Review: Things You Save In A Fire by Katherine Center


Title: Things You Save In a Fire

Author: Katherine Center

Published: August 13th 2019, St Martins Press

Status: Read August 2019


My Thoughts:

I’d seen so much praise for Things You Save In a Fire by Katherine Center on various blogs well in advance of its publication date that I was eager to get my hands on a copy.

Cassie Hanwell is a firefighter in Austin, Texas who loves her job, and has worked hard to earn the respect of her crew. When a run in with a local councillor puts her career in jeopardy, Cassie reluctantly decides to move to small town Massachusetts, where she takes a position in a firehouse, and moves in with her estranged, ailing mother.

Things You Save In a Fire is a contemporary romance that also explores the themes of family, courage, forgiveness, and redemption. Center does an impressive job of balancing the romance and humour with the more serious elements of the story.

There is an emphasis on the complexities of relationships in Things You Save In a Fire, not only in the romance that develops between Cassie, and ‘rookie’ Owen, but also Cassie’s difficult relationship with her mother, and the relationships she needs to forge with her new colleagues in order to safely do her job.

I enjoyed the romance between Cassie and Owen, it’s inevitable from the moment they meet, but there are good reasons for Cassie to be wary of their attraction. Owen is perhaps a little too good to be true, but I was willing to embrace the fantasy.

Cassie’s resentment of her mother is tangled up with a traumatic incident she experienced on the same night her mother left the family, their relationship therefore is a complicated one. That her mother is ill adds another layer of strain to their interaction, and I liked the way the author navigated the issues between them.

Not unexpectedly, Cassie has to prove herself to her fellow firefighters who aren’t really sure that a woman is capable of the job. For the most part, the crew are welcoming if somewhat bemused, and it was very entertaining to see her repeatedly exceed their expectations, but it soon becomes clear that at least one of them deeply resents her presence.

Perhaps the most important relationship in Things You Save In a Fire is the one Cassie has with herself. She shut down emotionally at sixteen, fought to become hard, tough and strong, and struggles to relax the control she clings to. I appreciated the growth shown by her character as the story unfolded.

“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.”

Warm, witty, and casually subversive I really enjoyed Things You Save In a Fire, and ?I hope to read more of her work.


Available from St. Martins Press

Also available via Indiebound I via Booko I via Book Depository

9 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Lloyd Russell
    Aug 30, 2019 @ 23:20:26

    I’m a big fan and am definitely looking forward to reading this. Glad you liked it.

    Lloyd (408) 348-4849

    Liked by 1 person


  2. Lindsi
    Aug 30, 2019 @ 23:23:40

    This sounds interesting! I’ve seen the cover around the blogosphere, but this is the first time I actually looked to see what it was about. I don’t think I’ve ever read a book or heard a story about a female firefighter. I’m sure they exist, it’s just not something you see too often. You’ve piqued my interest!

    Lindsi @ Do You Dog-ear? 💬

    Liked by 1 person


  3. Kathryn
    Aug 31, 2019 @ 10:50:35

    I loved this one and I like your summing up of it very much.

    Liked by 1 person


  4. Claire Louisa
    Aug 31, 2019 @ 16:23:52

    I’ve never heard of this one, but I’ll put it on my list of books I’d be interested in reading.



  5. Mystica
    Aug 31, 2019 @ 23:49:13

    Seen this on several blogs recently. Thanks for the review.

    Liked by 1 person


  6. kozbisa
    Sep 01, 2019 @ 02:52:22

    I have a hit or miss relationship with women’s fiction, but I am loving what Center is doing. I started this book, and could not stop. The blend of humor and emotion was done so well, and oh! The tears! I was really happy with the way she explored all the different relationships, and I was all about the themes she incorporated, especially those of forgiveness.

    Liked by 1 person


  7. Helen Murdoch
    Sep 01, 2019 @ 07:21:38

    I enjoyed this one as I did her earlier book. The writing flows easily, the story is fun, and a little predictable romance works for me.

    Liked by 1 person


  8. Trackback: It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? #SundayPost #SundaySalon | book'd out
  9. Trackback: Review: What You Wish For by Katherine Center | book'd out

I want to know what you think! Your comments are appreciated.

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s