Seven Days of Us by Francesca Hornak

Seven Days of Us

A warm, wry, sharply observed debut novel about what happens when a family is forced to spend a week together in quarantine over the holidays...It’s Christmas, and for the first time in years the entire Birch family will be under one roof. Even Emma and Andrew’s elder daughter—who is usually off saving the world—will be joining them at Weyfield Hall, their aging country es...

Title:Seven Days of Us
Author:
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Edition Language:English

Seven Days of Us Reviews

  • Debbie

    Ghosts, then witches, so now what's my beef? Boring suburban family celebrating Christmas, that's what! Made me pull the Complaint Board right out of the shed. I will begrudgingly admit that this isn't your typical Christmas. The family is under quarantine because daughter Olivia has been working in Africa as a doctor, treating people afflicted with a deadly virus. Her return shakes up the holiday and makes it interesting. In fact, she was the only character whom I wanted to be in the room wi

    Ghosts, then witches, so now what's my beef? Boring suburban family celebrating Christmas, that's what! Made me pull the Complaint Board right out of the shed. I will begrudgingly admit that this isn't your typical Christmas. The family is under quarantine because daughter Olivia has been working in Africa as a doctor, treating people afflicted with a deadly virus. Her return shakes up the holiday and makes it interesting. In fact, she was the only character whom I wanted to be in the room with. I would have preferred being in Africa with her, living through drama there.

    Decorating a tree and baking special Christmas-y treats makes me unchy in a bad way. I know the point was to create a festive traditional holiday that is ruined by all sorts of drama. The sweet holiday that’s supposed to be all comfort and joy being eclipsed by discomfort and woe. Even so, it makes me want to beat feet out of there, to hide out in the backyard with wine and cigarettes while I spew rapid-fire cuss words. My reaction is especially strange because cussing is the only one of those three things that I do. My holiday-in-the-suburbs aversion probably relates back to the days when I needed to rebel but was too goody-two-shoes to do so, but who cares. This isn't Dr. Phil.

    The family consists of Olivia the Mother-Theresa daughter, dad the food critic, Phoebe the vapid valley girl (hm…if there is a British version) younger daughter, and a mom so clueless and Betty Crocker-y it sent me to my pretend backyard vices way too often. There are two minor characters—a long-lost son and Olivia’s Father-Theresa boyfriend—who are interesting, but they don’t have enough airtime. Then there’s Phoebe’s asinine boyfriend who I always wanted to ditch.

    Okay, I’ll switch to the

    for a bit, just so you can see why it earned a 3.5.

    I wanted to see what would happen. There was no chance I'd stop reading.

    The boring characters, plus Olivia The Interesting, were all well-drawn and believable.

    There are several—all believable and mostly intriguing. I always love it when people are trying to hide something; it ratchets up the tension. Everything gets all messed up as people do some combination of lying, covering their tracks, cringing, and getting all verklempt. And then there’s always luscious excitement and chaos when, ta da, the secret is exposed.

    The book had good bones yet didn't strut its stuff. By this I mean it was a seamless read--the plot and the pace at which it unfolded was well done, yet we didn't see any self-conscious effort behind it. It was smooth going.

    Now, back to the

    From the boring people in a boring family at a boring holiday. Bah humbug! (I know I’m getting boring by repeating this complaint, but it was the number 1 downer for me. Okay, I promise never to mention it again.)

    That’s a direct quote uttered by Emma the Mom. Mom was just too old-fashioned, clueless, and repressed. Maybe there are tons of 65-year-old women like her (I’m in my 60s and I don’t know any), but even if there are, I don’t want to be stuck with them for seven days. I think the author could have made her less of an old-fashioned dummy.

    Now wait just one minute. You mean to say that the national health department wouldn’t have been monitoring the quarantine, making sure no one came to or left the house? It was all too loosey-goosey. “Oh, George showed up; come on in!” “Darn it, Phoebe and George left the house for a while.” “Oh dear, Andrew went for a run.” “Gee, I hope none of them spread the deadly virus.” I just find it hard to believe that the government would have trusted people to obey the rules of quarantine without monitoring.

    And because he did THAT, it was obvious that later it would wreak havoc.

    Oh, you’re so predictable. Toward the end, there was one thing going on with Olivia that was totally obvious. We were supposed to think something else was happening, but I knew it wasn’t. (Sorry for being vague, but I don’t want a spoiler.) I’d be surprised if others didn’t suspect what I suspected. This pretty much wrecked the suspense.

