The First Husband, by Laura Dave – Book Review

The First Husband by Laura Dave thoroughly and somewhat humorously explores factors of choosing a partner, the longevity of relationships and how the quirks of upbringing and personality can sustain or doom romance. Annie Adams has settled into a life that she expects to enjoy. She has a satisfying career as a travel journalist, a lovable dog and a stable relationship with a man whom she adores. Her doomed luck with the movie Roman Holiday, brings it crashing to an end. After watching it, her boyfriend Nick tells her his “futures counselor” has recommended they take a break, and Nick takes up with a woman from his past.

I have heard of Laura Dave for years, especially about her novel, London is the Best City in America (which I think I purchased at some point, and might still have) so I was excited to read The First Husband. Dave writes in a wonderfully engaging and intelligent style.  I enjoyed her on target observations on relationships and human behavior via protagonist Annie Adams. The examination of Annie’s journey in the aftermath of the loss of her relationship as she tries to take a friend’s advice to be “the opposite of herself”, yield surprising revelations. The irony of life puts the shoe on the other foot. The “opposite self” finds Annie married, living in the back of beyond in Massachusetts, and thinking about her choices in navigating the thorny issues that pop up in her new and improved life (a troubled brother-in-law, instant nephews, alluring ex-girlfriends and a decidedly cool mother-in-law).

The “first” husband of the title proved somewhat problematic for me because I didn’t completely get a sense of the instant love that he felt for Annie (or that she loved him beyond a rebound for that matter). He was a little one note for me in comparison to his colorful and troubled brother. However, I truly wanted to see the Annie would choose for herself when given the opportunity, because, of course, Nick does come to his senses and come back for her. The intricacies and contradictions in Annie’s character and her search to discover her own happiness made this the charming and thoughtful novel one that I enjoyed reading. Recommended.

Read More Reviews At: Amused By BooksMy Friend Amy – Devourer of Books – That’s What She Read

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Review Copy.

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  1. I love reading books about relationships. I am going to add this to my to-read list! Nice review!

  2. I also had not heard much about this book, but it does sound kind of interesting to me. Though the husband is kind of bland, I still think this might be worth reading at some point. Thanks for the insightful review. I especially enjoyed the way the book made you speculate on relationships.

  3. Sort of an interesting concept! I think this would be a good read for me, even though I’ve been in the same relationship for 10 years (6 of those married) and before that was in one two year relationship. It’s always interesting to hear/read what other people find fascinating and interesting in the world of dating and love. Sounds neat. :O)

  4. I really liked her book, Divorce Party, and this one looks pretty good too. I’d never even heard of London is the Best city so I’m off to check that one out!

  5. This sounds like an intriguing book about relationships with a captivating protaganist. I like the way the author explores the themes with humor and keen observations about people and relationships. I have some of Laura Dave’s earleir books on my list to read and this sounds like another worthwhile book. I need to be sure to read some of her books soon!
    I enjoyed your review, thanks!

  6. Nice review, Nicole! I have read Laura Dave’s ‘London is the Best City in America’ and loved it. ‘The First Husband’ looks like a wonderful book from your review! I will add it to my ‘TBR’ list.