Published by Random House, Ballantine Books on 6/28/16
Genres: Fiction, Women's Fiction
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In this dazzling new novel, Emily Giffin, the #1 New York Times bestselling author of Something Borrowed, Where We Belong, and The One & Only introduces a pair of sisters who find themselves at a crossroads.
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 family, their different responses to the event splinter their delicate bond.
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 ends up in 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 they need each other more than they knew . . . and that in the recipe for true happiness, love always comes first.
Emotionally honest and utterly enthralling, First Comes Love is a story about family, friendship, and the courage to follow your own heart—wherever that may lead.
I always have a difficult time writing reviews for these kinds of books; the ones that leave me in a sort of open state. By that, I mean a state in which my mind hasn’t quite settled yet as I’m still going over what transpired, and my mind is still racing down the tracks, experiencing this ride, long after the train has stopped. In this moving story about love and family, Emily Giffin explores relationships, particularly the sibling relationship, and how love endures even after crushing heartbreak. She introduces two characters that leave an indelible impression, both of whom will be on my mind; I’m sure, for years to come. Kind of like the first two female characters that made me fall in love with her stories in the first place. 🙂
First Comes Love follows two sisters and their complicated relationship after they both experience a life-altering loss. Josie and Meredith, the middle child and baby in a trio of siblings, have a bond that can best be described as complex. They’re sisters who love each other dearly, but have no idea how to show it because they’re fundamentally different, and those differences become even greater after tragedy rocks their family. I’m not going to get into the plot too much, because I think the synopsis covers as much as you should know going into the story.
Anyone who has siblings, especially any woman who has a sister, knows that there isn’t a bond more complicated and rife with contradictions. It’s a loving and supporting relationship but it can also consist of jealousy and competitiveness. Your sister can bring out your best self and your most selfish, embarrassing self all in the span of a few minutes. Sure, there are sibling relationships more mellow than the one captured in First Comes Love; ones that stand on a foundation of mutual interest and camaraderie, but I think Emily Giffin’s portrayal of Josie and Meredith — two modern women with the world at their disposal, who follow their own paths, mostly unhindered by societal expectations so they’re really able to do, in essence, whatever the f*ck they want with their lives — is the picture that more accurately shows the layers that make up this bond today.
I loved the characters in this book: Meredith and her husband, Josie and her best friend, their parents, their friends, they are all exceptional, all layered, none of them cliche or predictable. I wasn’t even able to pick a favorite between the sisters, and I always have a favorite! I identified with both characters, I loved both characters, I disliked both characters, and I honestly rooted for both characters. That is rare for me, because I can be biased as hell.
Emily Giffin has the uncanny ability to enrich and entertain, and that’s why she’ll always be a go-to author of mine. This is an honest portrayal of love and family, a picture that shows flaws, reality, and beauty. This is a fantastic story; one that ended up consuming me while I was unaware. 400 pages flew by in what seemed like an eye blink. And when it was all over I’d experienced a wonderful, affecting, and truly thought-provoking story about two very complex, modern women – the kind of story that I always look to experience when I open a book, and the kind of story that I always experience with an Emily Giffin novel.