Thursday, 5 September 2013

Review: The First Affair by Emma McLaughlin & Nicola Kraus

The First Affair by Emma McLaughlin & Nicola Kraus
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.


  1. I'm usually not a fan of cheating in books, but I think this one has tackled the situation in an honest way. I can tell that there is no HEA, so I would actually like it because it's realistic.
    I haven't had much luck with these 2 authors works, but maybe I will with this one.
    Thanks for putting this on my radar and lovely review, Jasprit! :)

  2. Hmmm...I'm not sure this one is for me. I tried reading another book by these authors before and dropped it after a couple of pages - the writing style was just not for me. :/

  3. I didn't expect this one to be twisty and turny from the looks of the cover. This isn't my type of book but I'm glad that you found it relatively good!

    Lovely review, Jasprit! <33

  4. "that I decided again to venture out of my usual comfort reading zone." <-- It's really awesome that you do this, you know? I don't usually, as you might be able to guess from my blog name ;).

    I'm not usually a fan of cheating in books either - an MC did that in one of my favorite series, and while it was nice she grew from that and realized what she'd done wrong... meh! Still unsure. And blehhh, the president sounds a bit like an ass in this; power trips--it's nice that he made her feel more than any other man did, but if she's the only one truly pining... Plus rumors of other affairs--again power trips. I don't think I'd quite be able to sympathize with Jamie in that situation because I can't see anything good having come from it from the start... though I suppose if that beginning moment with him was alluring enough, I could see how she might've gotten under his spell. Was that moment really nicely written?

    Aww!! Yeah the aftermath does sound great. My favorite part of any novel really is the character growth and for her relationship with her sister to grow? Sounds great.

    Yay!!! Glad you still found this to be an enjoyable read despite your issues with it :). It's nice that you tried something new and it worked out decently enough!

  5. Sometimes books can really surprise us. I'm glad you gave this one a try as it turned out to be better than expected. It doesn't sound like my kind of book either but who knows - maybe one day. Great review Jasprit :)

  6. I got this one at a BEA thing but ended up passing it along to a friend who I knew would like it so much more than me. I'd probably get so frustrated with the behavior of the characters that I might have DNFed it!

  7. Have you seen the Michael Douglas movie, The American President? It's all about how the president - a widow - falls in love with a woman who arrives at the White House hoping to convince him to change his stance concerning the environment. It reminded me of this, a little. It seems this one wound up being quite good by the end, but I don't know if it's for me. I'm not one for cheating books, but wonderful review, Jasprit!(:

    1. I haven't heard of that film before Keertana, at least he's not cheating, which I totally approve of! I may have to check it out.

  8. Sounds like a relatively good book. I'm not sure it's really the type of read for me, but I can see a lot of people flying through it.

  9. I am with you, I don't usually read books about cheating, but then this one is grabbing my attention because of the high profile person. I am interested!

  10. The blurb reminds me a little bit of the TV series scandal but I don't think the MC here would e as strong as her . Great review Jasprit ;)

  11. Oh you brave, brave girl. I can't handle cheating. I just. Can't. But there's a lot to be said for reading maturity and you've done just that, Jasprit. You sucked it up, hiked up your skirts and plunder into the unknown. :)

  12. Oh, I really don't think it's for me. Even though I read Covet this week and loved it, I don't think I can handle another cheating book anytime soon. It's good that you gave it a try and found it interested enough to recommend. Great review :)

  13. I liked The Nanny Diaries a lot, and have meant to read more from these authors. I'm sure the characters were frustrating, but glad the story is told realistically.
    Thanks, Jasprit!

  14. I am not a fan of cheating either but glad you were still able to enjoy

  15. I'm really not a fan of cheating in books either - I avoid it where I can - but I'm glad that you decided to venture out of your comfort zone. Sometimes that can lead to finding a lot of great gems. It's a shame that this was a brilliant read for you, but I'm glad that it wasn't awful either. Lovely review, Jasprit! :)

  16. Like everybody else, I don't like cheating books because I can't connect or root for the MC and if by some chance I do root for her, I feel so bad and guilty. However, I'm glad that you didn't hate it :) This reminds me of the show Scandal actually (which I'm not recommending...but I'm also not not-recommending...if you get what I'm saying). Great review!

  17. This seems like a much more complicated (or convoluted?) story than that cover would imply, hah. I'm glad you ended up liking it overall, though it sounds like there were some pretty frustrating moments, too.

    Wendy @ The Midnight Garden

    PS--just FYI, it took literally 5 tries to leave this comment, as some sort of weird misdirection is going on as I typed. :(

  18. I have this book on my shelf and I'm petrified to read it! I'm not sure how well I will handle the affair part, though I'm very curious about the AFTER and how all that is handled. I also have a lot of trouble with cheating. From what I've seen of these authors work, they seem to take cultural themes. Or stories that have happened in our culture - president cheating, pop star implosion and make them their own. I read the Nanny Diaries ages ago and thought it was fascinating but TOUGH. I'm not sure I'm ready for that right now. Great review tho.


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