    Each chapter was written from a different character’s point of view, with third-person narration. I’m not sure this type of narration always works when you alternate chapters, especially so often. I guess I’m used to the easier-to-follow first-person style. Here, every time I got to a new chapter I was jolted. Whose point-of-view do we have here now? The author was careful to mention the character’s name right away, but as I said, it was jolting. Plus within the chapters, I sometimes had a little trouble remembering whose point-of-view it was.

    So see, the Complaint Board is bigger than the Joy Jar, so this book stays in the Meh camp. Basically I was trapped in a house for seven long days with mostly boring people, but I was still anxious to see how it all panned out. I liked it okay, but a lot of things made me whine whine whine.

    Thanks to NetGalley for the advance copy.

  • Diane S ☔

    Can you imagine being quarantined with your family for an entire week? Over Christmas holidays? Can't go out and anyone who comes in must stay? The thought of all seven of my, now grown children, coming home and stuck for a whole week together fills me with, well let's just say a great deal of angst, or should I say terror?

    That is exactly what happens in this story, when Olivia, a doctor returns home for the first time in several years. She has been treating patients with the haag virus, oversea

    Can you imagine being quarantined with your family for an entire week? Over Christmas holidays? Can't go out and anyone who comes in must stay? The thought of all seven of my, now grown children, coming home and stuck for a whole week together fills me with, well let's just say a great deal of angst, or should I say terror?

    That is exactly what happens in this story, when Olivia, a doctor returns home for the first time in several years. She has been treating patients with the haag virus, overseas, a terrible epidemic which has taken the life of many. Her sister, Phoebe, nearing thirty and newly engaged still lives at home, and her mother has just received some horrible news on the health front. As they all gather, secrets will be exposed, fate will rear it inoportune head, and the family will find out exactly where they stand with other family members.

    Quite well done, this first novel, some very interesting characters and some tension fraught happenings during this week of enforced closeness. A smattering of ironic humor and although at the beginning I had a few favorite characters, by the end we know them so well, see how they change in the face of some astonishing revelations, I quite ended up liking the lot of them. I also applaud the author for not going with the expected happy ever ending, but portraying life as it actually, many times, plays out. Some sadness, mixed with hope.

    ARC from publisher.

    Publishes October 17th by Berkley.

  • Angela M

    3.5 stars.

    This novel begs the question of how well do we really know our family? Secrets of a dysfunctional family come to light to the reader in these short chapters of alternating narratives by each of the characters and this made for a quick read. I really liked the structure because we got to know the characters from their point of view as well as what they were thinking about each other. I nearly put this aside because I was tiring of their self absorption and I just didn't like them very

    3.5 stars.

    This novel begs the question of how well do we really know our family? Secrets of a dysfunctional family come to light to the reader in these short chapters of alternating narratives by each of the characters and this made for a quick read. I really liked the structure because we got to know the characters from their point of view as well as what they were thinking about each other. I nearly put this aside because I was tiring of their self absorption and I just didn't like them very much. Quarantined for seven days - I shuttered when I Imagined how it would be with my own family! I found this story to be melodramatic and predictable in some ways, but something kept me reading. Maybe I just wanted to know if this family would still be a family when all of the secrets that the reader knows became known to them. Maybe it's because there's probably a little dysfunction in all families so I felt for them. By the end I came to understand and like them a little more.

    The Birch family: Andrew, the father, a war correspondent as a young man is now a snarky restaurant critic and is in for a big surprise stemming from his past. Emma, his wife, sweet but harboring resentment is keeping a secret from her family to get through Christmas. Olivia, the oldest daughter is a doctor and has been in Africa treating people during a deadly virus outbreak. Her exposure to the virus is the reason for the quarantine. She keeps her own secrets. Phoebe, the younger sister, perhaps the most self absorbed is planning her wedding and is also in for some surprises. Jesse, the young American who comes to England seeking out his birth father was the one I liked the most.

    Coincidences occur which seem a little contrived but there are some serious things going on - a secret cancer diagnosis, a secret son, a secret love affair, perhaps two and a contagious disease. It reminded me in a way of This is Where I Leave You - about another dysfunctional family not quite quarantined together for seven days but forced to spend days together sitting shiva for their dead father . That was also a funny, sad and secret filled family story. In the end, I'm glad I didn't put it aside, a good story, an entertaining quick read.

    I received an advanced copy of this book from Berkeley Publishing Group through NetGalley.

  • Larry H

    At one point in

    , Andrew, the somewhat snarky and elitist patriarch of the Birch family, equates all of the drama affecting his family with a popular British soap opera. But then he realizes it's even crazier than all that.

