If We Caught Fire - Beth Ryan
If We Caught Fire brings two families together for a wedding in St. John’s, an event that sets off a summer of fireworks in the lives of the people around them.
Edie’s calm and contained life is knocked awry when her mother decides to marry a man she met online after just a few months of dating. The groom’s son, Harlow, is a joyful adventurer who shows up for the wedding and quickly recruits Edie as his sidekick.
Harlow runs toward risk and adventure with arms wide open, unconcerned about what other people expect from him. Edie plans every step carefully and keeps her dreams small and attainable, even when others encourage her to want more. Over a few months, they develop a connection that defies definition, a situation that leaves Edie queasy with fear and tingly with possibility.
Edie and Harlow (and the rest of their new unwieldy family) do an elaborate dance, trying to discover just what they are to one another. When Edie thinks she’s figured him out, Harlow reveals a depth and darkness she didn’t see coming. By Labour Day, they’ve created connections, tested boundaries, and found they've come together and apart in unexpected ways.
If We Caught Fire 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.