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Thursday, December 19, 2019

With This One, It Was Love at First Page

(Image from Barnes & Noble)

Even though Cassie Hanwell is surrounded by men all day, she's never been on a date, let alone been kissed.  The 26-year-old EMT/firefighter/paramedic just doesn't "do" love.  Even if she wanted to, she doesn't dare act the least bit girly—endless teasing from her male colleagues would absolutely, horrifyingly, ensue.  She can't allow that.  As a woman in a man's world, Cassie has to be thought of as one of the guys.  That means no makeup, no high heels, no crying, no throwing around words like "tampon," and absolutely no flirting with her colleagues.  Ever.  

When a public confrontation with an important city leader gets Cassie tossed from the Texas firefighting job she's had for four years, she's devastated.  What is she going to do now?  Then she learns that her estranged mother is ill.  When she asks Cassie to come to Massachusetts to help her, Cassie decides to go.  Especially since Cassie's former employer has put in a good word for her at a fire station near her mother's house.  Unfortunately, Cassie's new work crew is nothing like her old one.  She's used to the teasing and off-color jokes—she can tease and joke with the best of them—but her new colleagues' ribbing carries a cruel and defeating edge, obviously aimed at grinding her down until she quits.  Cassie's not about to give in.  She will prove herself, no matter what it takes.  

Then a major complication walks through the firehouse door.  Owen Callaghan is an easygoing, good-natured rookie who turns not just Cassie's head, but also her traitorous heart.  She's a goner pretty much from the get-go.  Dating a fellow firefighter is professional suicide.  Cassie will not risk everything she's worked so hard to gain just to lose her heart to a handsome face.  And an irresistible smile.  And a warm, charming personality.  And some mad culinary skills.  And ...  Yeah, she's in trouble.  

It only took a few pages of Katherine Center's Things You Save in a Fire for me to know it was going to be one of my favorite reads of the year.  From start to finish, it's a funny, upbeat, heartfelt novel that is simply a joy to read.  It's so engaging that not only did I inhale it in (almost) one sitting, but I also immediately missed everything about it as soon as I closed the book.  As humorous as the story is, it's also poignant, affecting, and sweet as Cassie learns some important lessons about family, forgiveness, friendship, and, of course, love.  Things You Save in a Fire has gotten all kinds of positive buzz—trust me when I say there's a reason for that.  It's a delightful read that I absolutely loved.

(Readalikes:  Center's style reminds me of Joshilyn Jackson's, whose books I also adore.)   


If this were a movie, it would be rated:

for language (a dozen or so F-bombs, plus milder expletives), innuendo, sexual content, and violence

To the FTC, with love:  I bought a copy of Things You Save in a Fire from Amazon with a portion of the millions I make from my lucrative career as a book blogger.  Ha ha.


  1. This is one of those book I kept seeing everyone gush over, so I read it, and I LOVED IT! The theme of forgiveness and the way Center navigated it was so beautiful, and Owen, *swoon*. After this, I went and read How to Walk Away (another hit for me), and I started Get Lucky today. Women's fiction is hit or miss for me, but I love the way Center does it.

  2. I'm glad you liked this one since I did, too. I agree that it grabbed me from the first page.

  3. Not my usual kind of book, but I too LOVED this one. Cute, dramatic, and romantic without being sappy.

  4. So glad you enjoyed this one Susan, it is one of my favourites from 2019 as well. I am looking forward to her next book coming out in 2020.


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