendly workplace, and most of all, forgiveness.
I really liked the fact that the book had that last angle in it, because I think it’s something that many people don’t really take the time and effort to try to do. The book may have taken a fairly simplistic approach, but for what it was, I appreciated it.
There are a lot of tropes wrapped up in Cassie, but at the same time, she had some traits that I really connected with. For example, I watched as she pushed another character away, and then was truly disappointed that the other character left. She wanted this person to push harder to reach her, help her, get her to open up, whatever, even while at the same time knowing that she would never let that person in. I am like that as well, especially with my husband, though with his help, I’ve identified it and am working on it.
One thing that bugged me throughout the book was Cassie’s mother. I had a really hard time sympathizing with her, for reasons that I won’t explain, because it would broach spoiler territory. But in the end, I decided that I didn’t have to agree with Cassie’s assessment of her mother or the situation. It wasn’t my mother, so I just let it be.
The ending had a few wrap-ups that were a little strange to me, but I enjoyed the book overall. I recommend it to fans of romance, especially those where the romance isn’t quite so in-your-face.
Thank you so much to Netgalley and St. Martin’s Press for providing me a copy of this book to review!
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If you’ve read this book, or read it in the future, feel free to let me know what you think!