The Official Description: Firefighter Jason Merone was severely burned and injured when the building he and his best friend were in collapsed as they were rescuing a young child. Depressed and nearly inconsolable, it’s not until his home care nurse, Zoe Calder, spots the telltale signs of severe depression and confronts him that Jason finds the will to live.
A few weeks later, Zoe is sexually assaulted by a man she meets through a dating app, and when he’s caught and her transgender identity is revealed, Jason’s transphobic mother makes sure she loses her job.
Jason and Zoe stay in touch, as they’ve built a close friendship, but when Zoe’s home is torched, she runs for her life, leaving Jason feeling bereft from the loss of what he knows could be a lasting relationship. Jason learns that Zoe’s troubles aren’t over, and he must work to identify who’s behind it all in time to save her.
Just the facts: M/F romance, hurt/comfort, Transgender character, own voices!
A firefighter & his nurse might just need to save each other. – Kinzie Things
My thoughts bit: Wow! There’s sure a lot going on in this book and I’m pleased to say that Jessi Noelle handles it all well.
Let’s see… very early on in the novel, Firefighter Jason Merone is injured badly while at a fire. He’s trying to save a child with one of his colleagues when his hose drops pressure and he makes a mistake that has terrible results. Jason loses his friend and is badly burned.
Jason’s struggle is heartbreaking to read. It isn’t so much the injuries to his body as they scar on his soul. He is bearing the weight of great guilt, struggling to understand why he’s alive and his friend is dead. He’s fighting depression as his body fights to heal. The descriptions of Jason’s injuries, the treatment and the way his mind spiraled into depression was all really difficult to read. It was difficult to read because Jessi Noelle wrote it so authentically.
Jason’s struggle is just the beginning of the heaviness in this novel. When Jason’s new nurse arrives, Zoe Calder enters the story. Zoe is great at her job but she’s had her own struggles to deal with. She’s estranged from her family and lonely in spite of her roommate and best friend. It’s really as though these two souls were meant for each other. Each of them has been through their own challenges and I felt, from the beginning, as though they were truly meant to save one another.
When Jason’s colleague shows up and expresses how responsible he feels for the death of their friend and for Jason’s injuries… Jason realizes that things have taken a desperate turn. Jason lets Zoe know that his friend is in trouble… and thinking of making a permanent exit. This is when the connection between Jason and Zoe really begins to solidify.
As usual, I find myself not wanting to give away too many of the things that are revealed in this story. Early on something terrible happens to Zoe… the kind of thing that can really make your retreat from the world and just… give up. Together, Zoe and Jason find themselves working to help right things in Zoe’s life.
This is an unusual “romance” in that there’s a lot of trauma and heaviness in it. But the relationship between Jason and Zoe is wonderful. Yes, they have things to overcome, yes, there are moments when it feels like they won’t make it… but isn’t that life?
Thanks, Jessi! This book is a 4 from me – with a warning that the content may be very difficult for some people to read. Oh! and I read somewhere that Jessi was once a firefighter which explains how detailed and authentic the firefighting scenes were.
Things You May Want To Know: Please be aware, I’m by no means an expert on what may or may not have the potential to disturb people. I simply list things that I think a reader might want to be aware of. In this book: (SPOILERS) Vivid descriptions of burn injuries, medical amputation, people caught in fire, violent sexual assault, death of a firefighter, the funeral of a firefighter, suicidal ideation, police/politician corruption, trans hate speech, transphobia.
Readalikes: Other stories that are similar or give the same feel.
- Tea (A Cup of John #1) by Matthew J. Metzger
- Frankissstein by Jeanette Winterson
- Annabel by Kathleen Winter
I received an ARC of Through The Inferno by Jessi Noelle from NineStar Press via NetGalley in exchange for an unbiased review.