The First Husband is a book I received for review. (I do not remember whom from. Hopefully, someone will remind me. I am a nitwit and lost the e-mail.) It’s a book that fits somewhere in the category of “chick lit” and “romance” and is not the type of book that I generally read. (It’s good to read outside your comfort zone on occasion.)
Our Protagonist is a travel writer named Annie Adams. She has an extremely successful syndicated article and a comfortably happy life. She’s a romantic at heart with a great fondness for the film Roman Holiday and everything seems to be going well until her boyfriend decides to break up with her. Also, he decides to take their dog.
After moping for a while, Annie stumbles into a relationship with a chef and suddenly gets married. Her friends and acquaintances think she’s lost her mind. Annie only begins to think she herself has lost her mind when she packs her things and heads off to Massachusetts. (Discovering one’s new husband has a brother with extreme marital problems and needs a place to stay will give anyone cold feet.)
Then her ex-boyfriend turns up and decides to tell her that he wants to marry her. There are some fairly interesting parallels between Annie’s romantic situation and that of her new husband’s, but these are never directly addressed. (Which I thought was kind of disappointing.)
Then she gets a job offer that includes a move to London.
Then she is very conflicted about everything, and after various dramatic and occasionally exasperating events, there is a happy ending that I really liked.
My overall reaction to the book was somewhat tepid. There were some moments I thought were really funny, and there was some good dialog. Unfortunately, the pacing was a little fast, the emotional hooks the writer was trying to deploy were not latching on, and I could not get emotionally involved with the characters. (I think I would have understood more about Annie’s personality if I had any interest at all in the movie the writer is using as a shorthand descriptor for Annie’s romantic nature.) Another problem I had is that this is the type of book where the character has things happen to them and they react. I tend to prefer books where the character is actively doing things.
Overall, I thought this was a good book and would recommend it, but for me, it was a one-time read.