Monday, 16 October 2017

Seven Days of Us

Author: Francesca Hornak
Genre: Contemporary Fiction
Type: Trade Paperback
Pages: 355
Source: won from GoodReads giveaway
Publisher: Berkley Books
First Published: October 17, 2017
First Line: "Olivia knows what they are doing is stupid."

Book Description from GoodReadsA 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...

My Rating: 3.5 stars

My ReviewSeven Days of Us is a family drama that focuses on the dysfunctional Birch family who are thrown together under quarantine for a week over the Christmas holidays. Nothing says holiday fun like being stuck with your family who have festering secrets and old resentments plus the threat of a deadly plague and a new family member!  Fa-la-la-la-la, la-la-la-la!! Pass the cranberries!

This was a good read but it wasn't a great read for a few reasons. While this is a family drama, it was more melodramatic than dramatic. It was Family Dysfunction: Light. There were pretty big coincidences readers are asked to accept and while several secrets were revealed, the family's reactions weren't quite as shocking as I had expected. I wanted emotional family turmoil balanced with humour and I only got a wee bit of each. 

And yet, I enjoyed this book. It's an easy read and addresses some big topics (albeit superficially) and I found myself wanting to know how things would end for this chaotic family. The characters themselves were somewhat relatable but didn't have enough depth to the point of being cliched - the repressed mom who does everything, the spoiled younger sister, the over-achieving, hard-hearted older sister ... No one, except maybe Jesse, was overly likable.

Overall, this was a good debut novel. With some more tension and depth to her characters I can see Hornak's next literary offering being a better fit for me.

Disclaimer: I won a copy of this book through a giveaway on GoodReads.


Elizabeth said...

I keep seeing so many different comments and ratings on this book.

I actually enjoyed the book after a slow start and enjoyed the characters.

I thought it was a good debut. Unique story line.

Thanks for sharing your thoughts.

My review will be on November 7. Are you on the tour?

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Laurie@The Baking Bookworm said...

I’m not on the tour but won a copy through Goodreads. I thought it was a good debut but a lot lighter than expected. I think we’ll see even better stuff from her in the future. She’s one to watch out for.

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