First Comes Love

First Comes Love

by Emily Giffin


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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780345546920
Publisher: Random House Publishing Group
Publication date: 06/28/2016
Pages: 400
Sales rank: 355,253
Product dimensions: 6.40(w) x 9.40(h) x 1.70(d)

About the Author

Emily Giffin is the author of eight internationally bestselling novels: Something Borrowed, Something Blue, Baby Proof, Love the One You’re With, Heart of the Matter, Where We Belong, The One & Only, and First Comes Love. A graduate of Wake Forest University and the University of Virginia School of Law, she lives in Atlanta with her husband and three children.

Read an Excerpt

It is the first day of school, a symbolic and hopeful fresh start, at least that’s what I tell myself as I stand before my captive, well-scrubbed audience of ten boys and eleven girls in my J.Crew finest—gold ballet flats, gray pants, and a pink, sequined sweater set. Sitting cross-legged on the braided rug, some children beam back at me, while others wear blank expressions, waiting without judging. It is the beauty of first graders. They are guileless, not a jaded one among them.
Odds are good that they’d heard that they’d scored in the great, mysterious teacher lottery before they even walked through my classroom door, adorned with a construction-paper maple tree, cutouts of twenty-one personalized bluebirds, and a banner swinging from the boughs that exclaims: WELCOME TO MISS JOSIE’S NEST!
After fourteen years teaching at the same elementary school, I have a reputation as fun, energetic, and creative. I am not considered strict, but not a pushover, either. Incidentally, I am also known as the “pretty teacher,” which some parents (fathers and mothers alike) seem to value as much as anything else, including straight-up intelligence, a sentiment that has always confounded and vaguely annoyed me. I mean, I know I’m not teaching quantum calculus, but I am instilling critical survival skills in children, teaching them how to add and subtract, tell time, count money, and most important, really read, unlocking the mystery of consonant combinations and abstract sounds, blended and pronounced as words, strung together in sentences, filling the pages of books, whether with or without pictures. It might seem like Groundhog Day to some, including a few of my colleagues who really need to change professions, but I am passionate about what I do, thrilled to watch things click for a new crop of children every year.
Yet amid the anticipation is always a melancholy feeling that the summer is over, coupled with a familiar prickling of self-doubt and anxiety that has marked all my first days of school, both as a teacher and as a student before that. I consider the many potential obstacles ahead, wondering how many of my kids will have ADHD or dyslexia or other garden-variety learning issues. Who will become frustrated or disheartened when they fall behind their peers? Which children will have impossible-to-please parents who will bombard me with emails and calls, make outlandish suggestions for our curriculum, or point out grammatical errors in my newsletters under the guise of constructive criticism? (No matter how many times I proofread my correspondence, it is inevitable that at some point during the year I will misspell a word or misplace an apostrophe, mistakes that somehow seem more egregious from a teacher than, say, a lawyer or doctor.)
Then there is the disturbing matter of Edie Carlisle, the firstborn of my most significant ex, Will Carlisle. Will and I broke up years ago—eight to be exact—but I’m not yet over him, at least not completely. And I simply can’t believe that his little girl has been assigned to my class, a fact I try in vain to forget as I launch into my script, a variation of what I say every year.
Hello, boys and girls! My name is Miss Josie! I grew up right here in Atlanta and graduated from the University of Georgia. Go Dawgs! I love animals and have a rescue dog named Revis. I have one sister and a beautiful four-year-old niece named Harper. My favorite color is pink, like my sweater. My hobbies include swimming, reading, baking cookies, dancing, and playing board games. I’m good at keeping secrets and being a trustworthy friend. I hope you will all be good friends to one another this year. I’m so excited to get to know each and every one of you and I feel very lucky to be your teacher!
It sounded pretty good, the exuberant delivery elevating it to a solid A, even though I could hear the annotated version in my head, which went something like this:
Every time I say “Miss Josie” I think it sounds like a stripper—a job I fleetingly considered taking one summer in college because strippers make a hell of a lot more money than waitresses. And teachers, for that matter. I have a dog, and a sister named Meredith. She drives me nuts, and I would mostly avoid her altogether if it weren’t for my niece, Harper. I used to have an older brother, but he died in a car accident a long time ago, something I don’t like to talk about, especially to my students. I think the subject of one’s favorite color is supremely boring because it really doesn’t tell you much of anything (color for what—a car or a purse or your bedroom walls?), but for some inexplicable reason, you all seem hyperfocused on it, so I’m going to say pink because roughly half of you will be pleased with my choice and at least a third of you will marvel over the coincidence of sharing the same favorite hue. Swimming isn’t really a hobby, just a thing I sometimes do at the Y in an attempt to keep off the weight that I’m prone to gaining around my midsection (from all the cookies I bake, then eat), something you seem not to notice or at least not to judge. I do enjoy board games, but I’d rather play drinking games with my friends—or go dancing with them (did I mention I could have been a stripper fifteen pounds ago?). I can keep secrets, especially my own, which is a good thing, because if your parents knew some of my skeletons, they might send around a petition to have me fired. Friendship means everything to me because I’m thirty-seven and can’t find a decent man to marry, which is depressing both because I don’t want to be alone and because I adore children more than anything else in the world. I know I’m running out of time, at least to birth my own. Please be nice to one another this year because the one thing I will not tolerate on my watch is mean girl (or boy) escapades—though fortunately those dynamics don’t really kick in until next year, yet another reason to teach the first grade. I’m so excited to get to know each and every one of you, and that includes you, Edie Carlisle. Did your father tell you that he dumped me right before he married your mother and had you? I will do my best not to hold this against you, but please show a little mercy and keep your happy-home anecdotes to a minimum.
I smile down at their eager, shining faces and say, “So? Do you have any questions for me?”
Four hands shoot into the air, and as I consider who is the least likely to ask the one query I have come to loathe, a fidgety boy with messy hair and ruddy cheeks blurts it out: Do you have a husband?
Three seconds flat. A new record. Congrats, Wesley, I think, glancing at his laminated name tag which I made over the weekend, and making a mental note to work into the curriculum that a bare left ring finger means please do not ask questions on the topic of marriage. Perhaps I could squeeze it in between our weather unit and the introduction to the metric system.
I force a bigger, brighter smile, doing my best to ignore the knot in my chest. “No, Wesley. I’m not married. Maybe one day! And let’s try to remember to raise our hands before we call out. Like this,” I say, raising my hand for a visual demonstration. “Okay?”
Wesley’s head bobs up and down while I reassure myself that surely Edie knows nothing about my relationship with her father. After all, any knowledge of his romantic past would indicate inappropriate mothering— and I’m sure that Andrea (pronounced on-DRAY-ah) Carlisle has immaculate judgment to go along with her impeccable taste, which I’ve gleaned from stalking her Pinterest page. Gluten-free snacks! Homemade Halloween costumes! Postpregnancy workouts you can do with your child! Paint colors for a serene master suite! Thank God the woman’s Instagram and Facebook profiles are set to private—a small blessing from the social media gods.

