Seven Days of Us, by Francesca Hornak (2017)

Contemporary Fiction
Adult
Seven Days of Us, by Francesca HornakFor the first time in years, the Birch family will spend Christmas together – not that there’s much choice. Olivia Birch has long avoided the holidays with her family – in school, then in residency, and most recently in Africa as a doctor treating victims of a deadly virus. Her tour of duty over and back in the U.K., she is under quarantine for seven days, and thus the enforced family gathering at the slightly shabby family estate in Norfolk. Sister Phoebe is secretly jealous she’ll no longer be the focus of attention, but she’s busying herself planning her wedding to an absolute ass, though she doesn’t see it. Yet. Mum Emma is keeping a big secret from her family, and Dad Andrew, a restaurant critic, is dreading the prospect of a week with his wife and daughters. He and Emma have grown distant, and Olivia’s commitment to helping the marginalized is a painful reminder of his own abandoned career as a wartime journalist. Only Phoebe makes him feel good about himself and his biting reviews of small restaurants. The domestic drama reaches a high point when a young American appears, the son Andrew never knew he had from a one-night-stand in Beirut that occurred early in his relationship with Emma. And yes, she figures it out almost immediately. All the ingredients are there for a comedy of domestic horrors, and first-time novelist Hornak delivers a wry and biting commentary on married life that comes with moments that are often painful, sometimes quite funny, and ultimately heartwarming. While it’s certainly similar in tone, this is much better than The Nest; as Hornak develops much more sympathetic characters despite healthy doses of self-centredness. A great antidote to the usual holiday romance, Seven Days of Us is a charming and engaging story that rings true while still leaving readers satisfied and hopeful for this family’s future.
My thanks to Berkley Publishing for the advance reading copy provided through NetGalley in exchange for my honest review.
More discussion and reviews of this book: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/33357622.
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