When We Caught Fire  by Anna Godbersen

  When We Caught Fire  by Anna Godbersen, HarperTeen, (9780062679826), 2018, 

Format: hardcover

Rating: 1-5 (5 is an excellent or a Starred review)  3

Genre: Historical fiction

What did you like about the book? I always LOVE a good historical fiction book with a little romance, and by description, this one fit the bill.  It is set in 1871, against the backdrop of the Chicago Fire and includes a love triangle, ready to blow up. The setting is almost a character in the story. The author’s description of the opulence of Emmeline’s life,  juxtaposed with the poverty that Anders and Fiona live in was rich in detail. The last ⅓ of the book covering the Great Fire of Chicago went as fast as the fire itself.

Anything you didn’t like about it? I was a bit underwhelmed by the story. I never was able to fully engage in the lives of the characters.  Emmeline, the newly minted debutante had no redeeming qualities to allow me to empathize with her situation. Fiona and Anders were more sympathetic characters, whom I could root for.  

To whom would you recommend this book?  any reader who likes some romance with their historical fiction.  

Who should buy this book? High School and public library

Where would you shelve it ? Historical fiction

Should we (librarians/readers) put this on the top of our “to read” piles? I would not recommend putting this at the top of the pile.

Reviewer’s Name, Library (or school), City and State: Amy Bloom, Wilson Middle School, Natick, MA

Date of review: 10/31/18


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