This book introduces the Birches who each have something on their mind. The elder daughter, Olivia is returning from a Haag infestation in Liberia and has to be in quarantine for one week. Her family wants to spend Christmas together and they decide to go into quarantine with her.
All members of the family have something to hide. Andrew ( the father) is hiding a blast from the past; Emma(the mother), a worrying detail which she feels reluctant to share during Christmas.Phoebe ( the frivolous younger sister) is considering her life choices and Olivia feels dispassionately about her family’s way of life. There are unknown factors that come into play later in the week. Forced isolation is a catalyst in any family gathering for some form of reaction or the other. We see the characters evolve and realize their roles in the family.
The book starts off in a different tone than that with which it wraps up the tale. Each person has more than one dimension, making them very realistic. I was not a big fan of the tone initially but it took a backseat once the story picked up.
This was a review of an advanced copy thanks to NetGalley and Berkley Publishing