Tag: forgiveness

Things You Save in a Fire Book Review

I have waited all year to be moved by a book. Katherine Center achieved that feat with her latest book Things You Save in a Fire. The novel has much to offer. First, an understanding of how tough women must be to excel in a male dominated industry. Furthermore, the strength needed to survive abandonment and the courage to keep going after a sexual assault. But most importantly, the importance of forgiveness.

This is the first book I have read by Center. If the others are even half as good, I am in for a treat. I plan to read them as well. This is a must for your TBR (To Be Read) list! The writing is surpassed only by the characterization. Truly a great book.

Non-Traditional Career

Cassie Hanwell is the heroine of the book. She is a twenty-six year old firefighter, top notch first responder and an outstanding medic to boot. Perfect on the job. Perfect for the job. Until she is caught off guard at an awards banquet. In a #MeToo moment, she loses it when groped while accepting her award for valor. Loses it in a big way. As in puts the offender in the hospital. Obviously there is far more to the story since the “victim” refuses to press charges.

Nevertheless, it is the end of Cassie’s meteoric rise in the Austin Fire Department. Coincidently, her estranged mother seizes that moment to plead for help. She has had eye surgery and needs her daughter’s help. Unwillingly, Cassie agrees to make the move. It is the lesser of two evils she is presented with.

On her way out the door, her veteran captain gives her a long list of dos and don’ts. Things she will need in the unfriendly atmosphere of a less progressive fire station. Things the captain experienced herself. Cassie takes the list to heart, for multiple reasons.

New Beginnings

Cassie gets off to a rocky start in her new surroundings. Her mom pushes for a relationship that Cassie isn’t ready for. Plus, her new workplace is full of pitfalls. Cassie is determined to prove herself. And she does again and again. But, the crew does not want anything to do with a female firefighter. With one exception. The Rookie. He shares the first day on the job with Cassie. Then he shares so much more.


The underlying theme of Things You Save in a Fire is one of forgiveness. Cassie needs to forgive both herself and others. This is a compelling part of the story. One cannot develop as a human without this basic component of life. Center does an outstanding job of demonstrating what, when, who and how to forgive. The other topics, non-traditional work roles, parent-child estrangement, assault and addiction are just the backdrop for the importance of forgiveness.

Book Cover

Katherine Center entertains with her novel Things You Save in a Fire. But she does so much more. She addresses the need for women in male-dominated fields. Furthermore, she addresses the biases toward those same women. She recognizes how women go overboard to prove themselves in those fields.

But she takes the story a step further. She explores old hurts and what it takes to heal. Then she shows the importance of forgiveness and the need to be forgiving in order to free oneself to live. And to love.

I absolutely loved this story. The characters touch your heart and so does the author’s message. I am sure Things You Save in a Fire will make my best read books of 2019 list. Find a copy soon.



The Noel Diary Book Review

Jacob Christian Churcher

One of the best things about reading books for the Friday book reviews is discovering writers new to me. Richard Paul Evans fits this description. The Noel Diary is his latest Christmas novel. Apparently, he is well-known for setting stories at Christmas time. He also manages to release those books in time to place under the tree.

The lead character in The Noel Diary is novelist J. Churcher. The J stands for Jacob. Actually his full name is Jacob Christian (JC) Churcher and thus you have the first of many layers in the story.

Churcher comes from a home broken in many ways. The breakdown occurs after a family tragedy. This background provides the basis for the theme of the book. Families unable to cope with the hardships life throws at them. Fortunately for Churcher, he found support from outside sources, hence his success.

The thrust of the story is about forgiveness and grace and reconciliation. After learning of the death of his estranged mother, Jacob returns to Salt Lake City to settle the estate and clean out the house he spent his first sixteen years in. An old neighbor, Elyse, reaches out to him and guides him in the direction of grace.

The Noel Diary

But the story is also a romance. Churcher’s character even explains the difference between romance and love stories. Jacob falls in love with Rachel, an adoptee looking for her birth mother. Her only clue was that her mother lived with the Churcher family prior to giving birth. They find a diary written by Noel while cleaning out the house.

The diary helps Jacob vaguely remember Noel. But he was only four when all the events took place. In order to find answer’s for Rachel, Jacob attempts to reconcile with his father.

Reconciliation can be difficult. However, the Christmas season is the perfect time for this. Forgiveness and grace are key ingredients in a successful reconciliation. Honesty with one’s own faults is also an important ingredient.

I concluded from looking at Richard Paul Evans’ website’ website that he is a prolific writer. My belief is his success stems from the ability to write entertaining stories while sharing the important keys of humanity. The Noel Diary is both a romance and a love story, but it is so much more. Evans uses many parallels and allegories in his writing. My interpretation of the story is one of love regardless of past mistakes. Forgiveness is the key to finding grace.Book Noel Diary with nativity as backdrop