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I think you are so beautiful,” he went on slowly, deliberately, “that it’s blinding.”

Katherine Center is a ‘new to us’ author and what a first reading experience! The writing, the characters, the emotion and the adrenaline rush of the setting as we saw life through the eyes of Cassie Hanwell, a twenty-six-year-old firefighter, kept us completely riveted from start to finish. We absolutely loved Things You Save in a Fire and can’t wait to read more from this author.

‘That’s how life is. Things happen. Lives get broken. Some people never can put themselves back together.’

Things You Save in a Fire is a beautifully inspiring story about courage, love and forgiveness, and one that was written with sweetness, swoon, emotion and heart-stopping suspense, plus a little mystery is thrown into the mix. Everything about this story was thought-provoking and engaging.

Cassie Hanwell was such an admirable character. A tough career-minded young woman who saw love as a handicap, and emotions as a detriment to where she wanted to go in life. Cassie had endured some terrible experiences at sixteen and had carried the pain and hurt for ten years. From the abandonment of her mother to a horrific event Cassie has never shared with anyone.

“Love is not weak, it’s the opposite. Choosing to love – despite all the ways that people let you down, and disappear, and break your heart. Knowing everything we know about how hard life is and choosing to love anyway…That’s not weakness. That’s courage.”

After working her way through the ranks, Cassie is happy being part of a ‘family‘ of firefighters in the new pristine fire Station B in Austin Texas. However, circumstances see her moving to be with her estranged mother in Rockport Boston, starting a new job from the ground up in a fire station that is the opposite in every way to the progressive job she left behind.

Cassie must learn to fit in with the old fashioned men’s club in the Lillian Firehouse and it’s tough. Cassie is a brilliant firefighter and paramedic, the youngest ever, and the first woman to win the Austin Fire Departments Valour award, so Cassie shouldn’t have to prove herself but every day brings new challenges. As tough as Cassie is on the outside, and trust us, this girl is a bad arse, she has so much vulnerability and hurt on the inside that our hearts ached for her.

“There’s all this toughness about you – but the most impressive thing about that toughness, I think, is that you built it to protect the tenderness.”

There is one shining light in an otherwise unbearable environment, and that is the new rookie, Owen Callaghan. Owen is a generational firefighter who admires and respects Cassie, and who’s also a little smitten with her. Owen is gentle to Cassie’s toughness but for Cassie, he’s forbidden fruit! Liaising with Owen could cost her job and hinder any respect she might have with the men in the firehouse. But Owen is so sweet and irresistible with the kindest heart, we fell head over heels!

“It’s not true that nothing scares me, you scare me.”

Whilst we were swept up in the romance and utterly involved in both Owen and Cassie’s family dynamics, and gripped by the suspense, what stood out for us was the ‘behind the scenes’ insight into the life of a firefighter/paramedic and the dangerous jobs they do. Consumed with admiration and respect for these brave unsung heroes, we found this aspect of the story eye-opening and fascinating.

Things You Save in a Fire a story that offers something a little different, a story that’s full of heart with interesting characters and thought-provoking themes, delightful banter, and it’s a story you need to pick up! Heartfelt romance, emotion and so much more. We would’ve loved a little more together time with Cassie and Owen, however, the epilogue made our hearts soar …talk about swoon!

Releasing 13th August

Synopsis

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.

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