A warm, wry, sharply observed debut novel about what happens when a family is forced to spend a week together in quarantine over the holidays...
It's Christmas, and for the first time in years the entire Birch family will be under one roof. Even Emma and Andrew's elder daughter--who is usually off saving the world--will be joining them at Weyfield Hall, their aging country estate. But Olivia, a doctor, is only coming home because she has to. Having just returned from treating an epidemic abroad, she's been told she must stay in quarantine for a week...and so too should her family.
For the next seven days, the Birches are locked down, cut off from the rest of humanity--and even decent Wi-Fi--and forced into each other's orbits. Younger, unabashedly frivolous daughter Phoebe is fixated on her upcoming wedding, while Olivia deals with the culture shock of being immersed in first-world problems. As Andrew sequesters himself in his study writing scathing restaurant reviews and remembering his glory days as a war correspondent, Emma hides a secret that will turn the whole family upside down. In close proximity, not much can stay hidden for long, and as revelations and long-held tensions come to light, nothing is more shocking than the unexpected guest who's about to arrive...
Published October 17th 2017 by Penguin Audiobooks
Three and a half stars: A book with heart and humor but it plays out like a soap opera.
For the Birch family, this will be a holiday to remember. For the first time in years, they will all be together under one roof celebrating Christmas. What makes the situation even more memorable is that will be dealing with a week long quarantine since Olivia, the oldest daughter, has just returned from Liberia, as part of a humanitarian effort dealing with the Haag virus. As the week progresses, the family will be forced to examine themselves, share secrets, as they try and get along. What they don’t expect is a couple of crashers, one who just happens to be their dad’s long lost son. Will the family survive the quarantine?
What I Liked:
- Seven Days of Us is an entertaining read that brings the reader the best and worst of family. I think we can all relate to the chaos and turmoil that often occur when the family gets together to spend time during the holidays. In this book, things are far worse as the family is forced into isolation, and they have some issues and secrets that are about to burst forth. What follows is hilarity, mayhem, growth and turmoil. This book will make you laugh and shake your head.
- I liked the eclectic cast of characters. You have Andrew, the head of the family. A man who is miserable with his career. His way of dealing with life’s problems is avoidance. Emma, the mother, is the typical bubbly caregiver who overshares and serves food as a way of dealing with her issues. Olivia, the oldest daughter, is a doctor and she is fed up with the gross overindulgence of the holiday season. Phoebe, the youngest daughter, recently engaged is frivolous, self centered and materialistic. Then there is Jesse, the American in search of his birth father. These characters are all so different, and when they collide, mayhem happens. They aren’t always likable and they have plenty of flaws, but it is still fun to watch them mature and grow.
- Secrets and mayhem abound in this book. The reader is aware of many of the things that come out long before the cast is, which makes it fun. When certain characters end up crashing the quarantine, you know that chaos will erupt and it does. This plays out like a soap opera, it is funny and a train wreck at the same time.
- After all the turmoil and secrets, I liked the way things settled out. The family grew closer, made some changes and ended up in a better place. This is a book that is all about growth and maturation.
And The Not So Much:
- The ending was abrupt. I didn’t like that it just concluded, leaving too many things up in the air. I wanted to see what happened to Emma, how Olivia made it through, what happened with Jesse, and how Andrew’s career changed and what happened with Phoebe.There is a two line epilogue that left too many things unfinished. A bit frustrating.
- There is a lot going on, and it began to feel like a soap opera with all the mayhem and drama. I wish it was more heartwarming.
- After all the turmoil, things were moving toward the end, and I was expecting a heartfelt ending, then there is this ugly wrench thrown in that ruined the feel good vibe that was going on. I did not like what happened to Olivia at the end. Total downer for the end of the book.
Seven Days of Us was a book with a lot of potential. You know that when a family is cooped up together for a week in isolation that mayhem will result and it does. I enjoyed watching the characters navigate the minefield of secrets, and seeing their growth. However, the abrupt ending and the sad event at the end ruin the feel good vibe. This is a book for those who like books that read like a soap opera. If you are looking for heartwarming and feel good, this won’t work for you.
I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own, and I was not compensated for this review.