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I received an advance reader edition of Katherine Center’s upcoming release The Things You Save in a Fire from NetGalley.

 

I’m happy to write that this book is the second Katherine Center book I’ve read this year (the advance copy of this year’s How to Walk Away my favorite read this year), and this has lived up to my anticipation. The Things You Save in a Fire follows 26-year-old Cassie as she moves from Austin to a city outside of Boston to reunite with the mother her left her ten years prior. Cassie transitions into a life where she works with a new firefighter crew that vastly differs from her Austin crew and where she has closer contact with her now sick mother.

As a teenager, Cassie learned how to close herself off to protect herself emotionally, and she continues to grapple with those effects as a young adult. She exhibits physical, mental and emotional strength as she lands her spot as the most highly valued crew member. Despite her previous captain’s advice to not show emotions as well as to not develop further relationships with another crew member, Cassie finds herself facing new emotional territory as she works with the rookie, whose status makes his nickname Rookie. This gentleman makes a perfect romantic lead, one admired even by the rest of the crew. While he may seem almost too good to be true, he makes a likeable character worthy of interest; I appreciate seeing a nice, respectful guy receive the affection of the lady. On that note, some descriptions about him or the team dynamics at the fire station get borderline cliché at times. However, the overall story hits a sweet note that has some depth to it.

Though mostly on the sweet side, this story also dives into themes like forgiveness. Cassie and her mom make a good example of how to ease into trust and how seeking reconciliation impacts the possibility of a genuine connection. Through her experiences, Cassie learns how to deal with her past and move on more open to relationships. The story falls short of giving that a full exploration since it ends at the end of the bliss of the first step of healing, an important one but only the beginning. Forgiveness sought and given gets multiple perspectives here, showing each one’s importance. This point serves as a good reminder to all readers.

I have enjoyed How to Walk Away a little more than The Things You Save in a Fire, but both have sealed Katherine Center as an author whose new releases I follow and seek. I appreciate how she’s written characters in my age group and shown positive messages, surprisingly an accomplishment I haven’t seen often. Now I would like to check out her back catalogue.

 

Thank you so much NetGalley for giving me an opportunity to read this book early!