Customer Reviews

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First Comes Love: A Novel 3.7 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 56 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I thoroughly enjoyed this book. The characters were well developed and the plot was very believable. I have no doubt that it will be a movie sometime soon.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
As seems to be the case with Ms Giffin's recent books, the characters are annoying and frustrating, with transparent redeeming qualities. Shame, as her earlier books were so enjoyable.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Love her books but this one is not my favorite. Very hard to relate to the characters and very slow reading it was hard to get into. Not a feel good read at all. I'd pass on this one.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I adore EG as an author, so I buy all of her books. This one wasn't my favorite. I couldn't quite feel the deviation of characters from one chapter to the next. It was difficult to relate to the character Josie and her male bestfriend/room mate situation. It felt weird and inorganic. EG is wonderful at conveying tough-to-admitt emotions in real, everyday people and she does that here like we've come to know. The struggle for me was relating to the characters.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Did not like this book!!!! And I'm sad because I really wanted too! I don't think I have disliked a group of characters so strongly in a very long time. Struggled to finish what I didn't skim.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Never warmed up to Meredith even at the end of the book. Josie was okay but not someone I would want to have as a friend. The other characters I found a little more enjoyable.
D-B1 More than 1 year ago
Extraordinary and exceptional, enchanting and engaging novel written by the best selling author, Emily Griffin. I received an ARC from a Goodreads Giveaway. Josie, a first grade teacher, and Meredith, a want to be actress who became a lawyer, are sisters who fifteen years later are still feeling the affects of the death of their brother, Daniel. Josie, is single living with her best friend Gabe, trying to get over her first love Will, has Will's daughter in her class, and decides to have a baby. Meredith, is married to Daniel's best friend, Nathan, and has a four year old daughter, Harper. Meredith starts to have second thoughts about her marriage and Nathan's reasons for marrying her so close to Daniel's death. Josie starts to piece together her drunken night of her brother's death. The story is told through both points of view, alternating between Josie and Meredith. The reader is pulled into each of the character's lives. Read the highly recommended, beautifully written, another Emily Griffin outstanding, must read!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Not her best book
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Good read, a little drawn out at times, but I liked the storyline
JimmyChoo More than 1 year ago
Didn't care for this one. The characters, particularly Meredith, one of the sisters, weren't likable. One would think that a well educated, well to do family who had been dealt a tragedy like this one did would go get some help, instead of floundering around for 15 years. Struck me as very contrived.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
The ending was awful. A beautiful writer in the beginning and the end just seemed unrealistic and unfair.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Disappointing and depressing
Deb-Krenzer More than 1 year ago
I really enjoyed this book about family, sister rivalries and what some people will due to keep peace in a family dealing with a death that may or may not have been unconsciously caused by a family member. I sometimes had trouble remembering who was speaking between the two sisters, but that was my problem. And, the author always spelled out the name somewhere for the sister who wasn't speaking. It was kind of like needing a crayon and paper for me and I thought that was a nice touch. Ha! I do know for sure that I really enjoyed this book and was certainly entertained while reading it. It was well written and a great story with several twists that you definitely don't see coming. Thanks Ballantine Books and Net Galley for providing me with a free e-galley in exchange for an honest review.
Lillianne More than 1 year ago
I really enjoyed this book. I had to read each page carefully, because this book delves into several family relationships with the primary focus on two sisters, Josie and Meredith. Emily Giffin intricately weaves this novel as the now adult sisters continue to deal with the tragic loss of their beloved brother that occurred years ago. I received an ARC of this book for free in exchange for an honest review from BookSparks as part of the Summer Reading Challenge.
Nashville_Mike More than 1 year ago
Emily Giffin came through again. She delivered a masterpiece that allows the reader to connect with each of the characters on various levels. The nuances of the strengths and shortcomings of each major player in the back and forth tempo are unveiled slowly and with tantalizing detail. I've always loved Emily's gift to do that with her writing. I was invested throughout and found myself being able to sympathize with each person. It's real, raw, human, compassionate and, as always, told with deft insight. Keep it coming, Emily. You are amazing.
