Wednesday, June 19, 2019

Things You Save in a Fire by Katherine Center

Cassie Hanwell was traumatized twice over at the age of 16. Since then, she's both acted and become tough. A firefighter/paramedic, she has to be physically and mentally strong to handle life in a firehouse and all of the things a firefighter sees. And, she's happy with her place in life. But, then things start to go wrong. When one of the people who traumatized her sets her off, she is given a choice: apologize to him or be dismissed from her job. At the same time, her mother is facing a health challenge and needs Cassie's help. When she ends up moving to a new fire station in an entirely different region, Cassie knows she must be extra careful about how she behaves.

Cassie isn't the only new body at the fire station she moves to, but she's the only female. The rookie is new to firefighting, though, and Cassie is not. So, Cassie is thrown together with him frequently, tasked with sharing some of her hard-won experience. When Cassie and the rookie find themselves attracted to each other, Cassie is horrified. The last thing she needs is to endanger her job with a potential romance. Will finding love wreck her life as a firefighter for good or soften her and help her deal with the trauma of her past?

Highly recommended - I could not put Things You Save in a Fire down. Cassie was a wounded soul but not in a way that felt manufactured. In fact, part of the trauma is never spelled out, as I recall. But, you can read between the lines and her story felt entirely believable to me. I cared about her and wanted the best for her. I also absolutely loved reading about what it's like to be a firefighter — the camaraderie, the type of things they have to deal with (dangerous, weird, and yucky situations), the pranks they pull on each other and the things that are completely taboo. I've read some of this, in the past, because I have a fascination with both firefighters and paramedics but there was more detail than I'm accustomed to and I think you can take the accuracy to the bank because the author's husband is a volunteer firefighter.

I jumped the gun a little on this title because I put it on the wrong ARC pile (le sigh). Things You Save in a Fire is an August, 2019 release. And, of course, it's just June. I like to wait till a lot closer than 2 months ahead of release date to review. I received my ARC from St. Martin's Press (thank you!) and I loved it so much that with it just sitting here beside me, I keep looking at the book and thinking, I want to start it all over again. Definitely a new favorite and one I'll hang onto for a reread.

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