Seven Days of Us by Francesca Hornak
- Source: Library – Overdrive Audio book
- Genre: Family, Quarantine, Secrets, Siblings
Emma is elated this Christmas. Her eldest daughter Olivia is returned from Liberia and she will have her entire family together for the Christmas and New Year’s Holiday. Only, the reality of the gathering doesn’t match up to Emma’s idealistic expectations. Olivia has been treating an epidemic in Liberia and is put on a seven day quarantine to reduce the risk to transmitting the disease on British soil. No one can leave the house and no one can enter. But how well can this group keep to the basic rules? The sisters quarrel and overtime secrets not meant to be shared are revealed. Spending this time with family shouldn’t feel so lonely and detached, but everything changes for this family when someone unexpected comes knocking on their door.
Despite its slow start, the story really began to get interesting and juicy somewhere mid-way. The characters were finally fed-up enough with each other to come out of their cloistered shells. The sister sibling rivalry dynamic was so accurately portrayed. Neither sister feeling like the confident, mature adult they are when with each other, regressing to childhood habits and squabbles. Olivia trying to find her place in the family that has been circling sister Phoebe as coddled little sister. Emma, herself has a scary secret, but not wanting to upset her family, manages to keep the attention off herself. Her husband though….his secret is really what provokes the family to come to terms with their dysfunctional selves. How they overcome such obstacles in a short span of time is intriguing. The author had a wonderful way of stretching out a single day, making it feel like events took place over 2 or 3 days rather than in a morning and afternoon setting. I felt the days drag on with the family, but it didn’t feel nearly as painful for as it did for them.
My only complaint is the narrator’s American accent. Oh man…it was bad. So bad.
How to Stop Time by Matt Haig
- Source – Library: Overdrive Audiobook
- Genre – Fiction, Fantasy, Immortality
Tom Hazard has a dangerous secret. One that has lost him countless loved ones over the years of his life. The many years, the decades, no centuries of his life. Tom Hazard is an immortal, although he looks like an ordinary 41-year-old. Wanting an ordinary life, Tom moves back to London to become a history teacher, all the while re-living the history he lived through himself. Tom is at a crossroads in his life when the novel begins. Does he continue to live in the past, or can he move forward and enjoy his future? Moving to London to become a history teacher, Tom ends up falling in love with an enigmatic French teacher, continues his search to find his long-lost daughter and all the while trying to convert more immortals like himself to join the secret Albatross Society. It all becomes too overwhelming and dangerous as Tom is sent on one last mission in Australia compromising much of what he knows and believes.
This was easily one of my favorite reads of February. The novel was narrated by Mark Meadows, and I could just listen to him talk forever and ever. He is one of those rare British narrators that can actually do an American accent without it sounding choppy, or forced. The story itself was very captivating. Tom would constantly float back to his past lives, brought on by massive headaches as he re-lived adventures, deaths of loved ones and sad good-byes all the while trying to make a life for himself in modern times. This is a complex plot, with complex characters but it was a great story to be involved in. I love fantasy books like this. Books that are about contemporary issues (guilt, regret, family, etc) but have the smallest magical element. This is the first book I’ve read of the author, but I’m eager to start reading more.
I’m so proud, I’ve actually kept up with my reviews this month! Three cheers for me! I’ve also been on a major reading binge, which also helps. I usually start out the year strong with good books, then by the middle, I start hating every book I pick up. Hopefully this year will be different as I’m making a stronger attempt to branch out of my regular reading routines.
What I read in February:
Total number of books: 6
Fiction – 5 Books
NonFiction – 1 Book
Audiobooks – 3 Books
Setting – England – 5 Titles
- Into the Water
- Music Shop
- Secrets of a Charmed LIfe
- How to Stop Time
- Wigs on the Green
Setting – Canada – 1 Title