    "Never mind

    —this was pure telenovela."

    He's not quite wrong. In her debut novel, Francesca Hornak throws more issues and crises at the Birch family, more secrets thought buried, than you can even imagine. It's like multiple Jodi Picoult novels mes

    At one point in

    , Andrew, the somewhat snarky and elitist patriarch of the Birch family, equates all of the drama affecting his family with a popular British soap opera. But then he realizes it's even crazier than all that.

    "Never mind

    —this was pure telenovela."

    He's not quite wrong. In her debut novel, Francesca Hornak throws more issues and crises at the Birch family, more secrets thought buried, than you can even imagine. It's like multiple Jodi Picoult novels meshed together without the ethical issues her characters have to consider. And yet despite all of it, you can't help but feel sympathy for some of the characters, anger for others—you want to shake some of them just to get them to say what they need to—but you find yourself moved by what is happening to them.

    It's been a long while since the Birches eldest daughter Olivia has come home for Christmas. She always has obligations which keep her away—or are they excuses? But this year, after a stint treating a major disease in Liberia, she must be quarantined for seven days, so she and her family are going to spend it together, cozy as anything, at the family's seen-better-days country estate. They're not allowed to go anywhere or see anyone, and to top it off, wi-fi and cell coverage is spotty at best.

    Andrew, a haughty former war correspondent-turned-restaurant critic, would rather be anywhere but stuck with his family for seven days, especially once he receives an email he has subconsciously been expecting for a while now. His wife, Emma, who once shelved dreams of her own career in order to raise their children, can't wait to spend the week nurturing both of her children, especially since it will keep her mind off a secret of her own.

    Younger daughter Phoebe can't concentrate on much more than the excitement of her recent engagement. She wants the perfect wedding, the perfect life, and she's not happy that her older sister can't focus on anything but the disease in Africa. It's not all that's important, after all! Olivia lives in constant trepidation that she might test positive for the disease and put her family in danger, and she can't seem to focus on her family's first world problems. But all the while she is haunted by a decision she made in Liberia, and wonders how it will affect her future.

    As the family unearths old arguments and wounds, and inflicts new ones on each other, the arrival of two unexpected guests throw everyone and everything completely off-kilter. It seems like the perfect recipe for a dysfunctional holiday—but the stakes could be higher than nearly anyone realizes.

    "This was why she despised secrets. When they emerged, as they always did, they opened up a whole labyrinth of other unknowns."

    About halfway through

    , I wasn't sure if I was enjoying it, even though I was hooked on the story. The characters really weren't likable, and I just didn't understand why no one would

    to each other and say what they're feeling. I get the whole British stoic stiff-upper-lip thing, but come on. But the more I read, the more I found myself immersed in all of the drama, and even if some of the problems the characters faced were all too familiar, it didn't matter.

    That's mainly because Hornak made her characters very real, despite all the drama swirling around them. You've seen these people in real life—heck, some of them may even be your own family members, with or without the British accents. The book is sappy and a little silly but it's ultimately warm and sweet. While there's no way I could spend seven days quarantined with my family, after reading this book I just had to call everyone, just to make sure everyone was okay.

    If you like a healthy helping of melodrama along with your family dysfunction, definitely pick up

    . See if you agree that it's a little like a telenovela.

    NetGalley and Berkley Publishing Group provided me an advance copy of the book in exchange for an unbiased review. Thanks for making this available!

    See all of my reviews at

    .

  • Shelby *trains flying monkeys*

    It's Christmas..that happiest time of year. When your family gets together to spread the joy and love!

    The family in this book is no different than the rest of us.

    They all are going to Weyfield Hall, their

    aging country home. They will be quarantined there for seven days.

    With each other.

    And each of them has secrets.

    The youngest daughter, Phoebe. She has just gotten engaged and is the favorite child.

    Other daughter, Olivia. Who is the cause of the quarantine. She took herself off

    It's Christmas..that happiest time of year. When your family gets together to spread the joy and love!

    The family in this book is no different than the rest of us.

    They all are going to Weyfield Hall, their

    aging country home. They will be quarantined there for seven days.

    With each other.

    And each of them has secrets.

    The youngest daughter, Phoebe. She has just gotten engaged and is the favorite child.

    Other daughter, Olivia. Who is the cause of the quarantine. She took herself off to Africa to help fight a deadly disease called Haag. I have her cast in my head perfectly....

