Review: Things You Save in a Fire by Katherine Center


Release date: August 13, 2019

Publisher: St. Martin’s

Genre: Contemporary Fiction


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. 


I became a fan of Center when I fell completely and totally in love with How to Walk Away, it easily made my top reads of the year list and is still a book I find myself recommending to people all of the time. Now that I’ve read my second book from the author I can say that I’m a firm fan and will be adding her to my short list of auto buy authors.

If I had to pick one single thing that truly makes a book a special read for me I would have to say that it’s great characterization. Sure, so many other elements are incredibly important to me, but if I don’t find the characters believable, I’m going to struggle. Cassie was so believable it hurt, right away she had me on her side, she’s a female firefighter for crying out loud, she had me just based on that alone. But there is so much more to her than the fact that she is a badass, she’s multifaceted on many levels and her story was a powerful and evocative one. Then, as an added bonus you get a character like the rookie to swoon over and I’m just done. I’m all in and then some, I’m a big ball of mushy emotions who is wholeheartedly invested.

I swear no other author combines incredibly emotional and heartfelt stories with razor sharp wit quite like Center does. There is something magical about this combination that is just perfection for me, I’ll be teary eyed one minute and before I can compose myself I’m laughing through my tears because of something funny one of her characters says or does. Once again, I loved every single page of this one, and just when I thought things couldn’t get any better, there was a beautiful epilogue that just put the cherry on top of the cake.

I can’t recommend this one highly enough, especially if you like emotional, yet hilarious reads that will pull at your heart strings one minute and have you crying like a baby the next. If you haven’t read How to Walk Away yet either go ahead and get that one as well, they’re both excellent!

Things You Save in a Fire in three words: Evocative, Heartfelt and Unforgettable

Overall rating: 5/5

Thanks to the publisher for my review copy.

6 thoughts on “Review: Things You Save in a Fire by Katherine Center

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