Monday, October 29, 2018

"Locked Room" Family Saga Sharp, But Dull

(Image from Barnes & Noble)

For the first time in recent memory, the four members of the Birch Family will be together for Christmas.  Since Olivia—a medical doctor who's been fighting the virulent Haag virus in Liberia— must be quarantined for seven days to avoid contaminating the public, the family will be closeted together for a week at their home in the Norfolk countryside.  No one will be allowed to leave the property, and no one will be allowed to enter.  It will be only the Birches, 24/7.  

To make things even more difficult, each of the Birches is hiding a secret from the others.  No one wants to ruin the upcoming holiday with troubling revelations, so the quartet will be walking on eggshells to avoid any unwanted disclosures.  Nerves are already starting to fray when Andrew Birch's secret comes knocking on the door.  As tension nears fever pitch for the housebound residents of Weyfield Hall, an implosion becomes inevitable.  What will happen when everyone's secrets are finally out in the open?  Will the Birch Family survive their catastrophic holiday intact? 

I'm always up for a sweeping family saga that promises the outing of juicy secrets that will test the bonds that tie people together.  Add in a "locked room" situation and I'm a goner.  Naturally, then, I was excited to give Seven Days of Us, a debut novel by journalist Francesca Hornak, a go.  I went in expecting a sharp, funny story and the novel delivered.  Kind of.  Through her authentic, very flawed cast, Hornak makes some fascinating observations about family dynamics.  I recognized parts of myself in the ways each of the characters interacted with each other.  While I enjoyed that aspect of the book, I did grow bored with the plot, which seems to wander all over the place without really going anywhere.  The ending didn't help, as it left me thinking, "What was the point of that?"  Overall, then, Seven Days of Us turned out to be just an okay read for me. 

(Readalikes:  Hm, I can't really think of anything.  Can you?)

Grade:  


If this were a movie, it would be rated:


for strong language, sexual content, violence, and references to illegal drug use

To the FTC, with love:  I received a finished copy of Seven Days of Us from the generous folks at Penguin Random House in exchange for an honest review.  Thank you!

4 comments:

  1. Hmmm. Well now I’ve heard a good review and yours. I wonder which way I’d lean???

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  2. I've been on the fence a bit about reading this one. I like stories such as this for the reasons you do. However, I keep skipping over to other books. Maybe I'll just keep skipping for a while or maybe this might be fun at Christmas as we deal with 'family'. LOL

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  3. Sounds like the author had a good idea, but just couldn't pull it off in the end. That's too bad.

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  4. Too bad this one didn't deliver as the premise is tantalizing.

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