Book Title: First Comes Love
Author: Emily Griffin
Genres: Chick Lit, Contemporary, Fiction, Romance
Date Read: 7/15/2017
Rating: 5 Stars
The day after Daniel’s twenty-fifth birthday and three days before Christmas:
He was halfway through his third year of medical school at Yale and had just returned home to Atlanta, for the holidays bringing with him his girlfriend, Sophie, a beautiful upper crust Brit whom Daniel once called the most charming woman he had ever met. The two had been dating for more than a year. However, this was her first visit to Atlanta, as well as meeting his parents and sisters.
Daniel was the golden child:
The firstborn. The older brother. A perfectionist. Sensitive and sentimental, quirky and kind. A tragic accident. A sliding on a patch of ice at the intersection of Moores Mill and Northside Drive in Atlanta, less than two miles from their home. A truck hit his car at the corner.
Where was he going the night of the accident which took his life? Out for a burger or more? Everyone has guilt. An accident which rocked their family and indirectly caused their parents to divorce.
The devastating aftermath:
They discovered years later there was more to the story the night Daniel died. More than one memory from Five Paces Buckhead. That night changed all their lives in ways they had never imagined.
Fifteen years later:
The guilt and regrets begin to surface for the entire family. The what ifs. Choices made, their pain never ceased. Still reeling, regretting, wondering, what if. A family torn apart.
If Daniel had lived, he would have been saving lives, practicing medicine, happily married to Sophie, father of two or three children, turning forty. He understood nothing was as important as family. Love comes first. Everyone had pictured perfection in his future, now shattered.
Elaine and Rob:
Attorneys, parents, residing in Atlanta. A broken marriage since the death of their son. A dad who started drinking. Two broken remaining daughters – total opposites. They never got along before their brother’s death and now it seems the tension is intensified.
The mother is planning a 15 year anniversary in memory of Daniel. Something which occurred in the past. Good or bad, a date to remember. Tensions are high. Stirring up old emotions. Will they invite their father, who has a new girlfriend, Marcia? She wants to include Sophie. The woman they have not seen since Daniel’s death. Closure. What is her life now? Did she move on?
Readers hear from both sisters. They both despise one another and are keeping Secrets.
A lawyer in Atlanta married to Daniel’s childhood best friend, Nolan for almost seven years. Mother to daughter, Harper. She was hardworking, persistent, and more of a loner. She is very unhappy. An introvert. She loved arts. She wanted to stay in New York. She is judgmental and miserable.
She thinks her sister, Josie, is self-centered and a drama queen. She loves her daughter, Harper. However, she is really not all that maternal. Nolan is a constant source of both comfort and sadness to her dad. What really drew the couple together in the beginning?
Meredith feels she is the child who has not screwed up. The strong one. She is even unsure of her marriage and how they were thrown together due to the death of her brother. Nolan was her brother’s best friend. A fixture in the family. Love? Now she is second guessing her entire life. What about her plays, Broadway, the theater? Lost dreams. She is bitter. She put her plans on hold.
She kept thinking Will and Josie would get married and have the grandchildren. She could follow her heart. But it did not happen. She had married Nolan who worked at his family’s business in Atlanta. Her future turned into what she had imaged for her sister. No New York.
Was she really selfless and noble putting her parents first or was she spineless? She had been determined to be their parent’s stable- the successful child; the salve, on their still open wounds. She wanted their family to be normal again. Meredith views Josie as the extrovert, party gal, and in some ways she is jealous of her down deep. She does what she wants. Meredith and Nolan bought the family house from her mother in Atlanta. Everything to make the family seem perfect. Is she the real coward?
Classic Josie, calling shots, making demands, creating drama. Why couldn’t she be happy for her sister wanting to have a baby, even though in an untraditional way?
A first grade teacher in Atlanta and grad of University of Georgia--wants more than anything to be a mother. She is more free-spirited. At age 37, she has no prospects for marriage or even dating so she is seriously thinking of going the donor route. She is now going through profiles to pick the perfect one. She also has a roommate hipster, Gabe (they are best friends) and a big support for her. They click. It is time for a new school year. New children. Excitement. Fourteen years of teaching, she loves it. She is fun, energetic, and creative. She thinks her sister is uptight and judgmental.
To make matters more stressful, her old boyfriend and the man she was to marry, Will’s daughter is in her class at school. He is married to the perfect wife and has the perfect daughter and younger son. Edie Carlisle, the firstborn of her most significant ex, Will Carlisle. They broke up eight years ago (long story behind this), and she is still not over him, completely. He shattered her world. He dumped her right before he married Andrea. The woman she has stalked. She hated herself for being mesmerized with her every move and shame at the same time.
Now she has to see the perfect family and the daughter every day; as a reminder of what she could have had. However, she likes the little girl. Now, Mrs. Will Carlisle volunteers to be room mom. Why does she have to be so nice?
From Match.com to a physical therapist named Pete, sperm donor decisions, and a strong desire to be a mom, Josie carefully makes decisions. Shop. Look. Research. Instead of her being the flighty one there is a role reversal when Meredith starts second guessing herself, her life, marriage and career.
A drunken night so long ago. Survivor’s guilt. Everything had come back to Daniel. The fairy tale life. Especially in the South. People fake things so much. Josie was definitely a better communicator than her sister Meredith.
A great read, mixed with wit and emotion! Josie was my favorite character.
Thanks for reading!