Cassie Hanwell was living her best life as a firefighter in Austin, Texas. She is not only the most skilled of her gender but at the top of her field amongst her entire team. Then she attends an awards ceremony in her honor and the person who unexpectedly replaces the mayor to hand her the plaque shifts her universe. You’ll have to read the book to find out what happens next. But, Cassie ends up in Rockport, Massachusetts to help care for her estranged mother who is recovering from glaucoma surgery. Cassie goes to work for the Lilian Fire Department, a unit significantly different in every way from the more enlightened city of Austin.
While this is classified as a romance, and in a sense it is, to me it was more the coming of age of a woman whose life was significantly altered on her sixteenth birthday (she’s now 25-years old) when her mother left the family. Every choice she makes going forward, both personally and professionally, was impacted by the events of that day. It was a fascinating story as I had to consider that Cassie’s behavior was more that of a 16-year old when it came to relationships as her growth was limited by her past. While she was brilliant on the job, she was sort of a mess with her lack of insights around those close to her, including friends, family and colleagues. The move to Massachusetts was pivotal as it removed her from her controlled environment and she is now operating without the proverbial net.
I loved this story and am thrilled that I chose to listen to it as the narrator so aptly got Cassie and how to deliver this story. I found it hard to step away and enjoyed all aspects. If I have any criticism it’s the under developed evolution of Cassie’s relationship with her mother. Yes, it definitely evolves but was underwhelmed by the focus on the romantic elements. It was still a really good story despite that imbalance and I really, really liked Cassie, flaws and all. It was especially satisfying to see her 16-year old self catch up with the adult. This was my first book by the author and now I want to explore her backlist.
- Release Date: August 13, 2019
- Narrator: Thèrése Plummer
- Audio Length: 9 hours, 36 minutes
- Publisher: Macmillan Audio