Thursday, November 30, 2017

Where There's Smoke by Susan May Warren

Where There's Smoke by Susan May Warren

I read this book during a particularly smoky season this past summer. Our region was covered in wildfire smoke. We couldn’t open the windows or take walks outside. The sky was a hazy brown and we prayed for relief. (for everyone involved) Maybe not the most ideal time to read a novella like this. 😉

This is book one in the Montana Fire series.

Let’s begin with the summary:

She’s a smokejumper afraid of fire…

Kate Burns is a legendary smoke jumper, known for her courage and willingness to risk everything to get the job done. Only she has a secret, one she won’t admit to anyone.

He can’t forget the love they once shared…

Supervisor Jed Ransom commands the Jude County Smoke Jumpers with a reputation as a calm, level-headed leader. Kate is the only one who’s ever gotten under his skin.

They must face the flames together…

A raging wildfire in the mountains of Montana brings Kate and Jed together to train up a new team of jumpers. Suddenly, they must face the past they’ve been running from and the secrets that keep them apart. When an arsonist goes after their team, Kate and Jed must face their deepest fears—and learn to rely on each other as they fight a blaze that could destroy them all.

In this first book of the Montana Fire: Summer of Fire trilogy, Kate and Jed are about to discover that where there’s smoke, there just might be a chance to start again.

And now, my review:

I enjoy Susan’s writing. In this series, it’s fitting she uses a lot of fire metaphors. (I used a lot of water/ocean metaphors in my beach-side romances.) I liked that part. She also does a great job with male POV. Her male characters are believable, strong, and imperfect.

It’s enjoyable to see Uncle Rafe from the Taming Rafe novel of years ago as a returning character. 

In the beginning of the hero’s first scene, I was a little lost. Didn’t realize it was a debriefing. There is a lot of romantic steam in this novel. I liked the spiritual nuggets here and there.

Kate’s being a fire-hating smokejumper was a great paradox. She’s very strong, taking risks that were sometimes not quite believable. Jed is scared for her, but he's also not God, and therefore can't protect her from everything.

You’ll find a lot of suspenseful moments here, especially if fire unnerves you. The team faces impossible circumstances to carry out their work. This kept me flipping screens (turning pages). I like how they used drone technology in their quests—an advantage of modern-day firefighting. She keeps you holding your breath, wondering if the situation will work out and your favorite characters will be okay.

Susan includes touching, human moments that I tend to highlight on my Kindle as I read. These are golden, as are her character growth arcs.

Tons of research is evident in this story. Great job!

Highly recommended.

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