Set Your Heart Aflame | When We Caught Fire by Anna Godbersen

Friday, March 17, 2023

 When We Caught Fire by Anna Godbersen

Publication Date: 10/2/18
Pages: 375
Source: purchased
It’s 1871 and Emmeline Carter is poised to take Chicago’s high society by storm. Between her father’s sudden rise to wealth, and her recent engagement to Chicago’s most eligible bachelor, Emmeline has it all. But she can’t stop thinking about the life she left behind, including her childhood sweetheart, Anders Magnuson. Fiona Byrne, Emmeline’s childhood best friend, is delighted by her friend’s sudden rise to prominence, especially since it means Fiona is free to pursue Anders herself. But when Emmeline risks everything for one final fling with Anders, Fiona feels completely betrayed. As the summer turns to fall, the city is at a tipping point: friendships are tested, hearts are broken, and the tiniest spark might set everything ablaze. Sweeping, soapy, and romantic, this is a story about an epic love triangle—one that will literally set the city ablaze, and change the lives of three childhood friends forever.
Emmeline’s upcoming wedding to the most eligible bachelor is the talk of the town. However, she is not quite ready to give up her first love, Anders. On a whim, she has her lady’s maid and best friend, Fiona, track Anders down to set up a secret meeting. This course of action strikes a match that lights the world on fire. 
  • Anna Godbersen, author of The Luxe trilogy and the Bright Young Things trilogy, is back in another historical fiction that is sure to blow you away. From page one, Anna Godbersen wows us with her magnificent writing. I admit I have never been a fan of the historical fiction genre but the way Godbersen writes it—half intrigue and half drama—makes you want to become a fan of the genre.
  • When We Caught Fire focuses on the strength of first love. The theme is terribly romantic yet almost forbidden. Its love triangle is entirely dramatic in true Godbersen fashion which makes you catch your breath at every turn. 
  • The story is told in two parts: before and after. Its structure is seamless. Godbersen even gives readers glimpses of the end with the narrators thinking of "later." Yet, no matter how delightful it was to guess how it may end, When We Caught Fire is wholly unexpected. 
  • The book follows Emmeline who is about to be married. Only she is suddenly nostalgic and wants to have one last fling with her childhood love (who she hasn’t made contact with in a long time). This fact alone will give readers a clue into who the protagonist is. She is selfish but also, borderline, unlikable. On the other hand, Fiona, Emmeline's lady’s maid, is the girl to root for. She is kind, hardworking, and devoted. 
  • When there is a love triangle afoot, readers are always choosing sides. The drama of When We Caught Fire will also make you choose sides. Anders is not as developed as the two girls, but he still makes a lasting appearance. He is both mysterious and mischievous. The friendly neighbor turned bad boy encompasses Anders which certainly makes him swoon-worthy. 
  • The Great Chicago Fire plays a role in this and it is so interesting to see nature as a conflict since YA rarely makes it one. Godbersen steps the drama up a notch and adds some danger to the mix. It makes for a heart pounding novel. 
When We Caught Fire is the book we have all been waiting from Anna Godbersen. She takes fact from history and fictionalizes it into a romance that will set your heart aflame.

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