Things You Save in a Fire by Katherine Center

Things You Save in a Fire by Katherine Center

Pub. date:  August 13, 2019 – St. Martin’s Press

Book courtesy of the publisher and NetGalley

Description:  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 a total pro at other people’s tragedies. But when her estranged and ailing mother asks her to give up her whole life and move to Boston, Cassie suddenly has an emergency of her own.

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 infatuation-inspiring rookie, who doesn’t seem to mind having Cassie around. But she can’t think about that. Because love is girly, and it’s not her thing. And don’t forget the advice her old captain gave her: Never date firefighters. Cassie can feel her resolve slipping…and it means risking it all—the only job she’s ever loved, and the hero she’s worked like hell to become. (publisher)

My take: On the night Cassie is to receive a top honor at her firefighter banquet life throws her a curveball and changes her career path.

Things You Save in a Fire is about forgiveness. As Cassie’s perspective evolved about events that happened ten years earlier, it was easy to hope that some well-deserved happiness would come her way. But first she would need to learn to forgive.

Katherine Center succeeded in making me feel the frustration of being new and female in a formerly all male firehouse and she had me flying through the pages of the breathtaking firefighter scene near the end of the novel.

A quick and enjoyable read which is exactly what I’ve come to expect from Center.


 

How To Walk Away by Katherine Center

Description:

Margaret Jacobsen has a bright future ahead of her: a fiancé she adores, her dream job, and the promise of a picture-perfect life just around the corner. Then, suddenly, on what should have been one of the happiest days of her life, everything she worked for is taken away in one tumultuous moment.

In the hospital and forced to face the possibility that nothing will ever be the same again, Margaret must figure out how to move forward on her own terms while facing long-held family secrets, devastating heartbreak, and the idea that love might find her in the last place she would ever expect. (publisher)

My take:  I’ve enjoyed all of Katherine Center’s novels and her newest, How To Walk Away, was no exception. The story is about a young woman dealing with life after a plane crash in which the pilot, her fiancé, walked away without a scratch and she was left unable to walk. It’s about learning to deal with a new normal, learning to look for hope and joy in places you wouldn’t have expected to find them. I loved all of the characters and how Center brought them through their challenges. Recommended to fans of novels about families who aren’t as perfect as they might seem to the rest of the world. I love those novels.


Advance praise for HOW TO WALK AWAY:

“A heartbreak of a novel that celebrates resilience and strength.” —Jill Santopolo, bestselling author of The Light We Lost

If you just read one book this year, read How to Walk Away.” —Nina George, New York Times bestselling author of The Little Paris Bookshop

“Warm, witty, and wonderfully observed.” —Emily GiffinNew York Times bestselling author of First Comes Love

“Sympathetic and refreshing!” —Elinor Lipman, bestselling author of The Family Man

“I can’t think of a blurb good enough for this novel…poignant, funny, heartbreaking.” —Jenny Lawson, bestselling author of Furiously Happy


Pub. date:  May 15, 2018

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The Lost Husband by Katherine Center

the lost husband

  • Title:  The Lost Husband
  • Author:  Katherine Center
  • Genre:  Contemporary Fiction
  • Published:  May 2013 – Ballantine Books
  • Source:  Publisher via Edelweiss

Synopsis (publisher):  After the sudden loss of her husband in a car crash, Libby Moran falls on hard times – so hard, in fact, that she’s forced to move in with her hyper-critical mother. There, sleeping on the pull-out sofa so her two children can share the guest room, she can’t stop longing for the life she had. So when a letter arrives from Libby’s estranged aunt offering her a job and a place to live on her goat farm, Libby jumps at the opportunity. But starting over is never easy. With an aunt who is nothing like she imagined, a shaggy farm manager with a tragic past, a psychic at the feed store who claims to be able to contact the dead, and a bully at her daughter’s school, country life isn’t at all what Libby expected. But it also offers her what no other place can: A chance to define the good life for herself. A chance to piece together the mysteries of her own past. A chance, even, at love. And, finally, a chance to bring herself, and her family, back to life.

