Rating: 3 stars
Note: As stated under the Source (above), I received this book for free from Berkley via NetGalley. I pride myself on writing fair and honest reviews.
Summary: After several months away, treating an epidemic in Kenya, Olivia is stuck in with her family for the holidays, one week of quarantine being a requirement after her exposure. Not having felt close to anyone in her family for years, spending a week in lockdown at her mother’s family home (where they always spend the holidays) isn’t her idea of fun, but it’s only a week, right?
However, Olivia has a secret that she struggles to contain, and as it turns out, so does everyone in her family. As the days of quarantine pass, all of their secrets unravel, and they are forced to face one another as they are.
Review: A character driven novel with some doses of truth about what it means to be part of a family. How we forget that we have lives away from each other, that there is more that we don’t know than do, that family dynamics – real or perceived – can dictate the face we wear at “home”, and that trust is something that is continually earned. This is the first thing I appreciated about this book.
As it was written from many different perspectives, curtains are slowly lifted and we can see each situation from all of the relevant angles. Definitely a part of the book I appreciated as it goes to show how easily we can misunderstand when we only consider a situation from our own perspective.
That said, the ending left me wanting. After this nice canter, completely appropriate for a relatively light holiday novel, and what felt like an appropriate ending, the pace picked up rapidly and the real ending came to light. It felt like an afterthought, and I didn’t understand the purpose of going that direction. And it highlighted something that was missing in the book: tangible, raw feeling. Or rather, for the ending to have worked for me, the story would first have to have gotten me to a particularly heightened emotional state. Since it failed to accomplish that, it felt forced and trite.
And I couldn’t stand Phoebe. Which would be fine, if not for the ending.
So in a nutshell, it was a perfectly lovely light(ish) holiday read until the ending, at which point it tried to be serious and dramatic, and fell apart for me.