The Fireman’s Wife

published by Hyperion Books in 2006

Susan Farren didn’t plan on marrying a fireman. Having herself spent several years as a paramedic, she knew too well the dangers of the emergency profession. But as fate would have it, she met Dan–and everything changed. Suddenly she was married to a man who had wanted to be a fireman ever since he was a child, and she found herself faced with the sacrifices and struggles that accompany this challenging career. Being a fireman’s wife meant relocating her family, living without her husband for days at a time, and wondering every time she heard a siren if he would make it home safely. Ultimately, it also meant receiving the phone call every fireman’s wife fears may come: the news that her husband had been in an accident.Susan speaks on behalf of thousands of firemen’s wives nationwide–the women who hold down the fort while their husbands are on the job. Their sacrifice is our gain, and for the first time, this book tells their story.

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Farren shares with readers the pride, fear and resentment that make up her “abnormal” life next to her husband, Dan, engaged full-time in the Petaluma, Calif., fire department, 50 miles north of San Francisco. Unlike his Irish ancestors, on whom the dangerous, low-ladder jobs of policeman and fireman fell by default, Dan has craved the daily danger and heroism of fire fighting since childhood. Farren recounts Dan’s initial acceptance as a recruit after a grueling series of trials and his eventual assimilation into a fiercely loyal brotherhood that would see him through the births of his five children and a devastating accident that nearly ended his active career. Farren ably takes readers through the stress of calls on her husband, ending either in a valiant “save” by the force or a depressing loss of life; she recalls the galvanizing effects of 9/11 in bringing the community of firefighters together. Moreover, she writes of her own career transition, from paramedic to full-time mom and “shivering ball of nerves” whose status as a fireman’s wife did not exempt her from distractedly courting disaster or calling 911 when she heard a noise in the house. Although short on fire-fighting history and containing awkward shifts in POV to narrate the action, Farren’s memoir proves an elucidating journey. (Mar.)

By TXFirewifeon March 30, 2015
Format: Hardcover|Verified Purchase
Did not want to put the book down. I am not a reader but I read this book in 2 days.

Excellent read!
By GA fireman’s wifeon September 14, 2011
Format: Hardcover|Verified Purchase
I ordered this book and once I received it I read it all in two days. My husband is a firefigther and to have the opportunity to read how another firefighter’s wife has the same fears and concerns as I do is quite heartwarming. I recommend this book to any woman whose husband is a firefighter especially if you are newly married to your fireman. I laughed, cried, and felt a connection to the author. It truley hit home and a described the fire service as it really is. I consider it to be an honor to be married to a fireman and it takes one hell of a woman to be a fireman’s wife.


Coming in 2018

First Chapter:

“Fire comes. It doesn’t enter like a gentleman asking for permission to irrevocably alter your life, it kicks down the door with a list of demands clenched in its fist, and forces change. Whether the damage is emotional, physical or spiritual, it will come. Taking with it hopes, dreams, plans, belongings or beliefs, purifying and refining all that previously sat contentedly unchanged. It will not lounge around idly waiting for someone to be ready, it does not need a reason to become what it is. Conceived through source, heat and oxygen, it is birthed and instantaneously alive and hungry, snatching anything or anyone in its path. Anyone who has stood by, helplessly watching every shred of what they once thought was theirs devoured by this indiscriminate threat will tell you that fire is no respecter of wealth, position, gender or religious affiliation.

Fire can engulf a dry Christmas tree and rip through the contents of a home faster than you can get a cup of coffee at Starbucks, taking with it precious articles, heirlooms and a lifetime of memories.

Flame alone is not the only thief. Its companions of heat and smoke are just as destructive as the fire itself, leaving the few items unscathed by fire thoroughly destroyed. Water, the very thing we pray for in the midst of the crisis, does its own undeniable damage as it saturates everything in and around its path, leaving some to wonder if the cure was worth the cost. Destruction, devastation and desolation enter hand in hand with the cold promise of new beginnings.

Thoughts of restoration and regeneration seem like nothing more than a sharp slap in the face as one sits blinded by tears sifting through charred bits of rubble, in search of some smoke-scarred article to connect an imperfect past with an unpredictable future.

There are no words to help in these first shattering moments. Platitudes of comfort from well-intentioned friends can feel more like an attempt to ease their own discomfort, grateful they are not the victims in this situation.

It is nearly impossible to remember that time will be the only healer in these moments. There are no escape routes or shortcuts through this trial. Shuffling numbly through the uncertain steps of grief is the only way out of the mess. Efforts to circumvent or numb the pain will merely result in delaying the journey, and seems to come with its own form of penalties and interest for putting off the inevitable.

A fire in your life can be as literal as losing your home, or as symbolic as losing your marriage, a child, your career, or your health, each one representing a major loss, which can feel as if everything you once held dear has been ripped away from you.

But no matter how searing the event, how destructive its companions, how impossible the future seems at the moment of loss, healing is there. She is waiting silently in the wings, biding her time until the chance comes for her to brush away the remnants of destruction and plant the seeds of hope, which are, guaranteed, to bring new life once again.”