BookBrowse Reviews Seven Days of Us by Francesca Hornak

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Seven Days of Us

A Novel

by Francesca Hornak

Seven Days of Us by Francesca Hornak X
Seven Days of Us by Francesca Hornak
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  • First Published:
    Oct 2017, 368 pages
    Paperback:
    Oct 2018, 400 pages

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A sharply observed debut novel about a family forced to spend a week together in quarantine over the holidays.

31 members reviewed Francesca Hornak's Seven Days of Us rating it an impressive 4.5 stars!

What's it about?

We all have dreams of that perfect Christmas at home with our families and it never seems to quite happen as we'd like. Imagine being locked in the same house for seven days at Christmas with your immediate family whom you usually try to avoid at the holidays. That's just what happens in this wonderful novel about the Birch family (Susan R). Quarantined in their stately, historic country home in northern England for a week (Margie S), each individual has a secret or is misunderstood, and being together for a whole week forces them to confront their deep-seated feelings and redefine how they view each other (Julie M). It is a thoughtful book about relationships and family dynamics (Jan P), a lovely story about a family in crisis (Susan R).

Family is at the heart of the novel, and the relationships hit home with many

The story was always about the family and how they related to each other (Kay M). The entire time I was reading this book, I kept thinking about my own family in a situation such as this and many times I found myself making comparisons. I think anyone who reads this book will do the same (Barbara B). I was able to relate to each member of this family or saw someone I know in them. I found myself rooting for them all (Julie M). The sisters' rivalry and hostility reminded me of my daughters and of my relationship with my sister (Marilyn J).

The highlight is Hornak's character development

I enjoyed the book and the way the author created these multi-dimensional characters, each with layers of personalities and hidden secrets (Lucy S). The author did such a great job developing them that I felt like I knew them (Kay M). Although they seemed a bit stereotypical at first, they came to life with all the messiness of reality surrounding them (Millicent G). I found my feelings for the characters changing as I got deeper into the book. They all had reason to reassess the meaning of their lives and discover that they can have a hand in how they choose to live (Jan P). Giving each character their own chapters allows us to get to know them more intimately especially through their inner monologues and various dialogues (Bill & Jackie S).

Those who didn't like the book were likely to criticize the unlikely nature of some aspects of the plot

Some of the circumstances this family finds itself confronting just seem to strain belief a bit (Anita P). There were too many secrets/issues that seemed crazy to keep hidden, and that really bothered me (Lisa R). Some of the situational coincidences seemed as if they just couldn't have happened (Marilyn J).

Overall, though, the reviews for Seven Days of Us were very positive

I planned to spend a couple of hours with Seven Days of Us, then go on to other things. I never got to them. This book pulled me into the first chapter and didn't let go until the very end (Beth T). I normally read several books at a time, but this one made me drop all the others until it was finished (Charity P). I was able to laugh and to cry as I wound my way through this story (Marjorie W). The novel is a light, enjoyable read which is ironic considering the serious and dramatic issues that each of the four family members must confront (Bill & Jackie S).

Recommended

If you enjoy modern family stories with a twist, don't miss this one (Beth T). This would be a great book club read, plenty of topics for discussion, like family secrets, sibling rivalry and cancer, just to name a few (Jennie R). Readers who enjoyed The Nest will probably eat this novel up (Anita P). Ms. Hornak's writing is reminiscent of Maeve Binchey in both style and subject (Bill & Jackie S). Fans of Penelope Lively take note: Hornak crafts a country house novel for our times that begs comparisons with Lively's 2009 Family Album (Claire M).

This review was originally published in October 2017, and has been updated for the October 2018 paperback release. Click here to go to this issue.

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