cover image When We Caught Fire

When We Caught Fire

Anna Godbersen. HarperTeen, $18.99 (384p) ISBN 978-0-06-267982-6

Set on the cusp of the 1871 Great Chicago Fire, this historical melodrama by Godbersen (the Luxe series) is chock full of gossip, glitz, and a searing Upstairs, Downstairs dynamic between the serving class and the wealthy. Newly rich and social-climbing Emmeline has landed Chicago’s most eligible bachelor—to the dismay and jealousy of the other young women around her, and despite the fact that Emmeline is still in love with her childhood sweetheart, a boxer named Anders. Meanwhile, her best friend turned ladies’ maid, Fiona, also secretly pines for Anders, and the two have since struck up a relationship following Emmeline’s engagement. With the wedding just days away, Emmeline schemes to run away with Anders, breaking Fiona’s heart, even as Godberson’s early promise to tell the “real” story of the Great Chicago Fire adds the momentum of coming doom for everyone involved. The author’s talent for creating flawed, maddeningly selfish high-society personalities is on full display in Emmeline, as is her knack for drawing sympathy for social underdogs such as Fiona, the real heroine of this love-triangle novel. Readers will root for Fiona and hope that she prevails with Anders, despite the possibility that their futures might just burn to the ground. Ages 14–up. [em](Oct.) [/em]