When eight people spend a week in an Italian villa it seems the perfect opportunity for fun, relaxation and renewing old acquaintances. Although they don't all know each other, everyone who is staying at the villa knows Sam who's father owns the villa. However, Sam does not arrive until halfway through the week and by that time, tensions have risen, things have gone missing and no one is sure what to make of Jill, the friendly neighbour who has a knack of always being there. Will they manage to survive the week and still be on speaking terms? Somehow, it looks unlikely!
Seven Days One Summer is written by Kate Morris and tells of an Italian holiday that should be perfect but somehow is not. When one reads on the front cover, the words 'what could possibly go wrong?', one somehow knows that this is going to be the holiday from hell. All of the couples that arrive at Sam's villa have their own problems and secrets that they seem unable to keep to themselves. Jen finds it hard to put up with Marcus' constant drive for success that impinges even on their holiday as he is constantly making calls about business; Tara and Dave are newly-weds but Tara is already disillusioned with married life; and Toby and Miranda are engaged to be married but he does not know whether he is able to put up with her controlling ways. Jack is a successful film star but struggles to entertain his small children on their first holiday since separating from his wife, Ellie. There are so many tensions that you could cut the air with a knife.
Things are not helped by the mysterious and sometimes ungracious Jill who keeps turning up under the pretext of being helpful but just ends up being very annoying. Everything that could possibly go wrong seems to and a near tragedy is only just avoided. As one reads, one can't help being drawn into the tensions and rivalries whilst at the same time feeling extremely thankful that one is not there.
Although I was sort of caught up in the misery of it all, I did not find the story as gripping as I would have hoped. I found most of the characters quite dislikeable and therefore I did not warm to them or care about them very much. The story was written in the first person and told by Jen, but even with this I felt that I didn't really get to know her much. I could only sympathise with her to a certain extent but not enough for my liking.
'Seven Days One Summer' was quite eventful though and although it was quite predictable there were also a few surprises that I was not expecting at all. What I did appreciate though, was the way that Kate Morris depicted just how uncomfortable everyone felt and how all of the tensions were simmering just below the surface. It was not actually a book that I enjoyed, but I did appreciate the way that it was written.
The paperback is available on amazon for £4.49 (December 2011).
This review has previously appeared under my name at www.thebookbag.co.uk