Seven days to fall in love, fifteen years to forget, and seven days to get it all back again…
Eva Mercy is a single mother 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 unexpectedly in New York.
When Shane and Eva meet at a literary event, sparks fly, raising not only their buried traumas, but also the eyebrows of the Black literati. What no one knows is that fifteen 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.
In the year of our Lord 2019, thirty-two-year-old Eva Mercy nearly choked to death on a piece of gum. She’d been attempting to masturbate when the gum lodged in her throat, cutting off her air supply. As she slowly blacked out, she kept imagining her daughter, Audre, finding her flailing about in Christmas jammies while clutching a tube of strawberry lube and a dildo called the Quarterback (which vibrated at a much higher frequency than advertised—gum-choking frequency). The obituary headline would be “Death by Dildo.” Hell of a legacy to leave her orphaned twelve-year-old.
enjoyable/easy to read:
This is a tough one for me. There are moments of absolute perfection that Williams handled like a pro. Then some clichés, pitfalls, and disappointments should not have happened considering these excellent writing skills.
I’ll start with the bad so we can end on a lighter note. A lot of the conflict here could have been avoided. These two adults have based a lifetime of pining on a week-long drug-fueled hookup. I would’ve accepted this more easily if they had just connected on this deep level without hooking up – sure, keep the drugs; I guess they needed something to force them apart – but instead of strengthening this initial connection, the lust and drugs cheapen it instead. Not to mention, with all the flashbacks and comments about ‘broken promises,’ there’s just a little too much withholding of information in an attempt to create a false sense of mystery.
Shane’s realisation that he can’t be with Eva because he needs to deal with his grief, addiction, and mental health could have been reached without the bullshit missed brunch thing. Flying from NYC to Rhode Island takes just over an hour. He could’ve texted or called in the taxi on the way to the hospital. He probably could’ve gotten internet on the flight. It’s contrived nonsense to drive a plot point. Also, in what world does ‘this relationship can’t work until we’re both perfect people who have defeated all of our demons and have no mental health issues’ make sense? The shared history, similar traumas, and ‘incredible connection’ should see them sticking together and supporting one another through their issues. When was ‘for better, for worse’ rewritten into ‘once you’ve figured your shit out on your own’.
Putting all of that aside, the most disappointing part has to be the teasing of Eva looking into her family history, rediscovering her roots, and having it go… nowhere. Seriously, after all that, we get a few paragraphs and texts, and that’s it? I was really looking forward to, at the very least, Eva’s conversation with Audre about all of the creative writing she’d been doing about their family. I wish this had been allowed more time and space because it was one of the most interesting parts of the narrative.
Now for the good stuff. Williams made Eva’s chronic pain such a central theme of her character that it’s impossible to separate her from her invisible disability. Brutally honest in its depiction, she escapes social events to inject painkillers, mothers from the fetal position, is constantly monitoring her pain levels and triggers and has found a way to live her life while her vision melts and her head explodes. It never felt repetitive, but it was apparent that it was and always had been a massive part of Eva’s life.
I loved all the overlaps between real life and Seven Days in June. Conversations about Black characters in novels who are only allowed to suffer in a novel rife with addiction, trauma, abuse, and violence. The plot in this messy, complex, incredibly serious book with some very steamy erotic scenes addresses erotic romance fiction being excluded from ‘real literature.’ There were so many moments where it felt like Williams was tapping me on the shoulder to say, ‘ Do you see what I did there?’ It speaks to the realism of this narrative and how easily it could be a true story.
Seven Days in June felt like a true celebration of Black culture, an honest depiction of generational trauma, and above all else, it was a genuinely compelling read. Something feels a bit unfinished – just missing the point, but still close to the target. I may have some complicated feelings about how to rate it overall, but Eva and Shane’s chemistry cannot be denied, and William’s writing is captivating and smart.