- Hardcover: 400 pages
- Publisher: Ballantine Books; First Edition edition (June 28, 2016)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 034554692X
- ISBN-13: 978-0345546920
- Product Dimensions: 6.4 x 1.2 x 9.5 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars See all reviews (921 customer reviews)
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #38,026 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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First Comes Love: A Novel Hardcover – June 28, 2016
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Praise for First Comes Love
“An engaging story of sisterly love . . . Illuminating and engrossing.”—People
“Giffin delivers another emotionally honest work. . . . First Comes Love is a heart-stirring novel about the many layers of sibling rivalry.”—Associated Press
“Kudos to Giffin for it takes a talented and resourceful writer to create a wealth of characters and have them all be fully described for the reader to understand and enjoy. . . . Two years is too long to have to wait for a new Emily Giffin book, but First Comes Love brings her back with a vengeance. Tales of sisters have been at the core of other great novels, but Giffin turns that relationship upside down and makes her view a fascinating one.”—Huffington Post
“This well-written and engaging story explores how relationships evolve and people can surprise us if we let them. . . . [First Comes Love] is sure to be a great discussion starter for book groups and a hit with [Giffin’s] many fans.”—Library Journal
“[A] well-written family drama.”—Real Simple
“Fans will be entertained by the author’s humor and satisfied by her storytelling”—Atlanta Journal-Constitution
“Another engaging hit from Emily Giffin . . . The characters are richly developed and their situations and conflicts are compelling. . . . Very engaging, fast-paced, witty and satisfying.”—Fredericksburg Free Lance-Star
“In an enthrallingly emotional journey of understanding, happiness and forgiveness, First Comes Love is this year’s most powerful reminder to never give up on family.”—SheKnows.com
“With her tale of love, loss, and self-exploration, Giffin adds what will surely be another fan favorite to her repertoire. With each release, the author proves to be one of the leading ladies of the . . . genre.”—RT Book Reviews
“This is Giffin at her finest—a fantastic, memorable story.”—Publishers Weekly
“First Comes Love is an un-put-down-able, smart, and thoughtful novel that will make you think about the nature of family and how our past informs our present.”—PopSugar
“Moving and complex, [First Comes Love] proves [that Emily Giffin is] still at the top of her game.”—Booklist
“Giffin juggles Josie’s quest for motherhood and Meredith’s internal conflicts deftly. . . . Giffin paints a realistic portrait of the troubled and complex relationship between a pair of sisters. Beyond the sisters, the novel is rich with well-drawn characters, from Gabe, Josie’s best friend and platonic roommate, to Sophie, Daniel’s girlfriend at the time of his death. Giffin’s fans will be pleased with this fast-paced, witty, and thoughtful new offering.”—Kirkus Reviews
“Giffin’s talent is pretty much unparalleled when it comes to the modern woman’s story about life, love and family.”—Redbook
Praise for Emily Giffin
“Emily Giffin ranks as a grand master. . . . She has traversed the slippery slopes of true love, lost love, marriage, motherhood, betrayal, forgiveness and redemption that have led her to be called ‘a modern-day Jane Austen.’ ”—Chicago Sun-Times
“A dependably down-to-earth, girlfriendly storyteller.”—The New York Times
“Giffin’s talent lies in taking relatable situations and injecting enough wit and suspense to make them feel fresh.”—People
“Emily Giffin is the creator of characters so real and so enthrallingly flawed that people sometimes forget they are fictional.”—Atlanta Journal-Constitution
“When it comes to writing stories that resonate with real women, bestselling author Emily Giffin has hit her stride.”—San Francisco Chronicle
“Giffin knows a thing or two about writing a page turner.”—Southern Living
“Giffin’s writing is true, smart, and heartfelt.”—Entertainment Weekly
About the Author
Emily Giffin is the author of eight internationally bestselling novels: Something Borrowed, Something Blue, Baby Proof, Love the One You’re With, Heart of the Matter, Where We Belong, The One & Only, and First Comes Love. A graduate of Wake Forest University and the University of Virginia School of Law, she lives in Atlanta with her husband and three children.
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Top Customer Reviews
Let me start out by saying that Emily Giffin can write and she does it well. The book sucked me in from the very beginning. The opening chapter--the preview, really--was the best written part of this book. Once I started reading, I devoured the book in a day. It kept me interested and engaged all day yesterday--but the conclusion infuriated me enough that I am up this morning writing this review.
