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The First Husband: A Novel

The First Husband: A Novel

3.7 47
by Laura Dave

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A savvy, page-turning novel about a woman torn between her husband and the man she thought she'd marry.

Annie Adams is days away from her thirty-second birthday and thinks she has finally found some happiness. She visits the world's most interesting places for her syndicated travel column and she's happily cohabiting with her movie director boyfriend


A savvy, page-turning novel about a woman torn between her husband and the man she thought she'd marry.

Annie Adams is days away from her thirty-second birthday and thinks she has finally found some happiness. She visits the world's most interesting places for her syndicated travel column and she's happily cohabiting with her movie director boyfriend Nick in Los Angeles. But when Nick comes home from a meeting with his therapist (aka "futures counselor") and announces that he's taking a break from their relationship so he can pursue a woman from his past, the place Annie had come to call home is shattered. Reeling, Annie stumbles into her neighborhood bar and finds Griffin-a grounded, charming chef who seems to be everything Annie didn't know she was looking for. Within three months, Griffin is Annie's husband and Annie finds herself trying to restart her life in rural Massachusetts.

A wry observer of modern love, Laura Dave "steers clear of easy answers to explore the romantic choices we make" (USA Today). Her third novel is packed with humor, empathy, and psychological insight about the power of love and home.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Dave (The Divorce Party) delivers an eager to please novel in this story of travel writer Annabelle Adams, whose world is turned upside down when Nick, her boyfriend of five years, leaves her. On the rebound, she meets Griffin, a chef who quickly marries her and whisks her from Los Angeles to his tiny hometown of Williamsburg, Mass. While Griffin is pretty much the perfect husband, Annie soon develops doubts about their relationship, fueled by smalltown living, the craziness of his family, and the unresolved feelings she has surrounding her breakup with Nick. Naturally, Nick resurfaces at a very inopportune moment for Griffin and forces Annie to truly decide between "an old love offering us happily ever after" and "that chance to be our best self." Annie's voice is clear if a bit heavy on Carrie Bradshawisms, and while there isn't much in the way of surprise or actual obstacles blocking the happily-ever-after, it's a cute story, capably told. (May)
Library Journal
Annie Adams's life is on the verge of bursting into full bloom. Having moved to L.A. with her director boyfriend, she finds success as a travel writer, and Nick's career is about to skyrocket him to fame. Then one day Nick comes home and tells Annie he's done with their relationship. After days of depression, Annie musters the energy to dress up and hit the town, where she meets Griffin. Sparks fly immediately, and she soon finds herself married and living in a small Massachusetts town where Griffin is opening his own restaurant. But while Annie loves Griffin, she is conflicted about her new life. Griffin's lovely ex lives around the corner, and Griffin's brother, Jesse, and Jesse's twin boys end up living with the newlyweds. Then Annie loses her travel column and faces life in a small town with personal complications and no job direction. When Nick arrives to take her back, she has to make a difficult decision. VERDICT Dave follows The Divorce Party and London Is the Best City in America with this page-turning story about modern love and what makes one feel safe and at home. It is sure to attract readers who enjoy Emily Giffin.—Beth Gibbs, Davidson, NC
Kirkus Reviews

The heroine of Dave's newest post-feminist chick-lit romance (The Divorce Party, 2008, etc.) must choose between the quiet life offered by her new husband and the fast lane her former lover represents.

Only days after 32-year-old Annie gets dumped by longtime live-in boyfriend Nick, an up-and-coming movie director, she meets Griffin at the chichi L.A. restaurant she frequents—talk about romantic fantasy: Annie's career as a monthly travel columnist pays well, apparently demands little time or difficult travel and is never seriously endangered—and where he is temporarily the chef. It seems to be love at first sight, although Annie's best friend Jordan, who also happens to be Nick's sister, calls Griffin "Rebound Guy." Three months after they meet, he proposes. They marry in a Vegas chapel on their way across the country to Griffin's western Massachusetts hometown, where he is about to open his own restaurant—Annie's job with a New York paper also allows her to live anywhere. But Williamsburg requires a lot of adjusting on Annie's part. Griffin's genius brother Jesse and his 5-year-old twins move in with the newlyweds because Jesse's wife has thrown him out for impregnating the MIT professor guiding his doctorate program. The twin's art teacher turns out to be Gia, until recently Griffin's girlfriend of 13 years, whom Griffin's mother makes clear she'd much prefer as a daughter-in-law. Then Nick shows up from his new base in London to win Annie back; she turns him down, but she feels stirrings. When the new Rupert Murdocklike owner of her paper offers her a job in London, Griffin encourages her to try it out. Soon she's settled in London in a fantastic apartment, the company is grooming her for a new dream job, the publisher's dashing son is wooing her and Nick is just a call away. What's a girl to do?