My take:  I love Katherine Center’s novels. They are wonderfully relatable, funny and heartstring tuggers. Her latest, The Lost Husband, is no exception. When it comes down to it, Libby is every woman. Like I said, relatable. Life hasn’t turned out the way she expected yet, despite that fact, she keeps trying her darnedest to keep her family moving forward.

The offer to move to her aunt’s goat farm comes at the right time. She knows she can’t keep living with her domineering mother if she has any hope of a life. A fresh start in new surroundings is just what she and her two young children need. And a new life is exactly what they get.

From her eccentric and loving aunt, to the nice yet mysterious farm manager, to the interesting young woman at the feed store, Libby’s new life is populated with strange but caring people. And they’re all doing their best to move forward as well.

Center is a gifted storyteller and I loved this one. It’s a story of hope and never giving up – trying your hardest even in the darkest moments. Because when all is said and done – it’s worth it. Loved it. Highly recommended.

Get Lucky by Katherine Center


Get Lucky by Katherine Center

Sarah Harper not so accidentally sends a risqué email to her entire company and gets shown the door. She winds up in a last row seat next to an old boyfriend on a plane bound for Houston, her hometown. She stays with her sister Mackie who is also her best friend. Mackie and her husband Clive have tried to have children for years but pregnancy has always ended in miscarriage. Sarah makes an offer that is second only to donating an organ – she offers to be a surrogate. It’s the first part of her plan to make a difference in life, to do more than create successful ad campaigns to sell bras.

Coming home to Houston also presents Sarah with the opportunity to work through a few things from her past: the death of her mother when she was only twelve; the horrible way she broke up with the old boyfriend. She also faces the situation of her father being engaged to Dixie who is completely different from her mother.

As in Everyone Is Beautiful, Katherine Center writes believable characters. Sarah and Mackie reminded me of my relationship with my sisters. We can love them or be mad at them but don’t anyone else say a bad word about them! They would do anything for each other. I really enjoyed Sarah’s perspective as she dealt with her post New York life – how she dealt (or didn’t deal) with pregnancy, being jobless, and being relationship-less. I also loved Dixie. There is a scene involving Dixie and Sarah at a self-defense class that had me laughing out loud. But Dixie becomes much more than a wacky step-mother and is more a person who can shine a light on what is important in life.

I’m not sure if Get Lucky would be considered Women’s Fiction or Chick Lit but I do know if you’re looking for a thoughtful and enjoyable novel about a young woman seeking a happier, more meaningful life, you should read Get Lucky.

Review copy from Ballantine Books via LibraryThing Early Reviewers

Everyone is Beautiful by Katherine Center

Cover Image

From the book jacket:
Lanie Coates’s life is spinning out of control. She’s piled everything she owns into a U-Haul and driven with her husband, Peter, and their three little boys from their cozy Texas home to a multiflight walkup in the Northeast. She’s left behind family, friends, and a comfortable life–all so her husband can realize his dream of becoming a professional musician. But somewhere in the eye of her personal hurricane, it hits Lanie that she once had dreams too. If only she could remember what they were.

These days, Lanie always seems to rank herself dead last–and when another mom accidentally criticizes her appearance, it’s the final straw. Fifteen years, three babies, and more pounds than she’s willing to count since the day she said “I do,” Lanie longs desperately to feel like her old self again. It’s time to rise up, fish her moxie out of the diaper pail, and find the woman she was before motherhood capsized her entire existence.


New in Boston, Lanie took her three young children to a park while her husband unpacked the U-Haul. Unfortunately, she met a person at the park who asked her when she was due – this while Lanie was holding her not-yet-one-year-old baby. Fortunately, that was the last time she spoke to that woman. She was still reeling from the rude question when she heard her name called out. An acquaintance from high school in Texas had recognized her. That was the start of a good friendship. Lanie and Amanda did what good friends do – they were there for each other. And they would need each other in the weeks and months ahead.

This is just a small part of Everyone is Beautiful. Center’s writing is clear and true (and quite funny). I identified with so much of what she wrote into the story. I would guess most women – daughters or mothers – will see some part of themselves in this book. I enjoyed it and look forward to reading more books by Katherine Center.

You can read another review at S. Krishna’s Books. There’s a giveaway of the book!