Six Days by Dani Atkins is a warm romance that’ll quickly snag readers with a compelling dilemma for the main character. The novel then develops into a strong character-based story that will keep readers absorbed.
Gemma is living the dream as she arrives for the wedding of her mother’s dreams, to her dream man. It quickly becomes a nightmare as Finn fails to arrive. Indeed, within hours it begins to seem clear that he’s actively disappeared.
Pretty much everyone in Gemma’s life is convinced she’s been jilted. But Gemma can’t believe Finn would do this to her and remains resolute in her belief that something bad and unplanned has happened to him.
Even as the evidence that he left voluntarily starts to stack up, she harasses the police in an attempt to get them to open a missing person investigation. When they won’t, she does everything she can to search for Finn herself.
As the days wear on, Gemma has the occasional doubt, but she firmly rejects assertions from friends and family that she needs to move on. If Finn has truly left her, which she doesn’t believe, she’d have to hear it from him — which means she still needs to find him.
“Six Days” is told in two time streams, one which follows Gemma in the present, and one consisting of a series of flashbacks that date back to when they first met; each flashback takes her a bit closer to the present.
Normally I’m not a fan of this technique. I find too many short flashbacks choppy and disruptive to the flow of the story. However, here it works quite well. In part that’s because the early flashbacks are focused on helping us build a picture of both Finn’s character and his relationship with Gemma.
The specific events aren’t very important, at least until the flashbacks get very close to the present, perhaps two thirds through the novel. There’s a nice ambiguity throughout the novel. We absolutely see why Gemma fell for Finn, and why she thinks he’d never just leave her at the altar. But we also begin to see why others are so convinced she’s kidding herself, and that he’s bailed.
It’s hard to know for sure quite where this is going to go — sure, the conventions of the genre give you some hints, but it’s not certain Atkins has followed all those conventions.
I really enjoyed this novel. Gemma is a strong and believable character, as is her best friend Hannah. Most women will recognise some of their character traits and experiences and empathise strongly. Finn is a suitably complex character, so there is genuine doubt about his behaviour.
Importantly, the relationship between Gemma and Finn is well drawn. It’s complex and realistic, particularly in the uncertain early stages. Gemma’s reaction to Finn’s non-appearance is believable; so too is the opposing reaction of her friends and family.
This is a relationship novel rather than a straight forward romance, meaning it will likely appeal to readers who don’t see themselves as classic “romance readers”. That said, romance fans are also going to enjoy this immensely.
“Six Days” is an enjoyable novel, written with a light and easy touch. It’s got emotional substance, but is an easy and quick read.
ISBN: 978 1800246553
Copy courtesy of Head of Zeus (2022)
A selection of our Beauty and Lace Club Members are reading Six Days by Dani Atkins. You can read their comments below, or add your own review.
I’ve loved books for as long as I can remember, and I love sharing that joy.
I’ve been an avid reader for as long as I can remember, across all genres. There’s not much I won’t at least try. I’ve been an enthusiastic book reviewer for years. I particularly enjoy discovering writers new to me, and sharing good writing with others.
My career has included time spent writing and editing technical documents, but it’s fiction that really moves me. I’ve reviewed for a number of different outlets over the years, and have been a judge in literary competitions.
I’m now raising little bookworms of my own, which brings a whole new kind of joy to sharing books.
More of my reviews can be found on my review blog www.otherdreamsotherlives.home.blog .