A family must spend seven days quarantined together—with all their disagreements, resentments, and secrets—in this debut novel.
Olivia Birch feels right at home treating patients of the Ebola-like Haag epidemic in Liberia. She feels less at home, however, at her own family’s country house. Since she has nowhere else to go, she returns home for Christmas, and because she was exposed to a deadly virus, her entire family must stay in quarantine with her. While monitoring herself for symptoms and missing the doctor with whom she had a secret and ill-advised romantic relationship, Olivia rolls her eyes at what she sees as her family’s frivolous concerns. Her relatives, however, are dealing with their own problems. Her younger sister, Phoebe, is wrapped up in planning a wedding to a man she’s not all that passionate about. Her restaurant-reviewer father, Andrew, has just received an email from the grown son he didn’t know he had. And her mother, Emma, just got a cancer diagnosis that she’s determined to keep from the family until after the quarantine is over. The family’s already tenuous bond is turned upside down when Andrew’s son shows up at the door. Soon, secrets are spilling out, and everyone realizes they don’t know quite as much about their family as they thought they did. Hornak skillfully juggles each character’s distinct point of view and creates a family that readers will grow to love. This holiday read is perfect for fans of cozy Christmas films like Love Actually and The Family Stone.
An emotional but ultimately uplifting holiday story.