Publisher: Atria Books
Publication date: 27th August 2013
My rating: 3 stars.
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.
The First Affair was a book which I wouldn’t typically pick up, but I’d read some great books by Emma McLaughlin & Nicola Kraus previously, that I decided again to venture out of my usual comfort reading zone.
Despite not being a huge fan of cheating in books, I felt myself compelled into reading this story because of our MC Jamie. Her relationship (if you can really call it that) with the president kind of just happened when Jamie found herself with the president when he wasn’t in the best state. With so much pressure with the presidential election around the corner, the president was trying his best to deal, but this wasn’t the case, Jamie walked into him having an anxiety attack and by comforting him this led to a kiss out of the blue. Before you know it Jamie’s making the extra effort when going into work just in case she bumps into the president, soon this turns into impromptu calls into his office and late night calls from the president himself. I understand how Jamie felt around him, he was a powerful man and he made her feel what another man was never able to do. But to me from the very beginning it was very clear that this relationship did not mean to him as much as it meant to Jamie. There were early rumours flying about previous affairs and if he really cared about Jamie wouldn’t he have done anything possible to be with her? Instead she was fobbed off to another unpaid apprenticeship this time away from the White House and Jamie was told soon after the election, he would sort everything out. Poor Jamie was a complete sucker, instead of listening to her best friend and going back home, Jamie kept running back whenever he called and just kept waiting in the wings.
The reason I kept reading The First Affair despite being annoyed by both Jamie and the president’s behaviour was because I was waiting for the aftermath. I think McLaughlin and Kraus did a brilliant job with this, usually you’re not aware of what’s going down backstage, and you’re just given titbits of information. But this time we get to experience first-hand everything falling apart. And it was painstakingly horrible to watch, with people going back on their word, people coming out of the woodwork to get their two seconds of fame, and Jamie not knowing who she could trust. It was a brutal time for Jamie, but through it all a better character emerged within Jamie and a stronger relationship between her and her sister. Jamie’s sister Erica wasn’t the easiest person to like but through everything coming out in the open, Erica was the only real person that was there for Jamie when she needed someone the most.
The First Affair for me was a decent read; there were plenty of twists and turns which I didn’t see coming which had me reading until the very last page. But there were also parts which did take me a while to get around. But overall despite not quite feeling The First Affair initially I’m glad that I gave this book a go.