Seven Days in June Cover
Title: Seven Days in June
Author: Heat: Re
Genre(s): Romance Contemporary Women's Fiction General Fiction
Tropes: Second Chance First Love
Tags: f-m history of trauma writer author single parent drug use mental health alcoholism chronic illness chronic pain Black New York City
Where to Buy or Read:

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Synopsis from the Creator:

Seven days to fall in love, 15 years to forget, and seven days to get it all back again...

Eva Mercy is a single mom and bestselling erotica writer who is feeling pressed from all sides. Shane Hall is a reclusive, enigmatic, award‑winning novelist, who, to everyone's surprise, shows up in New York.

When Shane and Eva meet unexpectedly at a literary event, sparks fly, raising not only their buried traumas, but the eyebrows of the Black literati. What no one knows is that 15 years earlier, teenage Eva and Shane spent one crazy, torrid week madly in love. While they may be pretending not to know each other, they can't deny their chemistry - or the fact that they've been secretly writing to each other in their books through the years.

Over the next seven days, amidst a steamy Brooklyn summer, Eva and Shane reconnect - but Eva's wary of the man who broke her heart, and wants him out of the city so her life can return to normal. Before Shane disappears though, she needs a few questions answered...

With its keen observations of creative life in America today, as well as the joys and complications of being a mother and a daughter, Seven Days in June is a hilarious, romantic, and sexy‑as‑hell story of two writers discovering their second chance at love.

Review: Seven Days in June, by Tia Williams

[fa icon="calendar"] Jul 21, 2021 9:34:12 AM / by Suzanne

Seven Days in June was everything I was promised. It's heartbreaking and funny and raw and so so romantic. There's a lot of intense content, so please heed those CWs if you need 'em.

This is a stunning debut. Williams' writing is gorgeous and strikes that perfect balance between spare and overwrought. The two main characters (in dual POV) are carefully and thoroughly characterized, with understandable motivations and actions--even if many of those past actions were Not Great. It's possible that my own life experiences colored my experience reading this book, but I was truly taken on an emotional journey and by the time we got to the end, I was a happy-crying mess.

Williams' choice to alternate between chapters from the past, when both leads were struggling and found a very short (seven days) and loving but harmful refuge with each other, was a perfect use of flashbacks. As the present day narrative progresses, the past does as well. Both are seven days in the month of June in a hot summer NYC. Eva and Shane are different people in the present, but they're also those same scared and reckless kids. Both versions falling desperately in love with each other.

The end of Seven Days in June is a bit abrupt and without the lengthy epilogue, I wouldn't have bought an HEA. At one point, these two tortured souls--with baggage from their really messed up first time together in high school--decide that they can't be together in a healthy way. What made this work in that epilogue is that both of them spent a long time doing the work to heal. They're adults with successful careers and one of them  has a whole child, but they'd never taken the time to heal from their youth and I appreciated that the author made that space for them. So often in romance/commercial fiction novels, we get an incomplete arc, seemingly going with the "love fixes everything" or "he just needed to find the right woman" trope. That's not how real love works, how humans work, how trauma works.

I also appreciate that Eva's migraines are never magically "fixed." She's still struggling with an invisible, debilitating disability and there isn't some sort of *poof* clinical trial that fixes all of her problems.

This isn't an easy read at times, but it filled up my soul and made me believe in the possibility of healing.

Audio notes: the audio for this book was perfection. An emotionally intense book like this requires a strong performance and Mela Lee delivered. It's also rare that a single narrator does such a good job with dual POVs.

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Content Warnings: self-harm (cutting, intentionally picking fights, etc), drug use, drug overdose, alcoholism, child sexual abuse (not on page, past), chronic intense migraines and substantial use of pain relief medications, racism, negligent and emotionally abusive parent (past), death of parents (past), incarceration (past), sexual coercion (past), character is institutionalized (mental ward, past)

I received an audio review copy of this book from the publisher via Libro.fm. I also received a hardcover copy that I had every intention of reading until I received that audio copy. It now lives in my library's collection.

Topics: review