Seven Days in June by Tia Williams

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Seven Days in June by Tia Williams follows two best-selling authors who reunite on the New York literati circuit years after a high school fling that left them scarred. It’s a sophisticated romance still accompanied by a happily ever after.

Manhattanite single mom Eva Mercy is a former best-selling novelist whose Black vampire romance series à la Twilight still excites fans via the interwebs. By chance, an author drops out of a panel event, and Eva gets the last-minute invitation to fill the spot. That’s where she sees fellow, still-successful best-selling novelist Shane Hall, a mysterious intellectual who makes women and men alike swoon. Eva tries not to swoon because it turns out she and Shane went to high school once in D.C. and spent a week of debauchery in a mansion during their senior year. They meet up for a day in New York where the deep-rooted chemistry overtakes them. The day blends into another one and another where they start catching up about what went wrong when they were teenagers. Eva thinks Shane, who was a foster child and drug dealer at the time, abandoned her at her lowest point, but she learns that another force divided them. As they try to rekindle what they had as adults, Eva and Shane must combat their demons to accept the love that was severed so many years ago.

This is Tia Williams’ most complex work yet. Known for centering her novels on Black women in New York working in media, the author adds more layers to Eva’s character and Shane’s character not common in a lot of women’s fiction and romance novels. In adolescence, the main characters are dealing with substance abuse, self-harm, unstable homes, and missing parents. In adulthood, the age-old traumas return with them realizing how reflective their behaviors are when they interact with each other and the kids in their lives like Eva’s Gen Z daughter Audre and Shane’s mentee Ty. The character and storyline complexity blends well with the ubiquitous pop culture references the author loves to add to her novels.

Also, this is the first novel the author makes her main character an author as well when her previous novels’ main characters are beauty and fashion editors like her former day job life. Switching up the career choice also shows more depth with Eva translating her healing process through her books and Shane doing the same with his. Another element of the novel is Eva living with her invisible disability of suffering from debilitating migraines that worsen with barometric pressure. This also reflects the author’s life. She has given this trait to her first novel’s main character from The Accidental Diva, but this time around in Seven Days in June she makes Eva feel the everyday pain and impact and gives Audre the fear of seeing her mother chronically ill. The migraines also contribute to Eva’s writer’s block and how she’s struggling to deliver the 15th book of her famous series that is getting the film treatment with some hiccups along the way.

Overall, this novel is an excellent summer beach read that’s definitely a page-turner the deeper you get into the book. Tia Williams’ last novel from 2016, The Perfect Find, is in production with Gabrielle Union for Netflix. This novel also has silver-screen potential, especially with the book-to-film subplot that brings up diversity and inclusion in Hollywood projects.

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