This has to be one of the best books I have ever read. Penned by Katherine Center, Things You Save in a Fire is due out August 13, 2019 from St. Martin’s Press. I read an advanced readers’ copy (ARC) that the editor promised would be a breath of fresh air. It most definitely is that.
This is a story of the struggles women still face in the workplace, especially by older white men. It’s a story of complex family issues where things are not always as they appear. It’s a story of making peace with a painful past. It’s a story of a young man following in his father’s footsteps instead of taking the career track he prefers. It’s also a story of surgical patients becoming addicted to opioids, and how it affects not only the patient, but those around them – both family and co-workers.
Cassie Hanwell is a firefighter par excellence, and has just won an award for valor in her department in Austin, Texas. Why would she be angry with the award presenter, Heath Thompson? Clearly there is some history between them.
The fire chief, also a woman, tells her she is up for a promotion, but in order to be promoted, she must make an apology to Mr. Thompson. If she does not, she is fired. The department is concerned that he will press charges. Cassie is certain he will not, which tells us the history between them is pretty bad.
Cassie’s mother, who abandoned her on her 16thbirthday, begs Cassie to come live with her for a year. She has health problems and needs help. Cassie finally relents, and moves to Rockport, Massachusetts, and takes a job in a good-old-boy fire department in a neighboring town. The crews at this FD still haze newbies and rookies, and their hazing can be dangerous. After a near-tragedy, Cassie’s life and that of others blossoms. Healing takes place in more ways than one, and Cassie learns how to forgive.
I learned so much about fires and the lives of firefighters and paramedics while reading this book. Normally, while reading, I highlight errors. I did a little of that, but mostly I highlighted things that really spoke to me, and things I want to reflect on from time to time. Trust me: you will love Things You Save in a Fire, too.
What Makes This Book Reviewer Grumpy?
Repeated split-infinitives, using “bring” in place of “take” and “come” in place of “go”, misplacing the word “only” within sentences, and using “showed” in place of “shown”.