first comes love book coverReviewed by Carrie Ardoin

There are few things in life stronger than the bond between siblings, which is why, when it is shattered, lives can be changed forever. Emily Giffin’s novel First Comes Love explores this phenomenon in quite an emotional offering.

Growing up, Daniel Garland often had to be the go between for his two younger sisters, Josie and Meredith. Josie, the middle child and known for her partying ways, and Meredith, serious, unflinching, perfectionist, couldn’t be more different. Then, in an instant, they lose their brother–the rock, the golden child, the glue holding the family together. Not only does the relationship between the two women become hopelessly and instantly strained, but their parents divorce, they lose touch with friends, and more.

The events in this book take place fifteen years after Daniel’s death. Everyone’s lives have moved forward with time, but their hearts are still broken.

Josie, now a teacher, is pushing 40 with no romantic prospects and a ticking biological clock. Meredith is a lawyer, mother, and wife to Daniel’s childhood best friend. As the fifteen year anniversary of the death comes around, the sisters clash again and again as they cannot fathom each other’s decisions, but they can’t stay out of each other’s lives, either.

Emily Giffin is a fantastic author with a real knack for getting inside her character’s heads. The chapters are told from both Meredith and Josie’s alternating points of view, and it’s fascinating to see how one sister internalizes what the other meant, when often times they are so wrong about the other’s intentions. The reader gets to see both of their true thoughts, feelings, plans, and the ways they hide the truth from one another.

I have three younger siblings myself, so I absolutely know about the intricacies between brothers and sisters, and Giffin nails it. So often we have to bite our tongues not to hurt our sister or brother’s feelings, but other times they need to hear that truth, no matter how harsh.

I found some parts slightly predictable, but others really surprised me–such as the meeting with Daniel’s former girlfriend. I very much enjoyed getting to know the characters, so the book really flew by. I have to say even though it wasn’t truly a happily ever after, I was very satisfied with the ending. Emily Giffin has written another probable bestseller.

Carrie runs the blog Sweet Southern Home, and is a stay at home wife and mom to one little boy. When she’s not reading, she’s usually watching Netflix with her husband, playing outside with her son, or baking. Her family would describe her as sometimes annoyingly sarcastic, but mostly lovable. 

Review copy was provided free of any obligation by Ballantine Books. No monetary or any other form of compensation was received.