Becoming a member of the LoveReading4Kids community is free.

No catches, no fine print just unconditional book loving for your children with their favourites saved to their own digital bookshelf.

New members get entered into our monthly draw to win £100 to spend in your local bookshop plus lots lots more...

Find out more

We Played With Fire

Written by Catherine Barter

Write A Review

We Played With Fire Review

Adventure Stories Featured Books for 11+ readers Featured Books for 13+ readers Historical Fiction Horror & Ghost Stories

Nineteenth-century feminist forerunners make their fortune from ghosts

Rich in historic atmosphere and detail, and smouldering with female desire to be heard in a patriarchal society, Catherine Barter’s We Played with Fire is a hauntingly riveting read. The fact it was inspired by the true story of the Fox Sisters who made a fortune from communicating with spirits in nineteenth-century America makes it all the more gripping, and a fine example of how to transform extraordinary real-life events into enthralling fiction. 

Back home in Rochester Maggie had enjoyed listening to progressive women she “thought she could learn from” - strong role models who spoke-up at political meetings held in the kitchen. But these fires of inspiration are dampened when Maggie is incriminated in a terrible event that takes place near the schoolhouse she claims is haunted. As a result of the scandal, her family move to remote Hydesville where, feeling fed-up and fuming, Maggie and her younger sister Kate decide to spice things up by playing supernatural tricks on their parents. 

Matters take a menacing turn when their old farmhouse makes spooky sounds independent of the sisters’ tomfoolery, and they become certain a spirit is communicating with them. When this attracts the attention of their neighbours and a local journalist, Maggie and Kate see the power and potential of spiritualism and set-off on an astonishing life journey that reels with rebellion, show-woman-ship and gothic charisma.

Joanne Owen

We Played With Fire Synopsis

Maggie has witnessed impossible things. But no one believes her, and now her family has taken her away to spend the winter upstate in a remote, freezing farmhouse. Bored and angry, Maggie and her younger sister Kate start to play tricks: rapping on the floorboards above their parents' bedroom, cracking their toes under the table, and telling tales about noises in the night.

Then the house starts to make sounds of its own.

Neither Maggie nor Kate can explain it, but it seems as though someone - or something - is trying to speak to them . . .

Inspired by the incredible true tale of the Fox Sisters, the girls who made their fortune in nineteenth-century America by speaking to ghosts.

We Played With Fire Press Reviews

Praise for Troublemakers;

‘A thought-provoking, richly layered YA novel’   Imogen Russell Williams, Guardian

‘A touching, truthful depiction of an unconventional family life’  Observer


If you loved this, you might like these...

The Boy Behind The Wall
The Song that Sings Us
The False Rose
Shadow Town

All versions of this book

ISBN: 9781839130069
Publication date: 04/02/2021
Publisher: Andersen Press Ltd
Format: Paperback

Book Information

ISBN: 9781839130069
Publication date: 4th February 2021
Author: Catherine Barter
Publisher: Andersen Press Ltd
Format: Paperback
Pagination: 336 pages
Suitable for: 11+ readers, 13+ readers
Genres: Adventure Stories, Historical Fiction, Horror & Ghost Stories
Collections: Girl Power - Inspiring and Informative Books with a Feminist Edge,

About Catherine Barter

Catherine Barter has worked in a library, a bookshop and for an organisation campaigning for the rights of garment workers. After gaining a PhD in American literature, she moved to East London and now co-manages Housmans, a radical independent bookshop in King’s Cross. Troublemakers is her debut novel and was shortlisted for the 2014 Bath Novel Award for unpublished work. Author photo © Georgie Lord  

More About Catherine Barter

More Books By Catherine Barter

Cover for Troublemakers by Catherine Barter
Cover for We Played With Fire by Catherine Barter
Cover for Troublemakers by Catherine Barter
View All Books By Catherine Barter

Share this book