What a fun sweet novel! I loved this book. This family dramedy is just what I was looking for. The Birch Family is getting ready to spend their first Christmas together in years. And the best part about it is, no one can leave the house for 7 days! This sounds odd I’m sure but the family is under quarantine. The oldest daughter in the family Olivia is a doctor who has been off treating a highly contagious disease called Haag. She fell in love with another doctor (Sean) while she was away and now Sean has been admitted to the hospital after being diagnosed with Haag. She doesn’t want her family or colleagues to know she was in such close contact with Sean, but when she starts coming down with some Haag symptoms, she may not be able to hide it for long. Since she will be returning to her family home while she is in quarantine, the rest of the family has agreed to join her. Her younger sister Phoebe has just gotten engaged to George who may not be who he seems. Not in the “is he a crazy serial killer?” way but more so in a “maybe he isn’t being honest with who he is and who is attracted to way”. Andrew Birch, the head of the family recently found out he fathered a son 30 years ago when he had a one night stand while working on a journalism story in a war zone. Aside from the fact that he fathered a son without knowing, he had been in the early stages of dating his wife Emma when he had the one night stand. Jesse the son he never knew he had is on a mission to finally meet his father and won’t stop even when Andrew ignores his attempts to reach him. Emma the mom of the girls and wife to Andrew has her own secret as well. She has been recently diagnosed with cancer and doesn’t want to ruin Christmas with her family so she is keeping the secret to herself. As with any family stuck in close quarters, secrets don’t stay hidden long and drama quickly ensues. This story is heartwarming and touching. Great book!
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Thank you to Netgalley and the publisher for the Advanced Read Copy in exchange for an honest review.
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…