Do you ever get sad when you finish a book?
I mean sad because you just read a book so good that while you race to finish, you’re sad when it’s over because you’re so invested in the characters that you still want more. I always feel sad at the end of an Emily Giffin book for that exact reason, but also because it means I have to wait at least two years to read another one of her novels.
Last week, I finished First Comes Love two days after I started it (and that’s with a toddler in the house). I’d been waiting for this book to come out for months, so I did get that pang of sadness when it was over because what I’d been looking forward to for so long was now behind me. This book was the first book I read off of my summer reading list and my eighth book of my 2016 reading challenge.
As I mentioned here, I love Emily Giffin, so, when I got an email from Goodreads telling me that they were holding a drawing for an advance copy of First Comes Love, I had to enter. A couple of weeks later, I couldn’t sleep one night, so I checked my email and saw that I had won one of 50 copies of her new book! Ack! The book doesn’t come out for another month (June 28, to be exact), so if you’re a Giffin fan (or if this review sparks your interest), be sure to pre-order it now!
First Comes Love follows the lives of two sisters – Josie and Meredith. The two women have a contentious relationship stemming from the fact that they are complete opposites. Josie is single, loves to party and be the center of attention and is incredibly outgoing, while Meredith is married with a child, conservative and reserved. The book begins in December 2001 and tells the story of a family tragedy that further fractures their already delicate relationship. Flash forward 15 years, the two sisters are now in their 30s with each following her own path in life. While they are both at a crossroad in life, by the end of the book, they come together to confront the past, resolve their differences and try to achieve their own happiness in the life, love and family.
One of the things I love most about Emily Giffin’s writing is that she creates characters that are flawed, but still likable. Many of her books switch back and forth with main characters narrating different chapters and I think it speaks highly of her writing that while one is narrating, I empathize greatly with them and dislike the other character and vice versa when the narrator switches. It’s so interesting to me to read the same story from two different sides and points of view and understand the thought processes of each character. I wasn’t 100% satisfied with the ending of this book like I have been with others because there wasn’t the huge resolution I was hoping for and many questions about each woman were left unanswered. While both Josie and Meredith had some “lightbulb moments” in regard to life and what decisions to make, I didn’t see a great deal of growth in them from the beginning of the book to the end. That’s not to say the characters weren’t well-formed, but I didn’t get that big payoff in the end of knowing where each story “ended.” One hallmark of Giffin’s books is that in each one, she brings back characters from past books to play supporting parts. In this book Ellen, the leading lady from Love the One You’re With, makes some appearances as Meredith’s best friend. Since I didn’t get the big resolution I was hoping for for Josie or Meredith, I hope they pop up in Giffin’s next book in order to see where they ended up in life. I would love to see how the two sister’s relationship evolves and what happens in each of their love lives.
In the big picture, First Comes Love is a novel that depicts the modern woman’s life and how each woman reaches happiness in her own way and how that happiness is completely different for each. The path that Josie decides to take to fulfill her life may be too far-fetched for some to believe, but it really is a modern tale that is most certainly relatable to many single, thirty-something women. For Meredith, she realizes that the path she’s taken in life, may not have been of her own choosing, but taken in order to make her family happy, even if that meant sacrificing her true wants and needs.
The award for my favorite Emily Giffin book still belongs to Something Borrowed and Where We Belong, but this one was also another wonderful read that once finished will make you sad that you have to wait at least two more years for another Emily Giffin masterpiece. The characters were likable and relatable and I look forward to (hopefully!) seeing how their story resolves in a future book!
If you’d like to read about the other books I’ve read this year as part of my reading challenge, you can find my reviews here:
The Chase by Janet Evanovich and Lee Goldberg
The Secret Keeper by Kate Morton
Did You Ever Have a Family by Bill Clegg
A Window Opens by Elisabeth Egan
Stars over Sunset Boulevard by Susan Meissner
All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr
The Heist by Janet Evanovich and Lee Goldberg
You can also find me on Goodreads!