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Monday, April 30, 2007

After the Fire by Kathryn Shay

Detective Megan Hale comes to Hidden Cove, leaving behind painful memories of her policeman husband killed in the line of duty. But when she meets fireman Mitch Malvaso, Megan's heart is set ablaze-even if it knows the risks.

Near New York City, the Hidden Cove Fire Department responds to the dangerous Sinco fire. Three Malvaso siblings, who work at the same fire station, become trapped inside, but ultimately are rescued. Jenny insists that she, Mitch, the oldest, and Zach, the youngest, pledge to change their messed up personal lives as each one realizes how close to death they came.

Six months later, they're still on the job and have not yet made the changes they said they were going to.

Zach, who has been divorced from his wife for 2 years, vowed to win her back and prove that he's a reformed rake (apparently he cheated on her quite a bit while they were married) and try to be a better father, but not having much success with the former. Though he had made quite a bit of progress with the latter.

Jenny had vowed to have a child, via artificial insemination, so she finally works up the courage to ask her best friend since childhood, Grady O'Connor, if he'd be the donor. They've been friends since kindergarten and up to that point had no physical attraction between them. Jenny is afraid that she'll ruin their friendship with her request (they've both been scarred by previous relationships, though Grady seems more wounded than she), but Grady agrees. He suggests they do it the right way, though. At first, Jenny seems hesitant, not wanting to ruin their friendship, but eventually agrees.

Mitch had vowed to work things out with his shrew of a wife and become a better father to his two teenage children. Though he seemed to be making a genuine effort with his children, he hadn't been able to make any effort with his wife. When he meets Detective Megan Hale, and she proposes they start a camp for children of firefighters and police officers who were killed in the line of duty, he immediately agrees to help.

Megan is dealing with some losses of her own. Her husband had been killed in the line of duty several years before and her father had died in the line only a few months before she moved to Hidden Cove from the city.

Basically, the book was alright. I didn't like the fact that throughout the entire book Mitch was married while his feelings developed for the detective. The book is approximately 360 pages and until page 299 he was still sharing a bedroom with his wife. Though he didn't physically cheat on her, he definitely had an emotionaly affair with Megan. I couldn't seem to get past that.

Besides that, the story was kind of muddled, with too many POV's throughout the book. A lot of characters were introduced and there were several subplots with the Malvoso family (there are two other siblings not in the firefighter line of work), including issues with both Zach and Mitch's children. Apparently this is the first book of a trilogy, with Zach getting his story at a later date, so, in my opinion, a lot of the parts about him could have been shortened or cut out completely.

There was also a lot of technical information included, about the process of firefighting and the terminology they use. While I like to be informed, at times I felt like I was reading an instruction manual.

If my summary seems a bit muddle and confusing, it's because that's how I found the book to be. I have the other 2 on my shelf to be read, and I'm not sure I'll be able to read them.

Overall, I enjoyed the story of Jenny and Grady, but didn't really care for the book.

I give it a 1.25 out of 5.

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Blogger Lori said...

The others are definitely better! As I recall, there isn't any cheating in the other books either...

May 4, 2007 at 1:47 PM  
Blogger Rowena said...

Hmm, I've never got around to reading this one...maybe I should push this one up on my list. But cheating?


May 15, 2007 at 10:47 AM  
Blogger ReneeW said...

This one was my first by KS and ended up a DNF for me so I give you points for finishing it. I didn't like all those storylines and just didn't keep my interest. I'm hesitant about trying anything else by KS.

May 18, 2007 at 8:44 PM  
Anonymous Holly said...

I still have the others on my shelf...but I don't know. I think part of my problem is just her writing style.

Meh. You do what you want. lol

I'm hesitant as well. It's entirely possible the rest of her books are outstanding....but I'm not holding my breath.

May 21, 2007 at 7:36 AM  
Blogger barbara.bergin said...

Thanks for the review of After the Fire. I really enjoy a book where I learn a little about something technical or about history. I'll check it out.

Barbara Bergin
author of "Endings"

December 18, 2007 at 10:30 AM  
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