Rediscovering Family and True Love // First Comes Love by Emily Giffin Book Review

First Comes Love Book Cover First Comes Love
Emily Giffin
Women's Fiction
Random House Publishing Group/Ballantine
July 28, 2016
Hardcover, Paperback, eBook, Audio

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.

The story that Emily Giffin has weaved is one that every reader can find something within to relate to. First Comes Love is about a family that slowly unravels after tragedy strikes one winter’s night and their many long years mend to regain the family core lost so many years ago.

I found myself reading at a slow pace as the story needs you to pay attention. It definitely is not a fast-paced read like thrillers, so be prepared to take your time and grow with the characters.

I liked:

Real-life story: One thing I like about Emily Giffin is that she writes stories that readers can relate to. Although maybe not the entire story line, I found myself at many spots throughout reading relating to specific events or having an event spark a memory. I do believe regardless of life, there is something that will make you say, “I totally get that!”

Realization: There is THE moment in reading when Josie and Meredith have clarity about each other. And not just clarity about each other, but themselves, as well. Each realizes that it was not the other sister’s path that put them in their own self-hate/self-quilt, but it was their own dramatization of how the other sister has lived that contributed.

I disliked:

Chapter hopping: The story is told in alternating views between the two sisters, Josie and Meredith, which I like; however, the story rotates views every other chapter… chapter one is one sister, chapter two is the other sister, and so on. The alternate views give a well developed story with insight into the family, but it can be confusing! On a roll with reading, I was sometimes lost as to which character chapter I was in and would either have to wait for a clue or go to the beginning of the chapter to see the name.

Irritating characters: I didn’t find myself liking Meredith much during the first half to 75 percent of the book. Meredith is the youngest sibling and is the self-appointed “do right by family” child after tragedy strikes. I really wanted to like Meredith because she seemed to take one for the family, but I think this self-appointment backfired on her life and it made her a character that I could easily dislike. I found myself more than once telling her to “chill out” and cringing when she would start whining. Thankfully, Josie and Meredith find a level path and this seems to allow Meredith to understand she can just be Meredith.

Overall, I found myself with a love/like relationship with First Comes Love. There are more moments of love and Emily Giffin stays true to her story-telling within. A story not just of finding love, but finding self, family, and what was lost. There is not much to hate, if anything, and do beleive it is a comfort read everyone can fall for. I give First Comes Love 4 out of 5 stars.

Emily Giffin is the author of seven internationally bestselling novels: Something Borrowed, Something Blue, Baby Proof, Love the One You’re With, Heart of the Matter, Where We Belong, and The One & Only. A graduate of Wake Forest University and the University of Virginia School of Law, she lives in Atlanta with her husband and three children.

Disclosure: I received a copy of this book through NetGalley courtesy of Random House Publishing – Ballantine for an honest review. All opinions are my own.