Looking for a heavy dose of romantic tension to heat up the winter season? Then might I suggest Seven Days In June, by Tia Williams…
Let me set the scene for you.
Eva Mercy is sitting on stage. Lights are blaring. She is fighting through the physical pain that is her constant companion.
Eva is on a panel alongside other black writers for a literary event. Despite being nervous, she quickly finds her stride. And though her celebrity is modest in comparison to the other panelists, her confidence rises as she spots loyal fans of her fantasy-erotica series in the audience. The event appears to be proceeding well, as the writers debate hot topics such as, “the state of the black author.” That is until an unexpected guest joins the panel, and really shakes things up. He is the rockstar/bad-boy of the literary world, Shane Hall.
The subject of tabloid fodder, with a history of drug abuse and time behind bars, Shane is not the type of writer to attend literary events. Yet he’s chosen to make an appearance at this particular one. Everyone in the room is taken aback. But none so much as Eva Mercy. When she locks eyes with Shane, memories buried years ago rise to the surface. Those seven days in June…
With a crashing wave of emotion-love, desire, anger, and confusion- everyone else disappears, leaving just the two of them, Eva and Shane. But in order to move forward they will need to come to terms with their past and decide if their futures include each other.
I’m not a huge fan of romance novels. I always feel a little awkward during explicit scenes. Call me prudish but it is what it is. That being said, there was so much to appreciate about this novel.
Eva and Shane have carved out successful careers for themselves. Yet the trauma of their painful childhoods continues to inform their lives in myriad ways. Instead of depicting the collective experience of black trauma and its sources, Williams hones in on the personal and particular struggles each of these characters has had endured.
(Note: Williams isn’t afraid to address the blatant inequities and microaggressions that exist, particularly in the publishing world, where male writers with bad-boy personalities garner success and acclaim, all while indulging in behaviors their female counterparts would never get away with.
This novel in and of itself is a testament to the plight of the black female writer.)
Seven Days In June follows its characters back and forth in time, fleshing them out, while providing nuance and texture.
Growing up, Eva lived with a mother who wasn’t equipped to parent her properly. Added to her strife, is the chronic pain and migraines she has suffered from her whole life. Shane is the product of a foster care system gone terribly wrong. As a teenager, he would intentionally hurt himself as an act of rebellion and guilt. Feeling lost and alone, Shane learned to self-medicate with drugs, a practice he would carry with him into adulthood.
15 years ago, Eva and Shane were lost children, who only had each other. Now, as they reconnect, they have years of lived experience between them. They’re different people. Eva’s a divorced mother of a precocious tween who keeps her on her toes. Shane’s a recovering addict who teaches and mentors at-risk kids. They’re battle-scarred survivors. But is surviving all there is to life?
With Seven Days In June, Tia Williams has created a narrative both entertaining and true. A story of enduring love and second chances. A story that does not shy away from difficult subject matter such as, self-harm, addiction, and parental neglect.
A romantic drama with intelligence and wit, set within the captivating world of the black literary scene.
I highly recommend this novel.
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