REVIEW: Things You Save in a Fire
THINGS YOU SAVE IN A FIRE by Katherine Center, narrated by Therese Plummer, is an entertaining way to spend 24 hours glued to a book. Funny and emotive, with forgiveness as a healing theme. Highly recommend.
I fell in love with author Katherine Center’s style when I stumbled upon HAPPINESS FOR BEGINNERS last year. After listening to a sample of that book narrated by Margarite Gavin, I easily used one of my Audible credits to download it and read it right away. So, when it was my turn to choose a novel for our book club, I had every intention of recommending HAPPINESS FOR BEGINNERS. But the library didn’t have enough copies for the eight to ten of us.
So, I thought, why not choose her latest book? Even though I hadn’t read it yet. It had been on my wish list, and I had every intention of ordering it on Audible sometime soon. On faith in this author’s talent, I blindly requested all the print and CD copies I could get, along with a digital and audio copy for myself on Libby, the handy library app I love.
Well, I couldn’t even wait for our book club meeting the next day. I listened to a few minutes of Therese Plummer’s excellent narration, while reading my digital copy, and I was hooked. By the end of the day, I had gobbled up all 320 pages!
Both narrators of these two books are superb. I have loads of audibles in my TBR and very few of them finished. I realize it takes just the right actor to narrate a novel to its fullest benefit, which both of these narrators do, but I can read Center’s books faster than the narration, which tells me that it’s the writing that draws me in the most.
In comparison, both books were excellent. I was afraid I wouldn’t enjoy this book as much as the first book, because the subject matter wasn’t as intriguing to me. And, HAPPINESS FOR BEGINNERS was one of the best audibles I listened to last year. Could THINGS YOU SAVE IN A FIRE compete with my memory of the first book? Yes – it did. Fabulously, and for completely different reasons.
By reading and listening to this book, something I tried for the first time, I realized that Katherine Center’s style is perfectly rendered for audio. Her books are quirky and fun – an actor’s dream and a reader’s joy.
In THINGS YOU SAVE IN A FIRE, the voice of Hernandez, Cassie’s co-worker drew me right in. His voice was sultry and convincing. Cassie was hilarious in her reaction to him. She cracked me up. I knew at that moment that I’d be thoroughly entertained and I was completely. The first three chapters set the stage and I couldn’t help myself – I had to give up life and hunker down for the ride. Even my husband enjoyed the parts he listened to with me, and he laughed.
For Cassie, the moment of receiving an award for valor went from bad to worse when a nightmare from her past is the person giving her the award. Then, her estranged mother requests her help on the other side of the country. When Cassie almost loses her job as a firefighter, she convinces her Chief to swap her with another station near Boston.
That’s when the real fun begins. Of course, these firemen have never worked with a female firefighter/EMT, ever. Her first day of work sets the pace and her attitude for her time there.
Cassie is an engaging character who built a huge wall around herself due to pain caused by others in her past. It all goes back to her 16th birthday – two events she’ll never forget, or forgive. The reader doesn’t know exactly what happened, even though we can imagine, but that really doesn’t matter. We’ll find out soon enough. Meanwhile, we follow Cassie as she tries to make a new home at this station while enduring time with the mother she doesn’t want to know.
I laughed out-loud a lot. The firemen were hilarious and I loved their interactions with Cassie. Especially the rookie. If you don’t know already, firefighters are known for their sense of humor and pranks. Cassie is the perfect target, especially when she’s hired the same day as a rookie she has to train.
Cassie is one tough cookie. If you love a strong heroine who tackles a system outside a female’s comfort zone with great imagination, you’ll love this book.
Katherine Center has quickly won a place on my keeper shelf. So much so, that I blindly recommended this book to my book club before I read it. I knew from my Goodreads’ friends’ reactions to this book that I’d love it. Which I did. I loved it so much that I listened to it several times and will probably end up buying the audible. That’s because HAPPINESS FOR BEGINNERS has become one of my comfort audibles that I listen to whenever I need a lift.
As for our book club, I gave them an assignment – tell me where you laughed out-loud. We had a good time discussing the moments we thought were funny. And, the word forgiveness came up as a recurring theme from everyone. The majority of us enjoyed the book very much. Of course, I had to play a little of the audible for them so they could hear the Boston accent. The accent may not be perfect, but it was close enough to give the audible some entertaining extra flavor.
THINGS YOU SAVE IN A FIRE by Katherine Center is a laugh-out-loud adventure through tragedy and forgiveness. If you love romantic comedy, grab the audio and be ready to laugh your way to happiness along with Cassie and her co-workers. If you prefer reading over listening, the book is excellent. I just think it’s a lot more fun to hear the characters’ voices, along with their expressions in this entertaining audio. Who knows, your significant other may enjoy listening to it with you.
Review by Dorine, courtesy of TheZestQuest.com. Audible, digital, and print copies were borrowed from a public library. Thanks in advance for following links and sharing this review on social media.
Things You Save in a Fire by Katherine Center, Narrated by Therese Plummer
Category: Women’s Fiction, Romantic Comedy
Publisher: Macmillan Audio; Unabridged edition (August 13, 2019)
Rated 5 out of 5, Recommended!