Reviewed by T.L. Brown on Goodreads
You will care deeply for these characters.
I don’t remember the last time two characters made such an impact on me like Francesco and Eric in Elen Chase’s “When we were fire on fire.” I read this book in two nights, consumed by the story from the start. This is the second book in her Italian Romance series – and it did not disappoint!
Reading this book was like witnessing the struggle of two of your closest friends – both imperfect, both very dear. How could Chase create such a strong reaction in a reader? I don’t have that answer, but I’m so glad that was my experience.
Some readers will identify with the challenging relationships the two men had with their parents –the feeling of not being good enough from childhood, or not living up to expectations as an adult. While most of the damage done is viewed through character memories, the intense emotion expressed in these scenes are heart-wrenching. And yet, even during these painful passages, the reader can see the lifeline the author created. It’s up to the character to reach for it. In the end, we must take care of ourselves and let go.
The author attempted to issue a little forgiveness. Sometimes people do bad things that are actually better than what they’ve experienced. Chase brings in a balance, however. There are consequences and not always second chances. But sometimes, there are.
Chase is not afraid to take your heart apart and then stitch it back together – and does so several times in this book. This is a risk not many authors successfully pull off, but Chase does. Even when you feel that pang of pain in your chest, you know there’s light on the other side of the sadness. Chase laid the groundwork. You know it’s there.
Along with two lovable protagonists, the supporting cast of characters in “When we were fire on fire” is a perfect match. Readers will recognize familiar faces from “When we were sea and stars” (e.g., Rob and James). Chase knows when to bring them forward and when to return them to the sideline.
The author did catch me off guard toward the end of the book (no spoiler in this review) with a bit of a sad twist. But it was so well-placed and real. And maybe that’s part of what makes this book so special: It feels authentic. These characters feel true.
If I could deliver a message to the author, it would be this: Keep writing the stories you are writing. Keep bringing us the characters you are creating. We need these tales of love, despair, joy, and forgiveness. It gives us hope.