By Cristina Bruni
Rating: 5 out of 5 stars
During a golf tournament in Virginia, American golfer Reggie Weston meets Russell Lee, the British former world champion in the sport. The two men hit it off when Russell takes Reggie under his wing, teaching him the tricks of the game.
As their friendship deepens, Reggie finds himself falling in love with the Englishman, though he knows Russell doesn’t feel the same. He’s painfully aware of the fact that Russell isn’t gay.
But there’s more to Russell than meets the eye. He’s a troubled soul, plagued by monsters in his head telling him who he should be. He’s spent most of his life hiding his sexuality from the world so he won’t disappoint his homophobic mother.
Is seven days enough time for Russell to break through the years of hurt and accept the new direction fate has in store for him and Reggie?
The only thing I would change about Seven Days is the book cover – it didn’t speak to me nor would it compel me to pick it up to read the blurb to even see if I was interested. Thankfully, though, I received and voluntarily read and reviewed an Advanced Reader’s Copy of Seven Days and had the chance to read a great book because of it.
So, once I got past the cover piece – which honestly I feel guilty about even mentioning, but felt I needed to include because covers are often a big deal to some readers – Seven Days was a pleasant surprise. It was an engrossing read and, speaking of surprises, it was simply full of them!
I found myself sucked into what becomes the vacuum of Reggie Weston and his idol Russell Lee. Even after the cringe-worthy first scene where these two initially meet, it’s almost as if you’re channeling the embarrassed and humiliated Reggie and waiting for the other shoe to drop. The good things that transpire, though, are simply too good to be true, and every time Reggie speaks and something ill-timed slips out of his mouth, or every time he trips and stumbles, you are caught cringing, feeling bad for how vulnerable, sensitive, and self-conscious he is. Russell is more than his golf idol – Reggie can’t think, see, or act right any time the man is around, and what makes matters even worse, is that he’s straight and everyone close to him keeps reminding him about it. Sigh.
Reggie slowly comes out of his shell as each day of the tournament passes, and it’s an insta-love climate for both Reggie and Russell. Russell has always been Reggie’s idol, and for Russell, Reggie proves to be the catalyst to steer him out of hiding.
Just when the tournament comes to an end after the most humiliating experience ever in Reggie’s life, and he’s about to start an entirely new chapter in his life, the reader is left shaken and pondering, “is it really over? there has to be more to their story, right?” It’s all good, though. Author Cristina Bruni skillfully crafts an amazingly fantastical foray into unveiling the real Russell Lee, and here is where a slew of surprises starts to unfold. It builds up into a crescendo of emotion – bittersweet, delightfully dreamy, raw, powerful, captivating, tender… beautiful.
My favorite line in the whole book:
“I want you to understand something. I don’t want to live like I have been. The monsters in my head used to be silent and quiet. They whispered, telling me how I had to live. Until I met you. Then they started screaming.” Russell underscored his words by pointing to his temple. His eyes never left Reggie. “They told me it was time to take off the mask and finally live my life the way I deserve. To be who I really am. But I didn’t want to listen to them at first. I even tried to drink them away, to make them shut up, but I couldn’t.”
Well written. Steadily paced storyline. Authentic characters. Endearing. Romantic. Surprising on so many levels. Heart-wrenching. Heartwarming… beautiful.
Review originally posted on Amazon and Goodreads on February 22, 2017.