Meet the Birch family: Andrew, the father, Emma, the over-protective mother, and daughters Olivia, who is a doctor, and Phoebe, who works in the media. After Olivia comes back from Liberia where she spent two months curing people from the deadly Haag virus, the entire family is forced to spend the Christmas holiday in quarantine at Weyfield Hall, the family mansion in Norfolk. But in a house where everyone is hiding a secret, tensions are high. Andrew hasn’t told his family about Jess, the son he didn’t know he had who is very eager to meet him. Emma has just found out that she has cancer but will tell her family after the holidays. Olivia is in a secret relationship with a doctor who tested positive to Haag. And Phoebe is not so sure about her engagement to George. Will the family survive seven days closeted together, each one of them afraid that their secret will be discovered?
I loved this novel as it’s fresh, smart and intriguing. The writing is captivating and the characters are flawed and selfish in their own way – some more than others – and yet, I couldn’t help liking them. Full of surprises and twists that turned the novel into a soap opera, this novel made me laugh, but also cry a little bit. A gripping and enjoyable story about dysfunctional families and bonds that are too strong to be destroyed. (NP)