    Mom Emma, who has a secret she won't let out until after Christmas because she wants the family all together and not fighting. Good luck with that.

    Andrew the father, is a former war correspondent turned snooty food critic.

    This was a really decent book. It's not filled with twisty turny stuff and it's not needed. I can only imagine buying this near Christmas and curling up in front of the Christmas tree with it for a good time with a family like this one. Because I love 'looking in windows' at other people's family drama. I always hope that they are as bat-shit crazy as my family is.

  • karen

    NOW AVAILABLE!!

    to straight-up rip from

    :

    i had the exact same experience down to the “for some reason” - i remember agreeing to read the arc, but it’s all a bit hazy. i do remember thinking that this seemed similar to

    - both being debut novels described as “warm” and “funny,” featuring quirky, wealthy-but-dysfunctional families, and since

    NOW AVAILABLE!!

    to straight-up rip from

    :

    i had the exact same experience down to the “for some reason” - i remember agreeing to read the arc, but it’s all a bit hazy. i do remember thinking that this seemed similar to

    - both being debut novels described as “warm” and “funny,” featuring quirky, wealthy-but-dysfunctional families, and since i ended up really liking

    despite it being outside of my usual reading range (i’m more drawn to “dark” and “gloomy”) i decided to take a chance on this one and am “quite glad I did.”

    my initial take on it was accurate - it was in many ways like

    , with somewhat less spoiled characters, a greater role played by life-threatening diseases, and a location-swap from new york to england, so there were a different set of social/cultural touchpoints. it’s probably a little sweeter than

    , but it’s a pleasant sweetness, not some cheerful bludgeoning by goodwill and cheer, even though it is a legit christmas novel.

    it’s about the birch family: andrew and emma and their two grown daughters phoebe and olivia. andrew is the patriarchal journalist-turned-food-critic, precise and condescending, aloof and emotionally baffled. emma is the long-suffering maternal umbrella, more concerned with anticipating and fulfilling her family’s needs and tackling domestic tasks than addressing her own health and comfort. phoebe is the younger daughter - a little bit selfish, a little bit lazy, recently engaged but still living at home, more excited by planning the wedding spectacle than the actual marriage part. olivia is the selfless doctor whose experiences working in developing countries have kept her from home for several christmasses and made her a little frustrated and impatient with her family’s careless affluence and comparatively superficial priorities.

    but this year, they will all be forced to spend christmas together - olivia’s return from treating haag patients in liberia on december 23 rings in the start of a festive weeklong family quarantine at emma’s enormous family manse; isolated, drafty, with spotty wifi and the possibility, however slight, that olivia’s exposure to a deadly disease with no cure will end up killing them all.

    but the haag virus is not the only threat the family will face over their week of togetherness. theirs isn’t a jerry springer family, so it’s not at chair-throwing level, but it’s certainly awkward. the birches aren’t

    people, but they are their own people - individuals whose sharply-drawn personalities don’t necessarily mesh with those of their family, judging and fearing judgment, not understanding the perspectives of the other members of their family at all. they’ve never been a family that communicates well, and quarantine doesn’t make communication any easier, since each of them has a secret they’re trying to keep from coming out in the stress of the close quarters, holiday cocktails, and the unexpected presence of a couple of quarantine-crashers. it’s like a family-version of

    , all vulnerable and self-conscious behind the roles they maintain for each other, finding it easier to confide in strangers than family, but eventually coming together in a supportive holiday huddle.

    this was an enjoyable book. that’s one of those beige words that reads like bloodless, noncommittal filler, but i truly enjoyed reading it, over the course of a single couch-sprawled vacation day.

    okay, some of it was grass-sprawled

    or chair-sprawled-while-other-people-built-firepits

    in any event, it was kind of a perfect book to read at my dad’s house, which is so isolated that it feels like being in a similar situation, even though we were all much better-behaved than the birches, even those of us who did not contribute to the building of a firepit because reading.

    four stars and change.

  • Norma

    4.5 stars rounded up to 5 stars!

    SEVEN DAYS OF US by FRANCESCA HORNAK is a warm, witty, engaging, and a feel good story that explores the dynamics within the Birch family as they are forced to spend a tension filled week together in quarantine over the holidays. I had a personal connection with this book and some of the content was so real to me that I could really see myself as part of the Birch family as they were facing some difficult and emotional revelations within this story that were very

    4.5 stars rounded up to 5 stars!

