First Comes Love
by Emily Giffin
A family drama with tragedy, forgiveness and acceptance
First Comes Love is a story of two sisters struggling to make sense of their lives at the fifteenth anniversary of their brother’s tragic death in a car accident. Rosie, the spunky, extroverted sister is now a school teacher who has lost the love of her life and now lives with her best friend, a guy. Nearing forty, she had decided to use a sperm bank to conceive a child, and her quest is to find an appropriate donor. Meredith is the reserved control-freak actress-turned-lawyer married her brother’s best friend out of a feeling of obligation. Her quest is difficult to define; throughout the book, she’s trying to decide if she really loves her husband.
The family is torn apart due to the tragedy and the parents are divorced; Meredith has bought the family home, which ties her further to the past.
The two sisters have an unusually tumultuous relationship; most sisters I know (and my own) are really good friends. But tragedy has distanced them further. There is a passing mention of their relationship before the tragedy, but even that was hair-pulling and ‘won’t-share-my-necklace’ type of drama. At the end of the book, after painful secrets come out and each defines her own priorities, they come to an equilibrium of understanding.
The characters are deeply flawed: Rosie is self-indulgent and bossy without many redeeming qualities, something any protagonist needs to be relatable. Meredith is the jealous type who can’t find anything good about her sister or her own life. I didn’t like either character, but was compelled to complete the story.
The novel delves into the concepts of survivor’s guilt, forgiveness, jealousy, and the ultimate desire to follow your heart. The characters may not be likeable, but the story is well-written and riveting.
Buy it on Amazon.
All opinions on the books listed here are my own.