A lightweight romance posing as something realistic and psychologically profound.

From the Publisher
"A fresh funny take on the search for a soulmate." —People Magazine

"A wry, intelligent novel that is playful, unpredictable and emotionally resonant." —USA Today

"What distinguishes Dave are her keen observations about the difficulty of creating lasting love in a freedom obsessed society. A decadent novel with an ending as satisfying as cream cheese frosting." —Marie Claire

"Compulsively readable. The story has it all: a heroine I couldn't help but root for, a budding romance I wanted to succeed, and an ending that left me smiling." —Woman's World

"Positively shines with wisdom and intelligence. What truly sets Dave apart from her peers is her ability to convey the contradictions and imperfections, the inherent impossibility of true love, and yet somehow still make you believe in it." —Jonathan Tropper, author of This Is Where I Leave You

"In an honest and heartfelt tale, Laura Dave masterfully explores the big questions: Should you have said yes? Waited? Answered that call you ignored? Filled with sparkling wit and pithy observation, The First Husband is everything I love about contemporary women's fiction." —Jen Lancaster, author of If You Were Here

"For anyone who wonders if she has found 'the one,' The First Husband is a wonderfully witty novel about love and loss, and about how to find a happy home. I loved every moment, every page, and you will too." —Allison Winn Scotch, author of The One That I Want

"You want meet-cute? Young women and wrong men? Burgeoning careers and best friends? Dave's your gal." —Washington Post 

"Fizzy, amusing." —Entertainment Weekly

"An inspring account of a woman who ceases her external travels to become her own compass. I have more insight into my own life after reading this book, and I thank Laura Dave for that gift." —Publishers Weekly

"The First Husband is a witty and insightful look at love and the human dilemma of making the right choice about marriage." —Psychology Today

"[A] page-turning story about modern love and what makes one feel safe and at home. It is sure to attract readers who enjoy Emily Giffin." —Library Journal

"Clever, funny, relatable, and not predictable. I was completely wooed." —Yahoo Shine

Product Details

Penguin Group (USA) Incorporated
Publication date:
Product dimensions:
8.32(w) x 5.76(h) x 0.95(d)
Age Range:
18 Years

What People are Saying About This

From the Publisher
"Clever, funny, relatable, and not predictable. I was completely wooed." —Yahoo Shine

Meet the Author

Laura Dave is the author of the acclaimed novel London is the Best City in America. Her writing has appeared in The New York Times, Glamour, Self, Redbook, ESPN the Magazine, and The New York Observer. Cosmopolitan magazine recently named her one of the “Fun and Fearless Phenoms” of the year. Dave currently lives in California, where she is at work on a new novel.

