Wednesday, 29 June 2016

Book Review: First Comes Love by Emily Giffin

First Comes Love by Emily Giffin
Publication Date: June 28th, 2016
Format: An eCopy of this book via First to Read (thanks Penguin, you're awesome!)
Rating: 5 stars
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 wanted to read this book because it involved two sisters. It might seem a bit odd, especially since I always wanted a sister of my own, but sometimes - reading books like this - makes me wonder what could've been had I actually had my own sister. Nothing against my two little brothers, of course. They mean the world to me. But, sometimes, I wonder how things could've been had things been different.

For Josie and Meredith, they're more likely to wonder how better things would be without each other in their life.

Alright, that may seem a bit harsh. In fact, as far as I know, they were good friends. At least that's what was implied. All of it changed when, one evening, their brother - Daniel - passed away from a car crash. Just like that - it only took one moment to break what little hold these girls had on each other. That, and a secret that never came to light until years later.

They both live different lives now - Meredith got to marry one of her good friends and also birthed a little girl named Harper. She also has what would be considered a perfect job - instead of being an actress, she pursued being a lawyer and got her wish. Money's never an issue anymore and they look like a happy family. But nothing's ever what it looks like on the outside.

Josie wanted the family that her sister have. If it wasn't for the fact that Will, her ex, decided to move on and marry another woman... it might have happened the way she wanted it to be. But at least she has a job that she loves - working as a first grade teacher. Nothing really shook her to the core about it until she noticed a familiar name on her roster: Edie, her ex husband's child. It felt like the world was laughing at her and everyone was in on the joke but her. To make things worse - Edie is a wonderful young girl.

But something had to change. Josie wanted a baby. She wanted a family. She couldn't bring herself to wait any longer. She was going to have a child - even if it means getting medically inseminated to let it happen.

But the anniversary of their brother's death is coming and their mother wants to see Sophie - Daniel's ex girlfriend - as a way to make the anniversary that much special. But even with that little reminder, Meredith and Josie find each other between their own little rock and a hard place to rediscover what it means to cope with such a big loss but also learning how to love themselves and their family.

This story is more than just what the synopsis states. I've always been the kind of reader that, even though the book discusses about a topic I normally don't read, immediately gets pulled in with the emotions I feel just reading the words. This book left me glued to my seat. It wasn't difficult to get the two sisters confused with each other - which is a huge plus for me because, sometimes, I easily slip up and get confused over which one's which - and I started feeling sympathy for each one of them for different reasons.

For Meredith, I related to her mental health and sometimes falling for everything a psychologist tells her. Although I don't have OCD, like she does, it's my anxiety that makes me so on edge that I find myself screaming if something is in the wrong place because it's one of the few things I could actually control in my life. I guess I found a bit of me in Mere than I thought I would.

For Josie, I feel like we're both impatient, impulsive (I'm getting better at that, though, hah), and mildly self-centered sometimes. At one point, I was reminded about that so many times that - just like Josie - I started to question whether I was really selfish. We both know what we want, even though sometimes we don't follow through. That's not a bad thing. That's how things are.

It doesn't change the fact that things change as you grow up. You carry these expectations on you - saying you want to major in college in this and then eventually landing a job related to that - with thoughts that this is going to happen exactly as it should. But things change. Plans divert down another path, one that you probably never wanted to take. But, here you are. I think this book helps remind you that, despite plans not working out, things are okay and will be okay. You'll be okay.

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