Beach-Read Book Review: 'The First Husband' By Laura Dave

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A tale of breakups, quickie weddings and what to do when something crazy just feels so right.

What do you do when the man you thought you'd be with forever suddenly wants out of the relationship?

In Laura Dave's The First Husband, Annie Adams is a travel writer from Los Angeles with a workaholic director boyfriend, Nick, and a perfectly comfortable life. It looks great on the outside, even though she barely sees the man she lives with between her schedule and his. She has a super-awesome syndicated column. She has a dog. And she's convinced herself it's all exactly what she wants. So when Nick starts to bond with a childhood friend he rediscovers online, and then suddenly leaves to be with her, Annie's whole world shatters. And she does what most women would do after a breakup. She sulks. She stays in bed. She blocks it all out. 10 Secrets Guaranteed To Help You Move The H*ll On From Your Ex

And after a period of days, she stumbles into Griffin.

Griffin is everything Nick was not. He's a chef with a plan to open his own restaurant. He's stable, he's kind, he's real, and he makes sure Annie knows how he feels about her. Only a few months after they meet, when he is about to move across the country, he doesn't balk at the thought of commitment: He gets down on one knee and seals the deal with a proposal. Annie is shocked by how fast she fell, and even though she thinks it's crazy to marry someone so fast, she can't say no. She doesn't want to say no. They get married.

But wouldn't you know it, Nick comes crawling back (men have great timing like that).

My guess is you'll figure out the ending to this novel pretty quick. But it doesn't matter, because that's not the point of reading it anyway. I like The First Husband, and for a couple reasons in particular. First, the book raises an interesting point. After Nick leaves Annie for his former flame, Annie's best friend, Jordan, comes over to break her out of that miserable funk. Jordan says something that really struck me:

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"Between Facebook and BBM and every other type of technology that makes you two clicks away from anyone in the universe, nowadays you've got to try not to get emotionally involved with someone new. You have to try not to reach out to an old fling and start shrieking about maybe we're meant to be." Isn't that interesting? Makes fidelity seem pretty tough, or even impossible, doesn't it? Sure, we live in a totally different world now than our parents did. But does that mean relationships are far more unreasonable to manage?

I don't think that's the case. Not when they're right. Which leads me to the other reason I liked this book. The novel confronts a major issue for women in long-term relationships who fall into routine: Sometimes you don't allow yourself to realize you could have so much more until the other party forces you to realize it. It's about settling, and women do it all the time. And what seems like the worst-case scenario, when your long-term partner breaks things off, can often turn out to be the biggest gift of your life. 5 Shocking Statistics Reveal That We Pretty Much SUCK At Breakups

And fidelity? Not so hard when love is right. Annie slowly begins to realize that crazy concept. Even if you have your moments of doubt, they're just moments. When you're with the person you're meant to be with, when you experience unselfish love, you'll gravitate back to him. Your romantic life can be so much easier and better than you ever imagined it could be. And that's pretty perfect. And I like books that enforce this idea. Do you? If so, grab The First Husband. Dave's writing style is insanely readable. Head out to a pool, sip some icy drinks and fly through this realistic romance with a darn-satisfying ending. (Even if you could guess how it ends from the very first page.) 

What's your favorite romance summer beach read?

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