Wednesday 15 May 2024

Book ~ "Things You Save in a Fire" (2019) Katherine Center

From Goodreads ~ 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?

Cassie's family broke up on her sixteenth birthday when her mother left to be with another man. Also on that birthday, a older boy did something bad to her. These two things hardened her and she swore off love. Ten years later, she is working as a firefighter in Texas and is considered one of the best. 

On the night she is getting an hero's award (yes, that's how good she is!), she does something that jeopardizes her career. She's given a choice to either resign or transfer to another fire station and work her way back. I don't know why she would throw away her career by not telling why she had reacted the way she had at the awards dinner. The #MeToo movement had already started by the time the book was written. If Cassie was as tough a firefighter as she was made out to be, she should have been jumping all over it.

Diana, her estranged mother, isn't well and asks Cassie to move back home to the Boston area for a year to take care of her while she gets better. Cassie doesn't have a choice and gets a job at a local fire station. Her captain in Texas, who is also female, warns her that the captain in Boston doesn't want her because she's a girl and gives her advice on how to mix in with her new colleagues. On her first day reporting to work, there is a rookie who has also been recently hired and it's apparently love at first sight for them, though they try to fight it.

I thought this story was bearable until the big fire ... then it became more farfetched and went downhill. Then a stalker and violence was introduced which made this story even more crazy. It's hard to believe that this story was written in 2019 (so is "present day") and that Cassie's Texas captain, for example, had to prep her on what to expect with her new captain who didn't believe in "lady firefighters. It would have been more believable if the story took place in 1959. This is not a book I would want a young woman to read ... I'd hate for her to think this is how women should act and how they are treated by men.

It is written in first person perspective in Cassie's voice. The ending wrapped up rather quickly and unrealistically ... all is forgiven by everyone (really?) and there's a happy ending. As a head's up, there is swearing and adult activity.

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