Skip to main content Skip to search Skip to search

Fiction Marriage & Divorce

If We Caught Fire

by (author) Beth Ryan

Breakwater Books Ltd.
Initial publish date
Apr 2023
Marriage & Divorce, Contemporary Women, Domestic, Literary
  • Paperback / softback

    Publish Date
    Apr 2023
    List Price

Add it to your shelf

Where to buy it


Set in St. John’s, If We Caught Fire explores the complexities of life in a blended family.

When her mother decides to remarry, Edie’s calm and orderly life is knocked off kilter. The groom’s son, Harlow, is a joyful adventurer who shows up for the wedding and quickly recruits Edie as his sidekick. Just when she thinks she’s figured him out, Harlow reveals a depth and darkness she didn’t see coming. Edie and Harlow—and their new unwieldy family—do an elaborate dance all summer, trying to discover what they are to one another. By Labour Day, they’ve created connections, tested boundaries, and found they’ve come together and apart in unexpected ways.

Edie and Harlow, the main characters in If We Caught Fire, navigate the world in disguise, creating personas that they believe hide their pain and vulnerability. The characters struggle to define themselves and others, to make sense of how they feel and act, to understand what they value and need. As they try to form connections with one another, they realize that labels can both create clarity and impose limits. Their families have been shaken by death, trauma, addiction, secrecy, and infidelity, which leaves them all feeling unsteady as they try to form a new blended family.

About the author

A Luxury of Stars is Beth Ryan’s first novel. Her collection of short fiction, What Is Invisible, won the Margaret and John Savage First Book Award in 2004 and was shortlisted for the NL Book Award for Fiction and the APMA Best Atlantic-Published Book Award.

Her stories have appeared in TickleAce, the New Quarterly, the Newfoundland Quarterly, Hearts Larry Broke, The Cuffer Anthology, and Weather’s Edge, been broadcast on CBC Radio, and won awards from the NL Arts and Letters Competition, the Cuffer Prize, the Atlantic Writing Competition, and the Victoria School of Writing.

For twenty-four years, Ryan made her living as a writer and editor—first in journalism and later in communications and web content. After making a career change in 2011, she is now a counselling therapist in private practice in St. John’s, where she lives with her husband, Stephen Kiraly, in a house filled with books and cats.

Beth Ryan's profile page

Other titles by Beth Ryan