Top critical review
Well developed background setting, unremarkable romance
on January 7, 2003
The thing I enjoyed most about this novel or the entire Chicago fire series is its background or premise. While a fire rages through Chicago, three friends who attend a finishing school together make decisions that help determine the paths of their lives.
In "The Firebrand", Lucy Hathaway, fleeing the fire, saves a baby dropped from the second story window of a hotel. When Lucy can't locate the parents, she adopts the girl. Five years later, she discovers that the baby's parents are alive, and is forced to make a heartwrenching decision.
For me, this book was a little too melancholy, and at times the sheer hugeness and potential sadness of the custody battle overshadowed or completely destroyed the romantic tension. Too much time was spent on background and clashes, and not enough time provided for the development of love between the protagonists. The romance part just wasn't convincing or hearwarming.
Although I appreciated the historical background, which I think is unique, and well done, this novel falls short on actual romance, which is bad since it's supposed to be a romance novel.
This book isn't bad, it's just unremarkable. If you want to read Wiggs, I suggest trying "The Charm School".