Thursday, July 14, 2016

Book Review: First Comes Love by Emily Giffin

Pages: 400
Genre: Adult Fiction
Pub. Date: June 28, 2016
Publisher: Ballatine Books
Source: Publisher for review
Other Books By Author: Something Borrowed
My Rating: 3.5 out of 5 stars

Goodreads says, "In this dazzling new novel, Emily Giffin, the #1 New York Timesbestselling 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."
Josie and Meredith are sisters, but they have little in common other than the fact that they share DNA.  They both, along with their parents, are trying to deal with their grief surrounding their brother's untimely death.  In addition to that, Josie is an elementary school teacher and feels like she is running out of time. She wants a family of her own, but feels the tick-tick-tock of her biological clock.  Plus, she still can't get over Will, her last boyfriend, who ended it with her many years ago. To complicate matters further, Will's daughter is in her classroom this year; obviously, this is a constant reminder of him.  Then there's Meredith.  She looks like she has it all from the outside. She's got a lovely daughter, an amazing career, and a hot husband, but she isn't happy.  She hates her job as a lawyer and her marriage to Nolan is starting to crumble.  Both sisters decide to take charge of their lives even if the changes maybe scary ones.  Also, the night of Daniel's death isn't as cut and dry as it seems. There are many secrets surrounding it and these truths will float to the surface.  Emily Giffin's First Comes Love is an compelling beach read that fans of family drama will enjoy.

Giffin paints a dire sisterly relationship in First Comes Love. More often than not, Josie and Meredith's relationship made me cringe. They bicker. A lot. And half the time it's over stupid stuff.  I guess this is a realistic representation of some sisterly relationships, but I found myself getting frustrated with both women. They are so unsupportive of each other; it was troubling.  However, it did keep me flipping the pages as both women are at major turning points in their lives.

One one hand, Josie and Meredith annoyed me, but on the other hand, I appreciated their struggles. Josie, feeling the pressure of her biological clock, wants a baby, but is tired of waiting for Mr. Right.  Meredith wants to reevaluate her career and then there's the question of whether she is ready for baby number two.  Does she even want another child? Does she even still love her husband? These are all big life questions that I think many people can relate to.  So, even though the sisters acted poorly at times, I still sympathized with them regarding their issues.

Then there's also the subplot of Daniel's death in First Comes Love.  Both sisters, especially Josie, really haven't dealt with it and one sister in particular is harboring secrets surrounding the details of the accident.  I don't want to give too much away, but with the anniversary of his death (15 years) coming up, both characters must deal with the difficult truth.

Although this wasn't my favorite of Giffin's novels, I still enjoyed the glimpse into a tense sisterly relationship and was rooting for both women to get their acts together by the novel's end.  


  1. Sounds like a story with lots of complicated relationships. I prefer to read stories about sisters that get along though I admit it is entertaining to read books with some conflict. I'm certainly glad my sister and are close though it definitely wasn't that way when we were teens! Nice review, Christina.

    1. Thanks, Christina! It definitely featured many complicated relationships. Thanks for visiting!

  2. Realistically, siblings tend to fight over stupid stuff but when it's different when I read about it. It's stressful to watch a confrontation or argument so reading about it defeats the purpose of why most people read in the first place: to de-stress.

    1. Yeah, exactly my thoughts. I have been reading a lot of stories that feature silly bickering. I just put down Elin Hilderbrand's latest for this very reason. Thanks for visiting, Joy!

  3. Not sure this is the book for me Christina as I'll likely get frustrated with both sisters and their less-than positive relationship, but I do want to know about this secret surrounding Daniel's death! Hopefully both sisters did get it together and were more supportive of each other in the end:)

    1. It definitely got better, but their relationship stressed me out at times. Ha. Thanks for dropping by, Jenny!


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