When I first heard about this book, a family with two adult children who are forced into quarantine together for a week, I immediately thought of the Jonathan Tropper book, This is Where I Leave You, which has a similar plot line. So I was surprised to find that the two books really couldn’t be more different. Sure, the dysfunctional family is still there but the voice is completely different, as are the dynamics of the characters. Plus this is set in Great Britain, so that dry humor is really different, too.
Olivia Birch, a doctor, has been working in Liberia during a humanitarian crisis. They are dealing with a deadly “Haag virus,” which I looked up and realized is just a made up plot device, however much it sounded real. She has fallen in love with a co-worker, Sean, a doctor from Ireland, but are keeping it secret as that is against the rules. They are both returning home for Christmas, and separate at the airport, he to return to Ireland and she to return to the family estate in the country. They are both under strict quarantine as it takes a few days for the symptoms of the disease to appear.
Olivia’s mom Emma waits at the airport and strikes up a conversation with a young man she meets there. While they don’t even exchange names, they do exchange secrets.
Emma whisks Olivia home where her father and her newly engaged sister are waiting, and the week of quarantine begins. Relationships are examined, secrets abound, and lots of drama occurs amidst the laughter. I don’t want to give anything away, it’s too much fun discovering what all is going on as you read.
This was a totally engrossing novel that made me laugh out loud on occasion, as well as cry, the whole emotional gamut. Hornak has a really unique voice that brings the Birch family to life. A wonderful read that would make for a great book discussion. Don’t miss it.
10/17 Stacy Alesi, AKA the BookBitch™
SEVEN DAYS OF US by Francesca Hornak. Berkley (October 17, 2017). ISBN 978-0451488756. 368p.