    SEVEN DAYS OF US by FRANCESCA HORNAK is a warm, witty, engaging, and a feel good story that explores the dynamics within the Birch family as they are forced to spend a tension filled week together in quarantine over the holidays. I had a personal connection with this book and some of the content was so real to me that I could really see myself as part of the Birch family as they were facing some difficult and emotional revelations within this story that were very similar to some experiences from my life.  

    FRANCESCA HORNAK delivers an insightful, well-written, and character-driven story here with interesting and realistic characters that is told from different perspectives of each of the family members.  Through the different perspectives of each character we were able to get to know each character very well and seen how and where they fit into the dynamics within the family and how each was affected by other members of the family.

    I really enjoyed this book and I thought the ending was sad but hopeful and left me with a warm and shivery feeling and even some goosebumps.     

    To sum it all up it was an enjoyable, memorable, thought-provoking, insightful, and entertaining read that was a realistic portrayal of a dysfunctional family that I found quite enjoyable. Would recommend!!

    Traveling Sisters Group Read - Thank you so much for another wonderful reading experience! It is always a pleasure reading along with these awesome group of ladies and I felt so much love and support sharing some personal experiences in our discussion!

    Thank you so much to Edelweiss, Berkley / Penguin Publishing Group and Francesca Hornak for the opportunity to read a copy of this book in exchange for a review.

    All of our Traveling Sisters Reviews can be found on our sister blog:

  • Paromjit

    This is an engaging festive read featuring the Birch family, forced to spend 7 days together for the first time in years over Christmas and New Year. It is said that this is the most traumatic time of year for many families, having to endure the presence of those you spend the rest of the year avoiding like the plague. Ahh, yes, the plague, Olivia is the eldest daughter, a medic who has been working as an aid worker to combat the deadly Haag epidemic in Liberia. On her return to Britain, she and

    This is an engaging festive read featuring the Birch family, forced to spend 7 days together for the first time in years over Christmas and New Year. It is said that this is the most traumatic time of year for many families, having to endure the presence of those you spend the rest of the year avoiding like the plague. Ahh, yes, the plague, Olivia is the eldest daughter, a medic who has been working as an aid worker to combat the deadly Haag epidemic in Liberia. On her return to Britain, she and her family are in quarantine for 7 days, cut off from the world with poor wifi, in the family's dilapidated country house in Norfolk as they escape London. Andrew was once a war reporter, who sacrificed this to be there for Emma and his children. He has been a restaurant critic for many years, taking pride in writing his snide reviews. Emma, once a caterer, gave up her career to bring up her 2 beloved daughters, Olivia and Phoebe. Phoebe is a daddy's girl, still living at home, working on aspects of reality television, estranged from Olivia, rather frivolous and shallow, whose sense of identity revolves round planning her upcoming nuptials in a year's time.

    The narrative is delivered from the perspective of the four Birch family members and an unexpected American, Jesse, who gatecrashes the families festive celebrations and ends up staying, thanks to the quarantine. This is a family harbouring secrets and trauma ranging from cancer, past indiscretions that come back to haunt the present, covert relationships, and problematic issues over sexuality. Olivia is having problems adjusting to her return, still reeling from the horrors of Haag and finding her family and their concerns trite in comparison. As Shaun, an Irish paediatrician, with whom Olivia broke medical protocols, contracts Haag, Olivia writes a blog in support of him and her personal difficulties in coping on her return. Phoebe, upon learning of her mother's secret, reveals her selfishness in focusing on her wedding to fiance, George, a Hooray Henry, albeit a nouveau riche one. As the melodramas in the family reach ridiculous proportions, no-one in the family remains unscathed as tragedy beckons.

    Hornak has written a feel good family drama that touches on many issues that afflict families, although she does lay it on a tad thickly. There are coincidences galore, but you go with the story as the characters face their travails, regrets and yearnings, garnering the reader's interest through the character development that takes place. I have no doubt that the issues raised will resonate with many, particularly over the lack of communication in families and relationships. This turned out to be an enjoyable, light and entertaining read. Many thanks to Little, Brown for an ARC.

  • Brenda

    Traveling Sisters Group read with Norma, Susanne, Jan, and Dana.

    I read Seven Days of Us with four of my Traveling Sisters and this one will be added to one of our best discussions we have had.

    Seven Days of Us is a well written warm, funny, and insightful character-driven family drama that explores the dynamics of a family with realistic and interesting characters. The Birch family could be any family and we could see ourselves and our family in these memorable characters and we began to open up

    Traveling Sisters Group read with Norma, Susanne, Jan, and Dana.