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The First Husband 3.8 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 47 reviews.
nancymitchell More than 1 year ago
The First Husband is full of laughs and serves as a "peek inside" your own life. Annie Adams, 31, leads an exciting life. As a writer for a syndicated travel column, she has the opportunity to visit exotic places and secret hide-a-ways in search of the perfect story. Upon her return from each adventure, she comes home to her live in boyfriend, Nick Campbell, who is a struggling movie director in Los Angeles. Annie seems to be living a dream life...an exciting and fullfilling career and the perfect relationship with the perfect and handsome guy..and then.. An announcement from this perfect guy that he needs to put their relationship on hold because he's not sure he's over an old flame, sends her to the closest bar to ease her pain. She meets Griffin, a chef with an overload of charm and charisma at a beachside restaurant. She learns her job is in potential danger since the paper has been taken over by a new owner. Griffin needs to return to his home town in Massachusetts to open his own restaurant. Annie doesn't want to lose this connection so she takes a chance and goes with him, stopping by Las Vegas, first at a little wedding chapel and makes it official. Upon their arrival, their love is put to the test with frenzied family drama. As the warts come out, the real Griffin is revealed. Annie starts to question whether her rash decision to marry a man she hardly knew was the right one. A lot more to come.Enjoy!
julietfarmer More than 1 year ago
Author Laura Dave first captured my attention with London Is the Best City in America, continued to enchant me with The Divorce Party, and has once again exceeded my high expectations with her latest novel, The First Husband. The story of Annie Adams, just shy of 32 and fresh off a breakup from her live-in boyfriend, could easily slip into cookie cutter territory, but Dave steers away from the predictable and embraces all the nitty-gritty, rough edges of relationships, exploring love and loss with reality-colored glasses on. Put simply, have you ever read a book and thought to yourself, "In the movie version of this, who can I see playing the protagonist/main character?" You proceed to check through a list of celebrities, then come as close as you can to casting perfection. Well, with The First Husband (as well as Dave's other amazing books), I can see myself as the main character-not in a narcissistic way, but in a relatable, real way. It's like Dave crawled inside my head and plucked out various thoughts and feelings I've had over the years regarding love, life, career and family. In short, Dave writes for her readers, not at them. In The First Husband, I adore Dave's ability to seamlessly reference Saved By The Bell while explaining a friendship's back story, her observation of the perils of the Internet ("Nowadays you've got to try not to get emotionally involved with someone else; you have to try not to reach out to an old fling and start shrieking about maybe we're meant to be."), how she ponders the advice: "be the opposite of you", her use of a Wilco concert as a major plot point, and the way she notes the use of Facebook "status" (as a way of proclaiming you're "over" someone else). Among the highlights of The First Husband: the intriguing "worst/best thing" question, which would have made my life much easier had I had it as my litmus test for men back when I was dating; an observation on breakups: "That's the brutality of a breakup, right? The people leaving think they did everything possible, the people left behind think what is possible hasn't even been tested yet"; an observation about the path we choose: "When you saw where the truth was, you wanted to get to it as quickly as you could, before you lost sight of it again"; and a gem about life in general, or whatever problem you're faced with: "When you're willing to do the work, it's amazing what can be saved." I can't imagine how Dave will top The First Husband, but I can't wait to find out!
anovelreview_blogspot_com More than 1 year ago
Annie Adams has spent her entire life moving around. It's no surprise when she lands a job traveling the world writing a syndicated travel column. She is living with good looking long term boyfriend, Nick and their dog. Nick's career as a film director is about to take off. They seem to have it all.or so Annie thought. Nick pulls the rug under her when he reveals he has reconnected with an old flame and needs to see where it leads. Reeling over his announcement, her best friend Jordan tells her to go have fun. He'll be back! Feeling as if she has no idea how to be fun, Jordan tells her to be the opposite of herself.and she does exactly that. Three months later, Annie is living in a small Massachusetts town married to Griffin. She took her friends advice all right. Suddenly, Annie is in a world she has never known. Her brother-in-law and his twin sons live with them, her new mother-in-law appears to wish Griffin had chosen his once upon a time long term girlfriend that oops Griffin forgot to mention how long they dated! Could their marriage really just be a rebound relationship for both of them? Jordan thinks so and so does Nick who comes back to claim the women and the life he wants back. All this sends Annie moving, the only thing that feels safe to her. She has to ask herself who is the man she is really meant to spend her life with. The story itself was not all that different than other books I've read. But what this book has is the protagonist, Annie do some self exploring. She asked herself some tough questions and looked for real answers. She had a best friend giving her advice counter to what I would have said to her-something I can't say I've seen a lot of. Usually the best friend acts as an agent of the readers, I found this completely refreshing! This is a book that has everything a good book should have and more. I have heard fabulous things about Laura Dave. This was my first Laura Dave book, and it did not disappoint. This was such a great book and I know I'm going to be reading Laura Dave's books from here on out. Not only am I going to recommend this book, but I'll go one further and say if you can't get your hands on a copy of this book read one of her others! This isn't just a good book this is a good author.