Rating 3 out of 5
TW: Cancer in Spouse and Caregiver Role
Andy is passionately in love with his wife Katie. He also loves being a firefighter, so when he is diagnosed with cancer his whole world is turned upside down. Everything he thought was certain is now unknown. In an attempt to protect Katie, Andy hides his diagnosis. However, Katie's fears and his increasing pain and moodiness only succeed in fueling a growing divide between them. The fire station and the brotherhood with his other firemen are Andy's refuge.
However, even this is increasingly put in jeopardy as the hostility between him and the station officer, Mike Bentley, grows. Andy becomes increasingly determined not to reveal his illness and his shift crew rallies behind him; that is until events take a downward spiral. Will courage, duty and love be enough to save Andy? If the worst should happen will his love for his wife or his love for the station be his greatest legacy?
What is there to say about this book: I have to admit that starting out I was not a fan of Andy as he appeared very juvenile and selfish in his actions. The major redeeming quality I found in him was dedication he had to Katie, even if his actions were sometimes misguided. Katie proves to be a strong and amazing support system throughout the book. However, while Katie and Andy's love and her role as a caretaker are important parts of the story they aren't the whole story.
No this is a story about brotherhood and the intense bond that develops between firefighters. The author highlights this fierce bond throughout the novel and especially when Andy gets sick. The most intriguing part of this book was the realization that it is the job which likely caused Andy's cancer. The book highlights this in a number of ways and shows Andy encouraging his brothers to be proactive with their health.
For me the best parts of the book, the parts that felt most real, took place when the realities and impacts of Andy's cancer were discussed. The author shows the stresses and burdens for Andy, Katie and those in their inner circle. It provides a unique look at the suffering and pain experienced by all. It highlights the lengths one will go to protect the ones they love.