The Fireman's Wife: A Novel

The Fireman's Wife: A Novel

4.8 6
by Jack Riggs
     
 

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It’s June 1970. As the low country of South Carolina burns in a seven-month drought, Cassie Johnson longs for escape: both from her husband, Peck, the town’s newly promoted fire chief, who seems more interested in saving everyone else’s life than in living his own, and from the low country marshes where Cassie has never quite felt at home. But as

Overview

It’s June 1970. As the low country of South Carolina burns in a seven-month drought, Cassie Johnson longs for escape: both from her husband, Peck, the town’s newly promoted fire chief, who seems more interested in saving everyone else’s life than in living his own, and from the low country marshes where Cassie has never quite felt at home. But as Peck and Cassie drift apart, their teenage daughter, Kelly, finds herself torn between her parents and her desperate need for normalcy. It will take a tumultuous journey back to the North Carolina mountains before Cassie can begin to understand the complicated love that resides, unrecognized, deep in her heart.

From a masterly voice in Southern fiction, The Fireman’s Wife is an emotionally bare and moving novel about one woman’s struggle to do what’s right–for her family, for her love, and for herself.


From the Trade Paperback edition.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly

The unhappy wife of a fireman in 1970 realizes too late that her independence comes at a high price in Riggs's often heavy-handed novel. Early pregnancy forced Cassie Johnson into a marriage and a life she wasn't sure she wanted. Her husband Peck's job as their small South Carolina town's fire chief prevents him from giving her the attention she craves. Cassie finds solace in the arms of another fireman, Clay Taylor, and leaves town with him, determined to start over, but when she realizes she's just repeating her mistakes, she flees to her mother in the mountains for some soul searching. Soon she realizes the unexpected and tragic consequences of her actions. Riggs's 1970s South bears little resemblance to the South of social turmoil, and he overuses tired metaphors of rain, drought and oppressive humidity. But despite Cassie's lack of complexity, Riggs captures her internal life well and gives her conflicts legitimacy and gravitas. (Jan.)

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From the Publisher
"Read The Fireman's Wife, a book so beautifully crafted and compelling you can't put it down, and see for yourself why Jack Riggs is a writer on his way to the top. The details are so vivid in this unforgettable book that you'll never look at the working lives of firemen, or their families, in the same way."
—Cassandra King, author of The Sunday Wife

“Jack Riggs’ The Fireman’s Wife is the kind of book that reminds you of the reason you love reading – a story wonderfully told, with memorable characters and tense and tender moments. Written in the first person voices of Cassie and Peck, it examines the fragility of a woman caught between her history and her uncertainty – a story that suggests a smattering of experiences we’ve all had in one fashion or another. Riggs is an accomplished story-teller and a splendid writer and The Fireman’s Wife is a book you will happily share with reader-friends.”
—Terry Kay, author of The Valley of Light

“Jack Riggs has written an honest, brave, riveting, and heartbreaking novel about relationships, loyalties, betrayals, and transcendence. The Fireman’s Wife is a great book, full of heart and, ultimately, hope. You will not want to put it down.
—Connie May Fowler, author of The Problem with Murmur Lee and Before Women had Wings

The Fireman’s Wife is a compelling portrait of an unraveling marriage. Jack Riggs' empathy for his characters, coupled with a refusal to judge them, gives the novel an integrity that makes this story all the more memorable.”
—Ron Rash, author of Serena

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780345513236
Publisher:
Random House Publishing Group
Publication date:
12/30/2008
Sold by:
Random House
Format:
NOOK Book
Pages:
352
Sales rank:
22,554
File size:
3 MB

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Fireman's Wife 4.8 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 6 reviews.
Serena43 More than 1 year ago
THE FIREMAN'S WIFE is a love story-a gritty, complicated, messy, intimate love story-the best kind there is. My favorite book I've read this year.
cargal16 More than 1 year ago
I love that this is based in South Carolina. I am a local so the description of places were all the more vivid. This book is very well written, it engrossed me into every detail of the characters lives. I am not one of the types to cry over a movie or book, however the climax really caught me off guard and tears were flowing. Excellent book!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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harstan More than 1 year ago
In June 1970 South Carolina low country is in its seventh month without rain. Drought or not Cassie Johnson is bored with being the wife of Walhalla fire chief Peck and even the mother of their fifteen year old daughter, all star pitcher Kelly; the reason she married responsible Peck. The drought just makes it more oppressive on her as her spouse is always putting out fires. Since the last rain, she and firefighter Clay Taylor have had an affair hotter than an out of control blaze; he even jokes that the rain will only come if they cool their relationship.

Finally having enough of her husband¿s too busy to see to her needs, Cassie and Clay run away together. However, a revelation strikes her that by fleeing with Taylor, she is repeating the same error that led to her marrying Peck. Cassie leaves Clay to go stay with her mom in the nearby mountains to look inside and determine what she wants, but fate waits for no one as she will soon learn.

THE FIREMAN¿S WIFE is a deep character study that looks inside to what motivates the title protagonist. The support cast is developed to enable readers to better understand why Cassie feels the way she does. The tale is clearly hers as she finds her heart as arid as the weather and her soul as oppressed as the humidity. Fans of strong family dramas (cannot say historical as key 1970 social elements like the civil rights and anti war movements are lacking) will enjoy Cassie¿s tale as she learns the grass is not greener on the other side especially during a drought and as the Moody Blues¿ song says: ¿Memories can never take you back, home, sweet home¿.

Harriet Klausner