Review: 'The First Husband' by Laura Dave

The First Husband by Laura Dave

Release Date: May 2011
Publisher: Penguin | Viking Adult
Pages: 256 pages
Source & Format: Bought; Kindle e-book
Amazon | Goodreads

Annie Adams finally has her life in order. She travels the world writing for her syndicated travel column, “Checking Out,” and lives with her boyfriend of five years, Nick.

Then, Annie tempts fate. She watches Roman Holiday – a movie that has been closely linked to all the bad events in her life. And, sure enough, she’s left reeling by Nick’s unexpected decision to “take a break” from their relationship. After mourning the end of five years of memories, Annie puts on her “magic dress” in search of a drink. Annie meets a charming chef, Griffin, and finds herself married within three months. Faced with an entirely new future, Annie must come to grips with who she is and where she belongs.

Thoughts on The First Husband
This is my third Laura Dave novel, and I can honestly say it was my favorite. As an avid lover of any and all things Audrey Hepburn, Annie’s fascination with Roman Holiday had me hooked from the very first chapter.

I started reading this book on my lunch break, and it was hard for me to put it down and get back to work. I don’t believe in love at first sight, but I absolutely adored the way Dave describes Annie and Griffin’s first meeting. From that point on, I was invested in the characters.

None of Dave’s characters are perfect. They’re flawed and problematic, but it makes them more real. Nick makes a decision that changes everything. Annie doesn’t really know what she wants out of life, and her indecision hurts people along the way. Griffin doesn’t quite tell the whole truth. But that’s what happens in real life! You withhold one small bit of truth, you make one decision, and things shift. Sometimes the shift is minor, but sometimes it changes everything.

What I really loved about this book was the way Dave addressed somewhat standard chick-lit fare (woman coming to terms with her identity) in a fresh way. I just finished Dave’s first novel, London is the Best City in America, and I think her writing has improved. The novel is light and funny, but it also seriously addresses some real questions.

Why does one relationship succeed when another fails? How do you what it means to be home? What do you do when everything you thought you wanted isn’t living up to your expectations?

The First Husband is, ultimately, about “what we choose to live with, and what we choose to live without.” In coming to terms with these lessons, Annie finds her home.

This was a quick read, but I was still thinking about it for a while after I finished it. And that, in my opinion, is the sign of a good read.

So Quotable
“[Annie had] a growing sense that maybe just once in this life someone loves us for the us we don’t even know how to be yet. And if we lose him too early—in the name of all the promises in the world: a new job, a new city, an old love offering us happily ever after—we may just lose that chance to be our best self.”

1 comment

  1. Now I must read this! ALWAYS in the market for some good Adult Contemp and this sounds SO FUN! #addstotbr


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