Author: Katherine Center
Published: August 13, 2019
Goodreads Rating: 4.04/5
For fans of: Domestic Fiction, Romance, Ask Again Yes, The Giver of Stars, Beach Read, The Unhoneymooners, books about forgiveness, books with strong female leads
Good to know before you read: mentions of child sexual abuse
Disclaimer: I was not paid for this review, and all opinions are my own. If you are interested in purchasing this book, please consider using my Amazon affiliate link (by clicking on the top or bottom pictures) and helping a fellow book blogger out 🙂 I will receive a small fee from Amazon, but your book will still cost the same.
Synopsis from Goodreads:
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.
People who wanted to wrestle with complicated emotions became therapists, or poets. People who wanted to keep things simple became firefighters.”
I have been a 911 Dispatcher for seven years now, so this book hit very close to home. I handle emergencies through the phone on a daily basis, and I can only imagine what it would be like to handle these situations in person. As a dispatcher I’ve been through training exercises in which I had to wear full firefighter gear so that I could really see what it’s like to be in their shoes, and why they have to scream to speak into their handheld radios during a fire. I got to experience how heavy the gear is, how hot it gets in the Florida heat (let alone an actual fire) , and how strong the water pressure feels when I was holding the hose (it almost knocked me down when the person helping me let go). I felt so claustrophobic inside the gear, and breathing through the oxygen tank was uncomfortable. I could picture all of these things very vividly while I read this book.
Center mentioned that her husband is a firefighter, so all her descriptions and scenes were very accurate. I can also attest to how real all these situations she talked about are, even the most ridiculous calls she mentioned (don’t want to ruin it for you guys with details). I was laughing out loud at times, and almost in tears at others (I’m not a crier so this is rare for me). I enjoyed the hilarious pranks the firefighters played on each other. The dialogue between the characters felt natural and realistic, and the playful banter was entertaining.
Knowing everything we know about how hard life is and choosing to love anyway…That’s not weakness. That’s bravery.”
Even though the book was funny at times, it was not a light read in any shape or form. The story dealt with very serious topics such as grief, rape, forgiveness, abandonment, and substance abuse, to name a few. I liked how Center approached the topic of workplace equality for women in a male dominated occupation. Cassie, the main character, was definitely a bigger person than I am, but I admit I don’t deal well with forgiveness. There were many situations in which I wondered if I would’ve made the same decisions as she. This story is a good one to make you ponder social, workplace, and family moral dilemmas.
The romance was very realistic. It took a while for the characters to get together, and I liked that they took it slow given Cassie’s abusive past. The story did become a bit too dramatic for me at one point in which everything seemed to be going wrong for Cassie. It reminded me of one of those Lifetime movies that I don’t enjoy. I felt like Cassie had already been through enough and she did not need the extra drama. With that said, this was a great book with so many good life lessons and great advice. I highly recommend it to all Romance and Domestic Fiction fans.
I got all these pins from handling different calls at work. Some are life saves and some are teamwork awards. I recently handled my first baby delivery through the phone (it was a baby boy), and I’m still waiting for my little stork pin to arrive 🙂
If you are wondering where I got this amazing underwater themed pin hoop, you can click on The Bookish Creations Etsy Shop link and use code DEE15 to save! I represent Chelsea’s shop on Instagram, and she is a wonderful person and creator 🙂 She sells great quality bookish and K-Pop themed totes, water bottles, bookmarks, and pin hoops.