Genre: Contemporary Fiction
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 estate. But Olivia, a doctor, is only coming home because she has to. Having just returned from treating an epidemic abroad, she’s been told she must stay in quarantine for a week…and so too should her family.
For the next seven days, the Birches are locked down, cut off from the rest of humanity–and even decent Wi-Fi–and forced into each other’s orbits. Younger, unabashedly frivolous daughter Phoebe is fixated on her upcoming wedding, while Olivia deals with the culture shock of being immersed in first-world problems.
As Andrew sequesters himself in his study writing scathing restaurant reviews and remembering his glory days as a war correspondent, Emma hides a secret that will turn the whole family upside down.
In close proximity, not much can stay hidden for long, and as revelations and long-held tensions come to light, nothing is more shocking than the unexpected guest who’s about to arrive…
This had the exact type of premise that intrigues me, I love reading about families, especially when there’s secrets involved and add in a little dysfunction and I’m all in! I adore my own family but being locked in a house for a whole week together sounds pretty scary and we’re not nearly as screwed up as the Birch family.
It’s told from every single family members perspective and I loved getting to see how each of them interpreted the same situations differently. Emma is the mom and while they all have secrets hers is a pretty major one. Andrew is the dad and he’s honestly pretty awful, he’s snobby, pretentious and detached as a father. Olivia is the oldest daughter, she’s a doctor and she comes off reserved and pretty cold and then there’s Phoebe the youngest, she’s basically a huge spoiled brat. I liked Jesse the most, he seemed to be the most down to earth and I usually gauge my likability of characters by who I would want to hang out with and he wins hands down. Overall a large cast of unlikable people that would’ve saved themselves SO much drama had they simply talked to each other, but where’s the fun in that?!
This was a really entertaining read if kind of ridiculous at times. The behavior of the Birch family ranged from appalling to mildly amusing and I was hoping for more sharp humor but instead it was more emotional than I think the blurb described it to be and definitely not exactly what I was expecting. The writing was solid though and it was fairly fast paced making it an easy read, this would actually be perfect to read over the holidays to escape your own crazy family! If you like books like The Nest you would enjoy this one, I had really similar thoughts/feelings on both of those books, a mixed bag where I can’t really say I loved or hated it, but I would say I mostly enjoyed it despite a few minor issues.
Overall rating: 3/5
Thanks to the publisher for my review copy.