Monday, 8 August 2016

First Comes Love by Emily Giffin

Something Blue by Emily Giffin is one of my favourite books of all time. And ever since then, she's become one of my auto-buy authors. So imagine the hype when Hodder and Stoughton sent me her latest book First Comes Love ?! Yaaaaas COME THROUGH.

**I kindly received a copy from Hodder and Stoughton in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinions on the book.

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.

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.
 We meet Josie and Meredith years after their brother Daniel has died. Meredith on the onset has it all together: successful lawyer with the husband everyone wants and the cute child. Josie's life on the other hand couldn't be more different. She's had a string of failed relationships, really wants a baby but is 37, single and living with her guy BFF. Each admire the other's traits but for some reason cannot stand each other. And it is these layers of sibling rivalry, coupled with the repercussions of their grief that drive this story.

Neither Josie nor Meredith are perfect. Normally when I read a book, there's that one character that you think is so great. You find them in the third chapter or so and subconsciously decide to route for them for the rest of the book. But Josie and Meredith have been developed so well, with too many flaws that make them so human. So instead, you go on a journey as a reader whereby you get to know them as people and form your opinions of them right at the end. And because of everything that's happening to both of them, you can't help but route for them despite not loving or even liking them straight away. I couldn't tell what they would do next and that is what kept me reading, despite the story not being so action driven. That said, Daniel was the golden child in the family. This was at times frustrating because when a character is placed on such a pedestal, you feel as though you never have the complete picture and they don't feel real. I wish we'd seen a little more of a flawed past concerning Daniel and I was waiting for this to be the big twist. It never came.

Now we all know, when you're waiting for this big bang twist in a book and it doesn't happen ... it's pretty underwhelming and the story can feel like it's fallen apart. But I found myself loving this book anyway because it's just not that type of story. The beauty of this book is that its drama and emotion is a lot quieter, more built up and you have to read between the lines.

First Comes Love essentially deals with the effects of grief on one family and, how this grief has changed who they are as individuals, and the dynamics within the relationships they have with other people. And not only does Emily Giffin never fail in the familial drama department, the book is so well layered with themes such as love, friendship, grief and survivor's guilt.It's a well paced, beautiful story that'll have you hooked from beginning to end.

Rating: 4.5/5 Stars
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