Book Review: ‘Seven Days Of Us’ Is A Fantastic Debut Novel About A Family Quarantined For A Week

Sometimes the book companies will send advance copies of books that don’t come out for months to get some early feedback. So when I got Seven Days Of Us (Berkley Hardcover; in stores Tuesday, October 17) and read the synopsis I was intrigued. It looked liked an interesting story. A family of four in England has to be quarantined for seven days at Christmas time in there family home. That means no leaving at all. Now I like my family but seven days stuck with them, yea not so much. The family is close so what could go wrong you ask? Well a lot.

Olivia Birch is a doctor who has been working in Liberia with people that have a life-threatening virus. When she returns for Christmas she’s told that she must be quarantined for seven days to make sure she doesn’t have the virus (which can only be transferred by bodily functions). So her family which includes her dad Andrew (who writes a review column), her mom Emma and sister Phoebe (who works at a TV station) and Olivia are confined to the family home. It’s been stocked up and if they need anything they call for deliveries to be left at their front door.

As they get ready to enter the house they each have secrets they are carrying. Olivia was involved with a co-worker in Liberia and he has contracted the disease and is in isolation. Emma has found out she has cancer. Andrew found out a year ago he has a son from a one night stand years ago and he’s been contacted by Jesse (his son who is gay and this plays into the story later) via e-mail, who announced he will be in England where they are and wants to meet him. Phoebe doesn’t have a secret, She has just become engaged to George, her boyfriend of six years.

The family hasn’t really been close in years and being stuck together brings out old feelings. Slowly each persons secrets come out and it causes family tensions with all involved. Being cooped up doesn’t help. George shows up and is now confined to the house. Then when Jesse shows up that just magnifies things (and he has a secret involving George). By the end of the week everyone is just frustrated and wants out. Then Olivia gets sick and everyone worried she may have the virus and then a shocking death compounds everything.

From the minute I read the first chapter I was hooked and literally couldn’t put the book down. Each chapter is devoted to one of the five characters and tells the story from their point of view. It’s a very character driven story with some twists and turns that make it exciting. At the heart of the story is family and the need for communicating with each other.

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