Category Archives: Things You Save in a Fire

Review: Things You Save in a Fire by Katherine Center

Title: Things You Save in a Fire by Katherine Center
Publisher: St. Martin’s Press
Genre: Contemporary, Women’s Fiction, Romance
Length: 316 pages
Book Rating: B+

Complimentary Review Copy Provided by Publisher Through NetGalley


From the New York Times bestselling author of How to Walk Away comes a stunning new novel about courage, 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 a total pro at other people’s tragedies. But when her estranged and ailing mother asks her to give up her whole life and move to Boston, Cassie suddenly has an emergency of her own.

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 infatuation-inspiring rookie, who doesn’t seem to mind having Cassie around. But she can’t think about that. Because love is girly, and it’s not her thing. And don’t forget the advice her old captain gave her: Never date firefighters. Cassie can feel her resolve slipping…and it means risking it all—the only job she’s ever loved, and the hero she’s worked like hell to become.

Katherine Center’s Things You Save in a Fire is a heartfelt and healing tour-de-force about the strength of vulnerability, the nourishing magic of forgiveness, and the life-changing power of defining courage, at last, for yourself.


Things You Save in a Fire by Katherine Center is a heartwarming novel of forgiveness, family and love.

Twenty-six year old Cassie Hanwell loves being a firefighter and she is well on her to the next step in her career. But a chance meeting with a person from her past completely upends her life. Salvation lies in a fire station in Massachusetts but the move comes with a catch. Cassie’s slightly estranged mother Diana has asked her to move in with her and help her as she navigates a health issue.  With plenty of resistance to letting down her emotional barriers, Cassie continues to avoid her Diana’s overtures. She is also struggling at work due to her new co-workers’ lack of enthusiasm about working with a woman.  Cassie is not at all thrilled to be continually paired with Owen Callaghan due to her shocking attraction to “The Rookie”.  Will Cassie be able to forgive her mother for abandoning her ten years earlier? Can she continue to resist completely opening her heart to both her mom and Owen?

Cassie is a hard worker who refuses to open herself to love. She holds everyone at arms’ length and she finds it impossible to accept help. Cassie is not a girly girl and she has no difficulty holding her own with her male coworkers. Going from a tight-knit station to one that considers her an outsider is more difficult than she imagined, but Cassie works hard to prove herself.  Cassie is holding onto a lot of emotional pain but cracks begin to appear in her armor when she finally begins to deal with her hurt. But will she let down her guard enough to let Owen into her heart?

Owen is a lovable sweetheart who is always smiling and trying to help everyone around him.  He is from a long line of firefighters so he ignores the fact that some aspects of the job bother him. Owen readily admits being a firefighter is not his dream career but family expectations are impossible for him to resist. Being thrown together with Cassie is not exactly a hardship and after she does him a favor,  will their relationship deepen into something more?

With plenty of laugh out loud humor, Things You Save in a Fire is a poignant and thought-provoking novel that is quite captivating. Cassie is an absolutely delightful young woman and watching her overcome her pain is incredibly gratifying.  Owen is a charming young man who has unexpected depth and substance.  The storyline is well-written and engaging and the various issues are realistically depicted.  Katherine Center brings this  enchanting novel to a heartfelt conclusion. The epilogue is wonderful and a little bittersweet. Readers are sure to laugh and cry as they join Cassie on her incredible journey of healing and love.

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Filed under Contemporary, Katherine Center, Rated B+, Review, Romance, St Martin's Press, Things You Save in a Fire, Women's Fiction