Book Review | Amongst the Flames

Amongst the Flames
T.K. Chapin

Publisher:  Branch Publishing
Genre:  Christian Fiction, Romance
Released:  August 16, 2015

{Goodreads}
“A burning building doesn’t scare me at all compared to the thought of losing you.” 

Firefighter Cole Taylor is the man everyone looks up to at Firehouse 9 in downtown Spokane. He’s been at the department for ten years and has no fear when it comes to dangerous situations. 

Megan Taylor, Cole’s wife, is a stay-at-home mother of their two boys. She was everything Cole ever wanted in a woman and the perfect wife any man could ask for until one day when she decides to leave Cole. 

Cole has fought hundreds of fires in his lifetime, but he had never tasted fear until he came to fighting a fire in his own home. Amongst The Flamesis a Christian firefighter romance that tackles real-life situations and problems that exist in Christian marriages today. It brings with it passion, love and spiritual depth that will leave you feeling inspired. ThisContemporary Christian Romance novel is one book that you’ll want to read over and over again. 

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I was provided a copy of this novel by the author, in exchange for my honest review.
WARNING: Possible Spoilers

{The Basics}
It's not often one gets to read a story of real life without too much of the inappropriate language and other unnecessary content.  And T.K. Chapin succeeded in sharing the trials, and joys, in the real world.

In Amongst the Flames, we follow the life of Cole, a well-known firefighter hero, who seems to have life figured out and is seemingly content with how it is.  He loves his job and his family.  But it isn't until his wife,Megan, decides to take an unexpected trip to visit her sister--with their two sons--that he realizes he's taken everything for granted and neglected the family he's been given.  He's thrown among an entirely different set of flames than what he's used to fighting and he finds it far worse than those that burn.

{Positives}
Once Cole is given the wake-up call that his life and marriage isn't what it should be, he actively seeks to change it.  

Eventually, he and his wife realize that they can't make this marriage work without God in it first.
Cole's good friend, Micah, serves as a good, godly example.  He uses his own experience to help Cole.  "Don't get discouraged, Cole.  The Christian walk is a lifelong journey and every day is new. . ." 

Cole comes to see just how much he needs his wife and boys and actively seeks to win them back.  At one time, when putting his sons to bed, and after giving them baths himself (to give his wife a much-needed break, though she wasn't being too kind in the first place), he reads to them and just before leaving the room, one of his sons call out for a hug with the other asking for one shortly after.  He complies, of   It was so sweet!

{Negatives}
Cole and Megan argue quite a bit.  It's obvious at times their marriage has gone cold, and Cole is late in finding out.  Megan and her father are very secretive regarding a certain issue.  And he and Cole have a rocky relationship at best--obvious dislike of each other.

An older man "accosts" Cole and his fellow firefighters as they are grocery shopping, saying something like, "So this is where all my tax dollars are going?"

Poker games are a fun treat for Cole and his buddies.  They do gamble, but send the profit to a local charity.  Cole cares more for his job than his family, and neglects his wife and sons.  At one point, Megan says, "You did nothing, you do nothing.  That's the entire problem, Cole!"  Without his consent or agreement of any kind, she leaves to go visit her sister, taking their sons with her.  [SPOILER] Cole soon realizes, via his parents-in-law, that she left him.  He becomes depressed after her departure and he's left home alone on leave from work, due to an injury.  His house becomes a mess and it takes a visit from Micah to bring him back around.  

Megan avoids discussing their problems and outright lied to both her parents and Cole.  She's very moody and swings from one feeling to the next.  

We learn later, that Megan and her sister went bar-hopping till 3am one night.  And Megan was seen bringing a guy to her bedroom. . . Megan's sister, Amanda, is very selfish and bitter on account of her own failing marriage and divorce.  She invites a guy to a gathering on behalf of Megan and it's obvious her dislike of Cole.  She doesn't want Megan to leave Seattle.

{Spiritual Content}
A passage in James 1 is quoted, as well as Ephesians 2:4-5.  Cole eventually recommits his life back to Christ and delves deep into the Scriptures, praying that God will give him another chance with Megan and his boys.

{Violence}
He's a firefighter, so this story deals with house/apartment fires and lives at risk.  In one instance, Cole rescues a little girl, but is seriously injured in the arm and nearly left to bleed out in the middle of a burning apartment ([SPOILER] One of his buddies comes back to get him!)

A man dies in a fire, saving a 12-year-old girl, when a large beam collapses on him.

{Language, Alcohol & Drugs}
One "dang," one "heck."  A use of "friggin'." 

Man smokes a cigar.  The fellows go to a golf club bar, but only order soda and orange juice. 

{Love-y-ness}
Some husband-wife flirting and kissing.  Cole and Megan eventually come to realize how much they truly love each other and are willing to do whatever is necessary to make their marriage work.  

{Conclusion}
Overall, a good story, a good lesson.  It features the day-to-day struggles that husbands, wives, and parents face every day.  No fantasy ever after.  Life is work, but you can always choose to have joy.  And if the couple keeps Christ first and foremost in their marriage and family, anything is possible and love abides all the more.

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Recommended ages:  18+
My rating:

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