    I read Seven Days of Us with four of my Traveling Sisters and this one will be added to one of our best discussions we have had.

    Seven Days of Us is a well written warm, funny, and insightful character-driven family drama that explores the dynamics of a family with realistic and interesting characters. The Birch family could be any family and we could see ourselves and our family in these memorable characters and we began to open up with each other and sharing some of our experiences in our discussion.

    The story is told from different perspectives of each of the family members. When we first met each member of the family we started to see how self-absorbed each one was in different ways from their experiences and environment. We found ourselves judging them quite harshly. Francesca Hornak does a good job with the family dynamics and showing us different sides to each member from the different perspectives allowing us to see and understand how each affected the other members of the family. The way we felt about the characters started to change and we really started to see them more as I family and we really enjoyed the dynamics of the family. I really loved how I started to see in our discussions how our opinions and our discussions started to change as the characters developed and grew.

    Thank you to Francesca Hornak for writing such an insightful and thought-provoking book that could bring out so much about ourselves that allowed us to share our own experiences with each other making this one of our favorite Sister reads. It will be a special one for all of us. We highly recommend for group club reads.

    Thank you so much to Edelweiss, Berkley Publishing and Francesca Hornak for the opportunity to read a copy of this book in exchange for a review.

    All of our Traveling Sisters Reviews can be found on our sister blog:

  • Susanne Strong

    4 Stars.

    Imagined being locked in your family’s home for a week over Christmastime. Quarantined to be exact. Could be alright, yeah? Or maybe not so much, depending on whose family you’re talking about. Mine, would be a Trainwreck for sure.

    In “Seven Days of Us” the Birch family, (which includes parents, Andrew and Emma and their two daughters, Olivia and Phoebe) are locked in their family estate, Weyfield Hall in England for seven days over Christmas. You see, Olivia is a Doctor and she was expos

    4 Stars.

    Imagined being locked in your family’s home for a week over Christmastime. Quarantined to be exact. Could be alright, yeah? Or maybe not so much, depending on whose family you’re talking about. Mine, would be a Trainwreck for sure.

    In “Seven Days of Us” the Birch family, (which includes parents, Andrew and Emma and their two daughters, Olivia and Phoebe) are locked in their family estate, Weyfield Hall in England for seven days over Christmas. You see, Olivia is a Doctor and she was exposed to the Haag (a deadly ebola-like virus), while helping treat others who were afflicted with the epidemic. Now the whole family is under “house arrest” for the holidays.

    Olivia and her sister Phoebe don’t get along. Phoebe is young, self-centered and spoiled beyond all get out. She is also completely immersed in wedding plans to her fiancé George. George is well, rich and athletic. Olivia is quiet and reserved and has never really fit in anywhere. She is also terrified. Terrified that she has Haag and terrified about a decision she made while abroad.

    Emma and Andrew have been married forever. Over the years, they have grown apart. Emma has a secret that she hasn’t shared with anyone. She is hoping to keep it to herself until after the holidays. Andrew is a food critic, who thinks very highly of himself. He takes his wife for granted. He too has a secret. His, could tear the family apart.

    Jesse is a young man who travels to London with a secret of his own. He intends to crash the Birch family’s Christmastime festivities, not knowing they are in quarantine.

    Will all hell break loose during the seven days the Birch family spends with each other?

    Though “Seven Days of Us” sounds a little campy and “soap opera-ish,” it is a story about a dysfunctional family at its absolute best. Each character is extremely well written. The book is delightful and has a lot of heart. I admit that it took me a while to get into this one, but after a while I was fully invested and couldn’t wait to find out whether or not the Birch family survived Christmas.

    My favorite character was Jesse. He had a very strong sense of self and captured my heart from the first moment I “met him.” Emma was pretty fabulous as well. For me, however, I identified most with Olivia. She and I have a lot in common, except for the fact that I haven’t been exposed to Haag. That would be bad.

    This was a Traveling Sister Group Read. It included Brenda, Norma, JanB and Dana.

    I have to say that it was my favorite sister read thus far, hands down! We all invested so much of ourselves in this read and our discussions were very personal and came from the heart. It was our first read with Ms. Dana and it was just fabulous. Welcome to the sisterhood Dana! To Norma, Brenda, JanB and Dana, I, thank you. I just loved reading this with you.

    Thank you to Edelweiss, Penguin Publishing Group and Francesca Hornak for an ARC of this novel in exchange for an honest review.

    Published on Edelweiss, Goodreads, Amazon, Twitter and Facebook on 10.22.17.

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