Published: October 17th 2017 by Berkley Pub
My Rating: 4/5 Stars
I was lucky enough to be sent a free copy of this book from Berkley Pub so I could be a part of their book tour celebrating its release. I held on to it in anticipation for a couple months before diving in – I wanted to save it for the holidays.
And I’m very glad that I did! This book made for a fun, mostly light-hearted read full of family drama and humor, and was perfect the perfect companion to read alongside all the Christmas movies I watched leading up to December 25th. No shame—I was in full Christmas mode this year.
Seven Days of Us is the story of the Birch family, who are forced to spend Christmas quarantined together in their English home. The oldest daughter, Olivia has spent the last several months volunteering in an African country plagued by the Haag virus, a deadly disease that is easily spread from person to person. As a precaution, anyone coming back into Europe must be quarantined for a week. And so, the Birch family finds themselves stuck under the same roof for the holidays… and a whole bunch of secrets and family tension start to bubble their way to the surface.
I really enjoyed this novel. It is told in alternating perspectives from all of the members of the Birch family, and I loved seeing the story through each different set of eyes. I enjoyed the setting as well—the old family house is almost a character itself, and a place I think I wouldn’t mind being stuck in for the holidays (if there wasn’t so much family drama going on all around me, that is). I enjoyed watching the revelations and the drama unfold… at times I think I thought, “how could their be this much drama in one family?” But that was all part of the fun.
I will admit that there were a few things that hung me up just a little bit… first of all, I felt like the situation with the Haag virus had a few plot holes. For example, if the entire world really was on high alert and terrified of a deadly virus entering the country and spreading, I think they might take the quarantine process a little more seriously. As it was, people were pretty free to come and go, breaking the quarantine, with the only real punishment being a scolding from the family members taking it seriously. Sure, this allowed for the story to take place… but it sort of bothered me as I was reading. I know it was all fiction, and sometimes you have to let go of the little things like that, but I feel like a little more attention to this aspect and it could have been more believable.
My biggest problem with this book was the ending. I don’t want to spoil things for everyone… so very minor spoiler alert? (I don’t usually do spoilers at all… but I really want to talk about this.) Without being too explicit, I’ll just say that the ending felt unnecessarily sad to me. I’m fine with a sad ending if I think it is how the story needed to end, or if I feel that it serves a purpose. But I didn’t feel like the ending here was necessary. I think the author was trying to use it as a way to bring the characters closer at the end–or rather, show how the characters had grown closer throughout the course of the novel. Phoebe coming home to be with Olivia was a sign of her maturity and dedication to her family, and Olivia accepting the comfort of her family shows hows she’s grown to appreciate the family she’s so often avoided. But I think in many ways we’d already learned this, and I think the heartbreaking event at the end was just hitting us over the head with it, leaving me feeling sad without any reward for it.
Despite my issues with the ending, I really did enjoy this book overall though. And I’d still recommend it to anyone wanting a holiday read full of family drama. If you don’t mind shedding a few sad (and in my case frustrated) tears at the end, it is absolutely worth the read.