Holly More than 1 year ago
First Comes Love is the story of two sisters and how a tragedy fifteen years before changed their lives. Josie is the middle child of three kids, single and a first grade Teacher who is struggling with what had happened fifteen years ago when an accident took her older brother, Daniel. Meredith being the youngest is married with a young daughter and a successful Attorney but is also dealing with personal issues in her life. As Josie deals with the night of the accident which haunts her to this very day, he life is far from perfect and she comes up with a plan that will send shock-waves between her and her sister. Meredith is married to her brother's best friend and she is starting to think that not all is well between them and her brother and their daughter is the only thing that is keeping them together. As secrets come out between the sisters about what really happened that night, it will force the both of them to make hard decisions about who they want to be with and makes them see everything in a whole new light. I have come to expect a new novel from Emily Giffin at the start of each summer and this one doesn't disappoint at all! You can feel the emotions coming from this book and you can get why each sister feels the way they do, it will make you cry in some places for what they are going through. I have read some of Emily's books and I have come to love every single one of her books and if you love her books, then this read will not let you down! Thank You to Emily Giffin for writing this perfect tale of what a tragedy and secrets can do to a family! I received this book from the Publisher via NetGalley in exchange for a honest review. I received this book from the BookSparks Summer Reading Challenge 2016!
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MamaHendo More than 1 year ago
Who doesn’t love a good Emily Giffin read? I fell in love with this author when I first read the “Something Borrowed”/”Something Blue” books and this book doesn’t disappoint. This is a story about family, sibling rivalry and how differently each person picks up the pieces of their life following the death of a family member. Sisters, Meredith & Josie, have had a strained relationship since the death of their brother, Daniel. Josie’s carefree life irritates Meredith, while Josie can’t understand why her sister doesn’t enjoy the perfect family she has built. Both women have issues related to Daniel’s death and all comes to a head as the 15 year anniversary of that fateful night approaches. If you are looking for a good beach/poolside read this summer, definitely pick this one up. It’s a quick feel-good read.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I loved reading about these sisters. I also share a conflicted relationship with my sister.
SkyGreene More than 1 year ago
This is a great story about how a the death of Daniel alters the lives and thoughts of so many people and their paths, even years after his death. It is a great example of how everyone deals with death in different ways. I love how Emily changes chapters from being the point of view of one sister (Meredith) to the other sister (Josie). Everyone is essential in the story and she does a wonderful job of weaving it all together.
rokinrev More than 1 year ago
[ I received this book last summer as part of a Read It Forward giveaway promotion from Ballantine Books, and am way behind in this read/review which I do voluntarily. How I received it has no influence on what I have written] "Grief is a mystery to be lived through, not a problem to be solved" Two sisters, Josephine and Meredith live in Atlanta where they grew up. Everything was so good until their brother Daniel is killed on his birthday in a car accident. It becomes a tragically defining moment, changing absolutely everything in the family as they all drift apart. Josie becomes a primary schoolteacher, Meredith a lawyer and after divorcing, Mom becomes a real estate agent and Dad goes deeper into alcoholism. Everybody loses. Maybe not loses. Maybe just live up to different expectations. They each mourn in their own ways, some good, some not so much. But their choices have brought others into their lives: husband, children, different couplings along the way, for better and for worse. Meredith comes to crossroads in her marriage. Josie makes decisions and finally follows through with them. The dance of maturity brings pain and joy as they deal with not being stuck. This book has begun its second big push as it goes into paperback and I really don't want to give any more of the plot away. I felt this, my first Griffin book, was a very satisfyingly read that kept me wondering what might happen next. It also felt real, it really could, or maybe even has happened. This will not be my last book by this author. Four 1/2 stars
YellowZinnias More than 1 year ago
Clearly a fan of HP fic on FFN. She needs to get her own story lines and dialogue and stop stealing to try to save a foundering career.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
her first 4 books were great, been downhill since then. the characters are annoying and unlikable. was glad when it was over.