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In this dazzling new novel, Emily Giffin, the #1 New York Times bestselling author of Something Borrowed, Where We Belong, and The One & Only introduces a pair of sisters who find themselves at a crossroads.

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.

Fifteen years later, Josie and Meredith are in their late thirties, following very different paths. Josie, a first grade teacher, is single—and this close to swearing off dating for good. What she wants more than the right guy, however, is to become a mother—a feeling that is heightened when her ex-boyfriend’s daughter ends up in her class. Determined to have the future she’s always wanted, Josie decides to take matters into her own hands.

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. (via Goodreads)

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I received a digital ARC of this from Netgalley and Ballentine Books in exchange for an honest review of it,.

Emily Giffin is a New York Times Best Selling Author who usually writes about hard romantic topics in a sensitive way. I enjoyed Something Borrowed and Something Blue, so when I saw this on Netgalley, I knew that I had to request First Comes Love. I didn’t love it as much as I loved the previous two, partially because I didn’t really like the sisters that were our main characters.

Josie was impetuous and headstrong, going after what she wanted, but usually didn’t think through the consequences of her actions or words. Meredith was incredibly practical and sentimental, to her own detriment, and this finally blows up her entire life when she tells her husband she isn’t interested in having another child. Neither of them had ever dealt with the death of their older brother, Daniel. They both drove me crazy in their own ways, and I really wanted to knock their heads together, because I honestly think that that would have given them something to agree on. However, I felt like I understood what they were feeling throughout the novel, which shows the skill in Giffin’s writing.

While there was romance in this novel, the love that the title comes from is really about family, which made a nice change. Giffin had some beautiful prose in First Comes Love, like this quote at the very end of the novel.

“I know by now that you can’t control your life, no matter how hard you try. That inevitably people leave and disappoint and die. But there is one constant, one thing you can always count on: that not only does love come first, but in the end, it is the only thing that remains.”

Since this really wasn’t my thing, I’m rating it 3 stars. I’m sure that it will be more powerful for others, but it just didn’t hit the mark for me.

three stars

First Comes Love is 400 pages and is out on shelves tomorrow, June 28th!

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