St. Martin's Publishing Group | August 2019 | 320 pgs
Source: Library 

The title may sound like a non-fiction but this is actually an uplifting and inspiring story that explores about family, forgiveness and love. 

Cassie Hanwell is one tough woman. Being the only female firefighter with the Austin Fire Department, she works extra hard not only she loves her job but also as her life focus ever since her mother left her and her father on her sixteenth birthday. That day changed her mindset about trusting people and while she's good in dealing with emergencies, she's never good in connecting with others although she has a great comradeship with her colleagues. She's on her path towards promotion until two things turned her world upside down. First, upon seeing the city councilman who's going to present her with a valor award and he was the guy who's hurt her badly in high school. Then, her estranged mother called and said she needs her to move to Massachusetts given her eye problems.

"Choosing to love -- despite all the ways that people let you down, and disappear, and break your heart. Knowing everything we know about how hard life is and choosing to love anyway . . . That's not weakness. That's courage." ~ Pg 59

Cassie is reluctant to forgive her mother given she'd left them years ago. On top of it, she didn't want to leave her current place but her career with the Austin Fire Department is gone (she refused to apologise to the councilman after what he'd done to her on stage). Through her superior's recommendation, she ends up at Lillian Fire Department in Massachusetts; a smaller station which pale in comparison in all aspects and worst of all, the chief doesn't really think highly of women firefighters but is willing to take her in because they're short-staffed. So Cassie ends up moving into her mother's house and start her new life. 

Cassie soon finds out that she's not the only newbie but there's a rookie who's joining Lillian FD, too. Being the only female and her capabilities in doubt, Cassie works extra hard to prove herself and along the drills and other works, she discovers that Owen Callaghan (who is often called the "rookie" more than his name) is nothing like his other subordinates. For starters, he treats her as an equal and even better, acknowledge her skills. Back at home, her relationship with her mother is lukewarm but as the days go, she soon finds out the real reason behind her mother's request. 

This book evoked so much emotions in me during my reading journey. I admired Cassie's spirit and I think she'd made all women proud for undertaking a male dominated job and excelled in it. Her relationship with Owen, as well as the moments with her mother are both bittersweet to read. There may be some scenes which are cheesy or clich√©, but to me how the book made me feel and reflect usually have me overlook them. I enjoyed this book a lot and would definitely check out the other books by this author.

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12 Responses
  1. jenclair Says:

    What a great quote you've included. I've seen several positive reviews of this one--glad you enjoyed it!

  2. Kay Says:

    I definitely want to try this one. The author lives in Houston, TX and was here a few weeks ago for an event. I was out of town and not able to attend. Hoping for next time. Her books have been very popular at the library. Plus part of the story is set in Austin - which means I have to read it. Ha!

  3. Iliana Says:

    I was a bit disappointed by the book of hers I read this summer but I would certainly give this one a chance! Like Kay said, as it's set in Austin, I have to read it too :)

  4. Melody Says:

    Jenclair - That's a great quote, isn't it? Yes, I've seen several position reviews of this book prior to my reading and I'm glad it delivers.

  5. Melody Says:

    Kay - It'd be interesting to attend her book talk, since I liked what she's writing and it's my first read! Hopefully you'll be able to attend should there be another event. Hope you'll enjoy this book as much as I did!

  6. Melody Says:

    Iliana - Yes, I think you and Kay will be interested in this book especially it's set in Austin. Hope you'll like this book! :)

  7. Lark Says:

    Oh! This one's on my TBR list. I am very glad to hear that you liked it. I probably won't get to reading this one this year, but I'll definitely put it on my must read list for next year. :D

  8. Melody Says:

    Lark - I hope you'll enjoy it and I'll be curious of your thoughts, Lark. :)

  9. the bookworm Says:

    Glad you enjoyed this one, I like that quote about choosing to love.

  10. Melody Says:

    Naida - It was a great read. Will definitely read more by this author.

  11. This is a new to me title, Melody, and I am so glad you've read it and can recommend it. It sounds wonderful. I am adding this to my wish list.

  12. Melody Says:

    Wendy - I'm new to this author and I like her writing style after reading this book. I'll be sure to check out the rest of her books.

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