Review: When We Caught Fire

1871. Chicago.

Emmeline Carter is engaged to the most eligible bachelor in the city. But on the night of her engagement party, she can’t stop thinking about the boy who’d stolen her heart as a child, Anders Magnuson. Her best friend, Fiona Byrne, has been in awe of her friend’s rise through Chicago’s society. With Emmeline soon to be married, Fiona is now free to let Anders now how she feels about him. That is, until Emmeline wants one last fling with her childhood sweetheart before she ties the knot.



In When We Caught Fire Anna Godbersen weaves a world of glamour contrasted from the lowly upbringings of her characters. She captures the anxiousness of a city waiting for something to happen. Each character has their own personality that shines through. However, I found myself getting bored with the overall story. The first 3/5 of the book are setting up the characters. And while they all clearly their own person, I couldn’t fall in love with any of them. I was thoroughly annoyed with Emmeline and her constant back and forth. Fiona and her perpetual need to please her friend was grating and kept her from following her heart. Anders and his tough guy attitude seemed pointless.

Overall, I thought the story would be…more. But instead, I was disappointed with the way the book flowed and the lack of story development. Basically, this could have been a short story of a maximum of fifteen pages. Instead, it read more like a college student trying to meet the word count requirement for a paper.

I’d really like to read more of Anna Godbersen’s works as her writing style is impeccable. I just found this book flat and uninteresting when it could have been fantastic.

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