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The First Husband: A Novel Paperback – April 24, 2012

4.0 out of 5 stars 125 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Review

"A fresh funny take on the search for a soulmate." —People Magazine

"A wry, intelligent novel that is playful, unpredictable and emotionally resonant." —USA Today

"What distinguishes Dave are her keen observations about the difficulty of creating lasting love in a freedom obsessed society. A decadent novel with an ending as satisfying as cream cheese frosting." —Marie Claire

"Compulsively readable. The story has it all: a heroine I couldn't help but root for, a budding romance I wanted to succeed, and an ending that left me smiling." —Woman's World

"Positively shines with wisdom and intelligence. What truly sets Dave apart from her peers is her ability to convey the contradictions and imperfections, the inherent impossibility of true love, and yet somehow still make you believe in it." —Jonathan Tropper, author of This Is Where I Leave You

"In an honest and heartfelt tale, Laura Dave masterfully explores the big questions: Should you have said yes? Waited? Answered that call you ignored? Filled with sparkling wit and pithy observation, The First Husband is everything I love about contemporary women's fiction." —Jen Lancaster, author of If You Were Here

"For anyone who wonders if she has found 'the one,' The First Husband is a wonderfully witty novel about love and loss, and about how to find a happy home. I loved every moment, every page, and you will too." —Allison Winn Scotch, author of The One That I Want

"You want meet-cute? Young women and wrong men? Burgeoning careers and best friends? Dave's your gal." —Washington Post 

"Fizzy, amusing." —Entertainment Weekly

"An inspring account of a woman who ceases her external travels to become her own compass. I have more insight into my own life after reading this book, and I thank Laura Dave for that gift." —Publishers Weekly

"The First Husband is a witty and insightful look at love and the human dilemma of making the right choice about marriage." —Psychology Today

"[A] page-turning story about modern love and what makes one feel safe and at home. It is sure to attract readers who enjoy Emily Giffin." —Library Journal

"Clever, funny, relatable, and not predictable. I was completely wooed." —Yahoo Shine

About the Author

Laura Dave is the international bestselling author of Eight Hundred Grapes, The First Husband, The Divorce Party, and London is the Best City in America. Her novels have been published in fifteen countries and optioned as major motion pictures. Dave's writing has appeared in The New York Times, Glamour, Self, Redbook, and Cosmopolitan. She lives in Santa Monica.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin Books; Reprint edition (April 24, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0143121022
  • ISBN-13: 978-0143121022
  • Product Dimensions: 5 x 0.7 x 7.7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 6.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (125 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #98,289 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
I first reviewed this for Luxury Reading blog.

When The First Husband opens we find Annie Adams completely content in her life: she gets to tour the world writing her rather successful travel column; her long term boyfriend, Nick, is beginning to taste success as a film director; her much-loved dog, Mila, is keeping her feet warm. What could go wrong? In the next breath her world begins to unravel: Nick announces he is leaving her for the possibility of a better life with a better woman, taking her beloved Mila with him; she learns her job is potentially in danger since the paper has been taken over by a new owner; the once comforting home she shared with Nick becomes filled with the memories of what they had and what will no longer be.

With the push of her best friend, Jordan (Nick's sister), Annie decides to thrust herself back into life to see if it will stick. She finds herself in a beachside restaurant after hours, where she meets Griffin who is highlighting as Executive chef until the permanent chef returns and he goes home to small town Massachusetts to open his own restaurant. Annie instantly feels connected to Griffin and decides that he might be the new lease on life she was looking for, her way to be someone new and improved. As they get to know each other the time dwindles until Griffin must go back to the life he had only temporarily put on hold...with one new addition: Annie.

Annie takes a leap and accepts Griffin's impromptu wedding proposal, traveling to Massachusetts, by way of Las Vegas and a little wedding chapel, ready to begin anew. What she doesn't expect when they arrive is Griffin's brother, Jesse, waiting at their home with his two rambunctious and sticky twin boys, declaring he and his wife are separated.
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Format: Hardcover
Thirty-one year old Annie Adams has a love/hate relationship with the Audrey Hepburn movie, "Roman Holiday." On the one hand, she adores this charming and entertaining film. On the other hand, every time she watches it, something terrible happens: her parents announce that they are divorcing, an exciting job offer is withdrawn, and the house that she plans to move into burns down. Should Annie watch her "comfort movie" and tempt fate once again? She is almost thirty-two, secure in her job as a travel writer, and content to be the live-in girlfriend of an aspiring filmmaker, Nick Campbell. After Annie views the DVD, lightning does indeed strike again. Nick announces that he needs a break from their relationship. Annie is devastated: "My heart broke open...."

This splendid beginning is the best part of a novel that is eons away from any resemblance to real life. In "The First Husband," Laura Dave would have us believe that soon after Nick's departure, a sweet man named Griffin makes a play for Annie and she falls in love. Three months later, he proposes and she accepts. They move to a small town in Massachusetts, where her boyfriend, a chef, plans to open up his own restaurant.

Complications ensue. Griffin has an ex-girlfriend, Gia, who may still carry a torch for him, and Annie's job is imperiled. In addition, the author falls back on such clichés as a mouthy but good-hearted best friend, Jordan, who both supports and bosses Annie around; Griffin's wacky and irresponsible brother; and his obnoxious mother. The plot spirals downward from there.

The book's central theme is the familiar one about how we often miss the forest for the trees. Annie is confused about her priorities.
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Format: Hardcover
Author Laura Dave first captured my attention with London Is the Best City in America, continued to enchant me with The Divorce Party, and has once again exceeded my high expectations with her latest novel, The First Husband.

The story of Annie Adams, just shy of 32 and fresh off a breakup from her live-in boyfriend, could easily slip into cookie cutter territory, but Dave steers away from the predictable and embraces all the nitty-gritty, rough edges of relationships, exploring love and loss with reality-colored glasses on.

Put simply, have you ever read a book and thought to yourself, "In the movie version of this, who can I see playing the protagonist/main character?" You proceed to check through a list of celebrities, then come as close as you can to casting perfection.

Well, with The First Husband (as well as Dave's other amazing books), I can see myself as the main character--not in a narcissistic way, but in a relatable, real way. It's like Dave crawled inside my head and plucked out various thoughts and feelings I've had over the years regarding love, life, career and family. In short, Dave writes for her readers, not at them.

In The First Husband, I adore Dave's ability to seamlessly reference Saved By The Bell while explaining a friendship's back story, her observation of the perils of the Internet ("Nowadays you've got to try not to get emotionally involved with someone else; you have to try not to reach out to an old fling and start shrieking about maybe we're meant to be."), how she ponders the advice: "be the opposite of you", her use of a Wilco concert as a major plot point, and the way she notes the use of Facebook "status" (as a way of proclaiming you're "over" someone else).
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