Seven Days of Us
Thank you to Netgalley and Berkley Publishing Group for the digital review copy! All opinions are my own!
Perhaps every family should be quarantined together . . .
The holiday season is great. Halloween kicks it off, then Thanksgiving, then we steamroll right into Christmas. (Sometimes Christmas takes over a bit early . . .) Decorations, fairy lights, food, and family. It all seems wonderful. In theory. But what if you were stuck in a house with your entire immediate family, who you don’t exactly get along with, for seven days? And by stuck, I mean medically and legally quarantined. Francesca Hornak explores that idea in her new book Seven Days of Us, and after reading about the Birch family, I’m a bit more grateful for my own!
Olivia Birch, MD, has been away in Liberia treating people for the deadly Haag virus, which is rapidly spreading to other countries. Upon her return to England, she is required to be quarantined for seven days to make sure she doesn’t display any signs of the virus. Instead of spending Christmas alone, she decides to join her family, meaning they must all be quarantined for a week. Olivia is trying to re-acclimate to first world amenities (and first problems), her sister, Phoebe, is focused on her upcoming wedding, her dad locks himself in his office, writing restaurant reviews, and her mom, Emma, is hiding a secret that won’t stay hidden for long. And of course, there’s a mystery guest who none of them are expecting.
The story takes place over the seven days the family is in quarantine, and is told in short, alternating chapters between each of the family members and the mystery guest. This was a really fun read for me, and perfect for reading before the holidays! (Or perhaps for reading while you’re hiding in your room away from your own family . . . ) It was interesting to see how different the family members were from each other, with the differences being made even more prominent from being stuck together. There are some really funny parts (one laugh out loud for me), and Hornak keeps the suspense going by revealing bits of information throughout the book that the reader knows but not all of the characters know. The fun is in watching them all find out certain things and seeing how they react. (And seeing which secrets each family member chooses to hide, and their actions are misperceived because of that.)
In my opinion, none of the characters were very likeable, because they were written very honestly, but they are all interesting. Whether or not you agree with each character’s opinions or choices, they all remain true to themselves, and the way they behave is informed by their circumstances in life. This is a family, and families aren’t perfect. I loved peeking into their window and watching the drama unfold over a week. There is also an extra little twist at the end of the book, and I really appreciated it over a perfect, gift-wrapped ending.
Seven Days of Us is a fun, family drama that doesn’t get too deep, but offers some very interesting insights to the secrets families keep and what would happen if they were forced to stay together for a whole week.