‘Things We Set On Fire’, by Deborah Reed

Here’s the time for a coffee and my review of this psychological fiction novel by Deborah Reed! It’s so beautifully written and interesting!

Things We Set On Fire (Goodreads / Amazon)


I read it a while ago, and it was my choice of the month’s Samsung Book Deals on Kindle. I wanted to read it because I like when a story is shaped by psychological factors and characters, and ‘Things We Set On Fire’ sounded like one.


I wasn’t disappointed. This book is very much character-driven, everything’s about the characters’ mental states. I didn’t particularly like them as people, but they were very good characters written. They, and the story as well, felt very realistic, and that’s again something that I like very much. It wasn’t overly dramatic, only when it should be, and it wasn’t a happily ever after in the end, either. I was satisfied with how things turned out, though. Yes, that’s what it was… not particularly happy or sad, good or bad, but satisfying. Turn of events I can imagine happening in real life.

But don’t let me jump right to the ending! This book was very beautifully written, and I enjoyed every word of it. I feel like brilliant wording and descriptions made the story almost disappear sometimes. The book started in a way that raised my interest, but then the story went into slow motion, and sometimes I lost my interest almost completely. I read it forward, though, and after a while I was into it again – by the second half there wasn’t any description that could have stopped me from being invested! I don’t want to say anything, because the book starts out with so little information that probably everything I could say would be a spoiler… but that event that seems so violent and cruel and heartless at the beginning, the one that shaped this dysfunctional family where only seems to be weird, hateful, grumpy people, turns out to be something made out of pure love. This book is about how love can make us make decisions that we might think are good for our loved one, even we might think they’re something we can deal with (spoiler: we can’t)… and god knows, how it would turn out, but everything is way more complicated when we have children and they’re passively living through everything we do.

I shouldn’t say I guessed the ‘mystery’ right from the beginning, and I was sure about it not so much later, but I think that’s okay here. This book wasn’t so much supposed to be a mystery novel anyway.

Let’s give it a grade!

  1. Story: 3/5
  2. Characters: 4/5
  3. Style: 5/5
  4. The Subjective Factor: 4/5
  • GPA: 4


I’m not sure this book is so much different from others in the genre, but it’s definitely among the better ones! If I had to emphasize one thing that I don’t see in many books, is that the two kids here were depicted very realistically. From the beginning when conditions weren’t so ideal for them, to the ending, where they were finally allowed to behave as children, I could very easily imagine that little girls in real life would be like this.

Recommend to:

If you like psychologically themed books, character-driven stories, this book is for you! Maybe don’t read it, though, if you would do it for the mystery. That’s very easily solvable, and not at all the point of the story. It’s not straight-out said for a very long time, but there are clear references – this book is for sure not a ‘whodunnit’ type of story.

Drink tip:

Tequila. Silver or gold, it’s your choice!

Music room:

Leonard Cohen’s Hallelujah. The original one!


I think I would like to read some other books by Deborah Reed, if they’re like this!


Thanks for reading my review! What do you think about psychological novels? Do you like them? Which is your favorite? Have you read any book by Reed?


Hugs 🙂

14 thoughts on “‘Things We Set On Fire’, by Deborah Reed

  1. This sounds really interesting! I might have to pick it up as soon as I finish my TBR line-up. 🙂 Not sure if I’ve actually read any psychological novels, but there’s this one book that was a complete mindf*ck for me and it had a whole dose of crazy in it. What psychological novels would you suggest though? I’d love to hear your suggestion!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Well, there’s a TON of amazing psychological reads! You’re about to be on an awesome adventure! 😉 Ruth Rendell comes to mind first, she has some very good psychological thrillers, and what seems to be on the surface for me now is ‘In Servitude’ by Heleen Kist, because I’ve read it recently, and I liked it very much. ‘Dark Places’ by Gillian Flynn was also good. And I love Daniel Keyes’ books! They’re not typical psychological fiction novels, but he was a psychiatrist and his books are psychologically very interesting. 😊

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Wow, those are a lot! I’ve never really tried reading psychological fiction but probably should start now! Definitely adding those to my TBR, and hopefully I get to read them after I finish this month’s line up. 😊 Thanks so much!

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Such a beautiful cover! I’d almost grab the book just for that. I love how organized (so not the right word, but it’s the only one I have right now) your reviews are.

    Liked by 1 person

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