Things You Save in a Fire

Synopsis – Goodreads

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.

Publication Date: August 13, 2019

Going into it, I knew I’d enjoy this book. After all, some of my favorite shows involve female firefighters. (Station 19, 9-1-1, to name a few) What I wasn’t expecting, was to love it so much! But first, trigger warnings.

TW: Drug Abuse, Notes of Sexism, Rape, Neurological Disease Rep

From the very first chapter, I was completely invested in this book. Cassie was every bit the bad ass I expected her to be and more. I enjoyed the camaraderie she had with her fellow firefighters in Texas and eventually in Massachusetts, and I didn’t mind one bit that she didn’t fully believe in love. (which is based on an incident that occurred in her past) 

Before I dive into the main character, I want to show appreciation for a brief side character who really stuck with me throughout the story, Captain Harris. No spoilers but I hope, if you haven’t read it yet but plan to, you admire her badassery as much as or even more than Cassie.

Now, this is by far one of the best coming-of-age stories I’ve read this year. It was interesting reading Cassie’s character development. As she battles with the heavy emotions she’s carried over a decade, it was lovely to see her bloom into the woman she was to become.

One important theme the book discussed is forgiveness. Forgiving others as well as yourself is integral to the plot and Cassie’s character development. In a lot of ways, I could identify with Cassie and I found her to be extremely relatable. 

I fell in love with Katherine Center’s writing style. Her character and setting descriptions felt three-dimensional and it was extremely difficult to put the book down. I admire and adore authors who do extensive research for a subject-matter that they may have some but not full background on. With Things You Save in a Fire, I could tell that a great amount of research went into creating this story.

The only thing I felt was lacking, was the romance between Cassie and Owen aka Rookie. The insta-like/love was underwhelming and I would’ve loved to see their relationship progress in a semi-slower pace. But I enjoyed it all the same. 

I recommend this book to fans of romance and those who love a good badass female lead.