cover image First Comes Love

First Comes Love

Emily Giffin. Ballantine, $28 (400p) ISBN 978-0-345-54692-0

Fans of Giffin’s will find much to love in her chronicle of the rocky relationship between two disparate sisters 15 years after the death of their older brother, Daniel. Meredith is now a lawyer who’s always felt that she’s needed to make sacrifices in order to keep her fragile parents happy. She’s been married to Daniel’s childhood best friend, Nolan, for almost seven years, though she’s long doubted their love for each other. Josie is content as a first grade teacher but longs to be a mother herself, though at 37 she’s thinking about giving up on dating and having a kid on her own through a donor. Her decision is spurred by having in her class the daughter of a former flame, which also triggers memories of his role in the night that Daniel died. Meredith views Josie as self-centered and immature, while Josie sees her sister as tightly wound and judgmental. Chapters alternate from each sister’s point of view, convincing the reader to see things from both perspectives. In her lead-up to the book’s climax and big secret, Giffin manages to explore numerous themes about this sibling relationship: holding on to the past, expectations, and forgiveness. This is Giffin at her finest—a fantastic, memorable story. (July)