Disclaimer: A review copy was provided by the Penguin First-to-Read program in exchange for an honest review. No other remuneration was received.
Book Title: FIRST COMES LOVE
Author: Emily Giffin
Author’s Website: http://www.emilygiffin.com/
Release Date: June 28, 2016
Main Characters: Josie, Meredith
Find It: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Kobo | IndieBound
Source: Review Copy provided by Penguin Random House First-to-Read program, ebook format
Rating: 4 Surprised Batty Moons!
Growing up, Josie and Meredith Garland shared a loving, if sometimes contentious, relationship. Josie was impulsive, spirited, and outgoing, Meredith hardworking, thoughtful, and reserved. When tragedy strikes, their delicate bond splinters.
Fifteen years later, Josie and Meredith are in their late thirties, following very different paths. Josie, a first grade teacher, is single—and this close to swearing off dating for good. What she wants more than the right guy, however, is to become a mother—a feeling that is heightened when her ex-boyfriend’s daughter is assigned to her class. Determined to have the future she’s always wanted, Josie decides to take matters into her own hands.
On the outside, Meredith is the model daughter with the perfect life. A successful attorney, she’s married to a wonderful man, and together they’re raising a beautiful four-year-old daughter. Yet lately Meredith feels dissatisfied and restless, secretly wondering if she chose the life that was expected of her rather than the one she truly desired.
As the anniversary of their tragedy looms, and painful secrets from the past begin to surface, Josie and Meredith must not only confront the issues that divide them but also come to terms with their own choices. In their journey toward understanding and forgiveness, both sisters discover that they need each other more than they knew—and that in the search for true happiness, love always comes first.
READ ON FOR MY REVIEW!
Confession time, AGAIN. Actually, there are two here. The first: I don’t read women’s fiction. I just don’t. I read some “must reads” of the genre in the past, and I hated most of them. They portrayed women as these one-dimensional, whiny, self-obsessed, man-crazy, shoe-addicted, shrill, obnoxious stereotypes. Some of those books just won’t go away, either, and are still considered “great” books. I know, I know, it’s not my place to judge the taste of others, but I feel perfectly free, as a woman and a reader, to criticize what I am reading. (And yes, I do it to my favored genres also! There are a number of wildly popular series that I don’t read because of their depiction of women, men, and sex.) So, because only a couple of those books actually entertained me, I have shied away from Women’s fiction.
I have no idea what made me choose FIRST COMES LOVE. I think I just joined the Penguin Random House First to Read program, and I was excited to get the chance to read and review some big name mainstream fiction. This leads to my second confession.When I started reading it, and pretty much until close to the middle, I thought about DNF-ing it. The main characters were unbearable. I mean to the point that I wanted to huck my Kindle against the wall so I could FICTION-KILL THEM, and then scrub my brain so I never had to think about them again. I could not find a single reason why I should find this entertaining, and I started starving for a nice urban fantasy.
But then I started to like it. I couldn’t put it down. The characters achieved real depth for me, and I started to sympathize with the things they were dealing with in a way I didn’t think I could in the beginning. As truths and secrets were revealed, the emotional power of FIRST COMES LOVE became unavoidable. I cried quite a bit. The importance of the primary situation that drove the book finally stopped feeling overblown and started feeling genuinely earth-shattering. It was very much like I was getting to know these characters and their world, and as I did, their motivations and personalities made a lot more sense.
I stopped loathing them, and started feeling for them, and wanting things to work out for the best. The clever part of Ms. Giffin’s style is that she wrote the story so it wasn’t absolutely clear what the best should or would be. That was a great trick that kept me reading long into the night.
This is women’s fiction, so there’s no guarantee of an HEA or HFN, and I’m not going to tell you what we got. But I am going to tell you that this PNR/UF and darker romance fan was pleased and surprised to end up liking this so much! I have to give it a hearty:
4 BATTY MOONS!