ARC Review: When We Caught Fire – Anna Godbersen

This Advanced Readers’ Copy was given to me during Book Expo 2018, in exchange for an honest review.

SO hi I’ve been delaying this review for awhile because Spring Break and shit happens in life thank you very much


Name: When We Caught Fire
Author: Anna Godbersen
Publisher: EpicReads
Release Date: October 2, 2018


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.

Book Cover Comments

i LOVE the design of the flames. It’s very contemporary and unconventional!

The Actual Review

Ok let’s be honest this book didn’t blow me the way I expected it to be… perhaps the tagline was a bit far of a stretch and this book’s romance did not blow me away that badly.

And I felt like the emphasis on this kind of being a Chicago Fire “retelling” was a bit farfetched as well; it was really just a romance set in old times’ Chicago, and they happened to set the town ablaze casually, you know. The last line of the synopsis was also pretty misleading because it is not the flames of the romance (or the relationships between the childhood friends) itself that burned the world down. Really. Not. The Chicago Fire ,therefore, became an idea to have this love triangle set in, and it didn’t really do anything to the plot in the first place.

The more I think about it, the more darker this book actually gets. Rather than straight up first love, regrets, doubts, love triangles whatever, I felt as if all of these things simply didn’t exist by the end of the book. By the end of the book, it felt more like manipulation and submission, but I can’t expand on the details to keep this spoiler free. It, just, wasn’t, really, a classical good ol’ romance to me.

The three characters also seemed to be, I don’t know, I just don’t really like them? The guy says pretty girl only cares about herself and has been always unobtainable and looked down on her due to misunderstandings, so-so girl thinks pretty girl is her bff but tbh doesn’t really and secretly maybe hates her, and pretty girl is the one with the broken heart who shouldn’t have been so damn generous all the way along the plot.

There’s a side character that seemed much more intruiging by the end of the book than our three main characters, honestly.

And the POVs were a little confusing: in the ARC, there were no annotations to indicate POV change. I thought it alternated chapters between Emmeline and Fiona, but there are times within an Emmeline chapter where Fiona starts talking, vice versa, and very seldom the side characters. Why…?

I don’t think this is a bad book; the synopsis was merely too misleading.

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Joanne Lumiere

Joanne is the narcissistic founder of her book blog, Joanne Lumiere. Born and raised in Hong Kong, this 18 year old brat is currently attending college in Los Angeles, and still doesn't know how to read books with sophistication, and yet she runs a blog.

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