Giffin is the rare author that can make poignant emotional observations and not weigh them down under too flowery prose. She writes simply but allows the reader to experience emotional highs/low. She successfully allows you to get into the rich inner lives of other people. She knows how to hold up a mirror to our latest societal obsessions--facebook, etc. She understands the language of women and is an expert at crafting female relationships that resonated. She also NAILS Buckhead/Atlanta, and having lived there (in her neighborhood, no less) years ago, I recognized the world she drew and enjoyed revisiting. All that was great.
These are not very likable characters.
At first, I overlooked their flaws thinking that part of a well-written narrative involves making the reader feel slightly superior to the characters, who after all, are there to grow, right? Flawed characters are interesting. Initially, I appreciated how, for example, she illustrated that Meredith was a negative control freak and Josie was a self-involved drama queen. It reminded me a bit of Jennifer Weiner's "In Her Shoes" and I was excited to bite off a juicy read. I wanted to see Giffin's take on two clearly spoiled children and was excited to see their arc.
Only they did not grow all that much......and if anything, they morphed into even less likable versions of themselves. By the end, I thought of these two women as people I would not want in my life for a myriad of reasons--spoiled, whiny and not particularly concerned about anyone other than themselves.
The male characters are also thinly drawn...... Nolan, the husband, is not anyone I could recognize beyond just the whole "great husband" gig. He was the best drawn character of the bunch.
Pete, Gabe---all mirages whose actions I could identify but whose motivations remained hidden and poorly understood throughout. While I realize it's hard to write about other characters when you are writing from first person POV, the failure of the development of these characters is a direct result of shallow female protagonists with shallow motivations. Putting it another way, if you are writing in the first person about two narcissistic beyotches, chances are you are never going to get any depth of insight into anyone in their world. Which we didn't.
I think this was supposed to be an exploration of grief and it's lingering effects, but it did not work. I get the premise of the book--I am friends with a family that had such a loss, and the impact irrevocably changed their relationships, outlooks and dynamic--and not for the best. I thought this book was going there, but instead, it bypassed it. Instead of addressing the insights about grief--that it can make you stingy, protective, bitter etc--the author used a "not-that-meaningful secret" as a foible and it just missed the mark. It would have been easily forgivable, as a reader, if these characters had then not proceeded to leave the book with two acts of, well, self absorption. If you like the characters, (which I did not) you'd be alarmed at their final acts of self-sabotage. The book literally ends with two bad choices--train-wrecks in the making. Neither character inspires much admiration and if anything, one can't help but feel for their existing and future progeny. If this is their "you go girl" moments, we are in deep doo-doo as women. Their choices are for and about them and the impact of said choices are never explored. It is assumed that if it benefits these two women, then the hell with everyone else.
Finally, I noted something this time around that I realize has been a hallmark of Giffin books and this time it bothered me. Giffin has a hidden bias for "all that is pretty"---her characters are pretty, her setting are pretty. All fine and good as we are reading her books to escape, right?
Except for the fact that as I read, her observations about people reflected a worldview that is rapidly expiring: that the well-ordered life, the thin lulu-mom women "look" is desirable above all else. Now before you tell me I am being picky, let me say this. The world is changing. More and more women are throwing off the shackles of the "put together, affluent" window dressing of the last decade. People recognize that social media is a facade and while a few years ago, Pinterest and Instagram might have haunted more women, these days we are more apt to laugh at the expectations of perfection. We are more realistic about what is window dressing and its importance. Also, after years of financial excesses, 2008 changed us. Parents buying homes for their kids as a means to "keep up appearances" is simply passé and to note it as a "family choice" is loopy.
If you are going to write about women throwing off the shackles and getting divorces or pursuing single parenthood, but still keep in a subtle (but ever present) bias towards keeping up appearances, or insinuate that looking a certain way or having ample money or being a certain weight is a given--well, there is a disconnect there..... and it rang hollow. Writing about spoiled, materialistic, shallow women without ever calling them out on it is very 2006. There are various points when it becomes clear that it's not the characters who have a shallow world view, but rather the author.
First Comes Love is, I think, suppose to denote self-love? If that is the case, the characters have loads of that---what they needed to work on was loving other people and being appreciative for their incredible privilege in living such guilded lives.
So that's my review. A little harsh, yes. I enjoyed the book, read it in a day, and that says a lot. I will buy her next book but my hope is that Ms. Giffin takes some advice from her own characters. I hope she can escape Atlanta society for a jaunt outside her well manicured world so she can write with a bit more depth and self reflection. She is a great writer but the effects of her insular world are showing.....
Even so, I look forward to next summer's read. Compelling, readable......but a drama for and about the 1%.
Speaking of the end, it happened incredibly suddenly. I actually was shocked when I got to the last page because it felt so abrupt and strangely written. I legitimately expected another 50 or so pages, but maybe she's saving that for a sequel? Either way, I was very let down by the book.