A heads up to future readers: if you are currently looking for a light, uplifting novel, A Week of Warm Weather is not the book for you to grab off the shelves right now. If you’re in the mood to read a grim tale of how toxic secrets in a family eat away relationships from the inside, not just in the present but for years to come, pick up this book and get to it!
The people who appear to have it all–a great spouse, a wonderful home, charming children–may very well be concealing pain and generational trauma deep in their hearts. This is the case of Tessa Cordelia, wife of a newly successful dentist and mother of an adorable newborn baby girl. Her extended family, who she is very close to, lives nearby and is happy to help out with childcare and other tasks whenever Tessa asks. Throughout the novel, she constantly reminds herself that she is lucky to lead the life that she does.
However, when she was a young girl herself, Tessa’s mother walked out on her family, leaving her father crushed and herself and her siblings sad and confused. Author Lee Bukowski slowly reveals through Tessa’s inner narrative that this trauma is still informing Tessa’s own decisions and has shaped her outlook on life to an unhealthy degree: when Tessa discovers that her husband, Ken, has a secret that could destroy their family’s idealistic life, she makes decisions based off of her own traumatic experiences at age eight. The problem is that Tessa is so hyper-focused on trying to prevent her daughter from experiencing similar pain as herself that she fails to see the entirety of the big picture, plagued with self-doubt, never quite being able to do what she knows is right in her heart until the final chapters of her story.
Portions of the story had me nearly screaming at my e-reader, “Tessa, my goodness, do the right thing here! You can do it!”, only to discover that she makes a less-than-ideal decision a few pages later. While frustrating for the reader, it’s also very realistic, and nothing in the book is so fantastical to bring it out of the realm of possibility. I feel as if Bukowski wrote this to help some readers understand why people make the frustrating decisions they do, and to give people in unideal situations some hope and courage that they can exit the situation without massive judgment from the family and friends surrounding them. This is a solid debut novel, and I’m looking forward to any future books by Lee Bukowski.
Disclaimer: I received an ARC from Reedsy Discovery for free and read it on my 10th generation Kindle Oasis. I was not paid for this review, and all opinions are my own. This review originally appeared on Reedsy Discovery.
Title: A Week of Warm Weather
Author: Lee Bukowski
Publication Date: 07 June 2022
Print Length: 331 pages
Marie’s Rating: 4 out of 5 stars