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I have recently just finished reading the book The First Husband by Laura Dave. A romance that is similar to another romance, Always Something There To Remind Me by Beth Harbison. Laura Dave is the author of The Divorce Party, London Is the Best City in America and is contributed to The New York Times, The Huffington Post and Redbook. This book is told in 1st person, in Annie’s point of view. In the beginning of the book, the story is taken place in Los Angeles but then Annie moves to a small town in Massachusetts named Williamsburg. The story is in modern time where people are judgmental. Annie Adams is the protagonist, a 30 year old girl who is stuck between two men. Nick Campbell, her ex-husband, a film director whom she’s been with for 5 years. While Griffin is the man she marries, a charming chef. Jordan Campbell is Nick’s sister who is Annie’s best friend. Nick leaves Annie for a childhood friend from back home. Annie goes to a bar and meets the bartender, Griffin who is also a Chef. As months pass, Griffin and Annie begin to spend more time together. Soon enough, Griffin and Annie get married and move to Williamsburg, Massachusetts. Jordan informs Annie that Nick knows he screwed up and wants another chance. Annie is lost. Will she take Nick back or is she truly happy with Griffin? The author was weak on describing the main characters. If Laura Dave were to describe each character better, it would be easier to picture the characters. But overall, I like the way the climax came together, how it was resolved. When compared to a film, Twilight: Eclipse, Bella Swan has Jacob Black and Edward Cullen fighting for her. She has a decision to make. What will she do? However, Bella chooses Edward Cullen and just see’s Jacob as a close friend. The theme of this book is that true love should better someone. As stated, “Nick, I had shifted. Griffin had shifted me. That was what love could do, after all. A place where I had to show up. Where I was learning how to let someone show up for me.” She brought out the best of Nick with his future of filming. On the other hand, Griffin brought out the best of her, proving her that her beautiful photographs were worth a lot. That she can pursue something in photography. I rate this book a 10 because after completing it, my perspective of love changed. You should always find your perfect soul mate that brings out the best in you. The First Husband made me tear up and I did not want to let go of the book. Every word and every chapter had me hooked. I think teens should read this book, ages 13+ because in some parts there is inappropriate words. Teens love romances and this is the perfect one! It has a good life lesson for loving the perfect one.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I literally read this book cover to cover without stopping, but for to take care of my children. But every spare moment I had, I was reading, until I finished it the same day I started it. I have loved everything I've read by Laura Dave, and this was no exception. Just a great view on life and the roads we take along the journey.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
BeachRead245 More than 1 year ago
An Interesting Debut! Laura Dave’s novel is an interesting read. Thank you to Penguin for sending this novel to me. Synopsis: Annie sat down to watch her favorite movie Roman Holiday. There is one catch; every time she watches the movie something bad happens. So the movie is often pulled out with some hesitation. After recently watching the movie her husband Nick arrives to tell her that he wants to separate. He needs freedom to explore what he truly wants. Annie is devastated and goes out at the encouragement of her best friend Jordan. She goes to the usual hotel for a drink and meets an unusual bar tender. They soon develop a relationship which leads to a very unusual family. Who will she choose the bar tender or Nick? How will her career play into her decision? My Thoughts: As I said that this novel was an interesting read. The plot is the most fascinating aspect of the novel. Would you choose to go back to your first husband? Or continue with the second husband? How does career play a part in both? I was interested to see how the author would draw this novel to a conclusion. I also felt that this plot line is a little new to me. I am afraid this novel did not keep my interest as much as I would have liked. I didn’t enjoy it as much as I had hoped considering all the rave reviews from great authors like Emily Giffin.
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risuena More than 1 year ago
There were times reading the book when I had to pause and reread to see if there was some double meaning to what the author wrote. Maybe her writing could have been a bit more clear because I felt like she was going too subtle with her approach. Anyway, I was shocked to find this was one of those rare few whose story made me believe in a fast paced true love thing. I really believed Griffin and Annie love each other, if only they had just met. The author did an amazing job showing us how and why they loved each other and what that meant. You immediately love Griffin and root for Annie, enjoy Jordan as her best friend, and even grow to accept Nate for what he will represent in Annie's life. It was clear who you were to favor in the love triangle, but the author placed emphasis on what Annie wanted and had to realize for herself before she could share it with someone else. That made you hope, hope for her self happiness and love.
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Cindy Imbach More than 1 year ago
I really liked this book. I wish it were a bit longer though, I felt like there were parts that should have been expanded.