Don’t let the theme of a family isolated during Christmas put you off reading now. The Seven Days of Us by Francesca Hornak can be read at any time of year …
It’s Christmas, and the Birch family is gathering for the first time in years.
Olivia, the eldest daughter, has returned from treating an epidemic abroad and must go into quarantine for seven days. Her mother has decided it’s the perfect opportunity to spend some ‘special time’ together. Her youngest sister wholeheartedly disagrees. Her father isn’t allowed an opinion.
When no one can leave the house, seven days for the Birches feels like an eternity.
Especially when they’re all harbouring secrets. One of whom is about to come knocking at their door…
Seven Days of Us is published by Piatkus and is available to purchase in digital, hardover, paperback and audiobook formats.
It’s so easy to get stuck in a rut. Instead of owning the things that make you feel whole and happy, sometimes it seems to be easier to accept the life that you’re living. But outside events always have a way of breaking open that inner turmoil to either break bonds or make them stronger.
In Seven Days of Us, spending 24/7 together, the Birch family are forced to face the cracks in their relationships. Those 7 days of quarantine with all its undertows of emotions and feelings between siblings, sibling and parent and of course parents for each other provides the perfect setting for unfolding secrets. Add into this maelstrom of buried emotions the reason why they’re together and a couple of unexpected guests and you get plenty of tension!
Those cracks in relationships are apparent from the very beginning. Mum Emma finds it difficult to let go of the past and her own childhood, trying to recreate what she experienced for her own children. Her relationship with husband Andrew has lost its way through the years as well as Emma letting go of her own plans and dreams. Sisters Olivia and Phoebe haven’t got on since adolescence. Andrew can communicate easily with one daughter but not the other … he’s also lost his way. Will the enforced time together bind them closer together or split them apart?
I enjoyed Francesca Hornak’s writing style and the pace of the story. The different narrations let me get inside the character’s minds, hooking me in. There’s one thing I didn’t see coming which surprised me (and made me feel VERY emotional). This, alongside another event, sets this apart from the themes of the usual stories set around Christmas time. I have to say that how Phoebe handled both events brought out a side to her that I wasn’t expecting and changed how I felt about her.
If you’re looking for a story that is gritty and true to life with family drama at its core, this debut from Francesca Hornak should be on your reading list … no matter the time of year.
Connect with Francesca Hornak
Read all posts in the women’s fiction genre on Jera’s Jamboree.