Friday, August 23, 2013

The First Affair ~ Emma McLaughlin & Nicola Kraus (earc) review

The First Affair
Atria Books
August 27, 2013
add to Goodreads/buy from Book Depo/or Amazon

Jamie McAlister has resigned herself to the fact that in this job market, her painfully expensive degree might only get her a position at Starbucks, when she suddenly lands a prestigious internship at the White House. Although she doesn't hit it off with the other interns—lockjaws who come from so much money that ten weeks without a paycheck doesn't faze them—she is eager to work hard and make the best of the opportunity while it lasts.

An unexpected encounter late one evening with the charismatic President Gregory Rutland seems like just a fleeting flirtation, but when he orchestrates clandestine meetings and late-night phone calls, their relationship quickly escalates. Jamie knows what she is doing is wrong: he’s married, he has kids, he’s the President. Yet each time she tries to extricate herself, Greg pulls her back in.

With the conflicted desires of the most powerful man in the world driving her to her breaking point, Jamie can’t help but divulge intimate details to those closest to her. But she must have confided in the wrong person, because she soon finds herself, and everyone she cares about, facing calculated public destruction at the hands of Greg’s political enemies, and—perhaps no matter how much he cares about her—at the hands of Greg himself.

From the co-authors of The Nanny Diaries and last summer's Between Me and You comes The First Affair, out next Tuesday. Twenty-two year old Jamie McAllister, the novel's main character is looking for a job -- any job -- and applying for anything available. It works.

She lands an internship at the White House, never expecting just how much the chance position will change her life.

The First Affair was not what I was expecting. I'm not sure I can specify what I was expecting, perhaps something skewed more towards a 'romance.' I like what the novel was, though. The story focuses on Jamie, her experiences and how she's viewing her life. How she feels about this post-college life of hers that is so different from what she expected it to be. And so different from that of so many of her friends.

We meet her friends, see her struggle with her relationship with Rutland and what it means, who to share what with. We also see some of the relationship with her family, including the odd dynamic her parents have with Jamie and her sister, one that's left her neglected.

The President is a character very much from Jamie's view of him and the interactions they have, not on his own. Married, with teenage children and experiencing current political problems, President Rutland has a bit of Clinton meets Kennedy feel about him, while still feeling like a new character.

While The First Affair isn't a normal romance, I like it better the way that it is. It would have been an entirely different novel, of an entirely different genre if the twenty-something character had thoughtlessly fallen for the married President of the United States. There is a sort of romance there, but there's also more to Jamie's character than you would at first expect and the power-dynamic between Jamie and the President unfolds in a very realistic way.

Nicola Kraus and Emma McLaughlin's newest novel, The First Affair uses the sensational 'President and an intern' story line as a base for a story with great relationships -- friendships, family relationships and personal growth -- and a bit of scandal along the way.

Rating: 7/10

thank you to the publisher and NetGalley for the egalley for review

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