Last month I was fortunate enough to receive an advance reader copy of Emily Giffin’s latest novel All We Ever Wanted. Reading her newest book reminded me of why I am such a fan of her writing. I always feel like I’m right inside the story, experiencing everything alongside her characters. Her characters often find themselves in relatable situations, usually involving relationships – romantic relationships, forbidden relationships, unconventional relationships, friendships, family relationships, etc. So I think it’s safe to say that just about everyone can find something or someone to relate to in her books.
The big bummer of going back to school in ’14 was that my read for fun time went out the window. This means that I had a stack of Giffin’s novels on my shelf that were long overdue and calling my name. Reading All We Ever Wanted reignited my spark for Giffin’s true-to-life stories. Now that I’ve graduated and have read for fun time once again, I decided to get all caught up.
I read Giffin’s first novel, Something Borrowed, shortly after it released in paperback in 2005. I couldn’t put it down and immediately bought the sequel, Something Blue, as soon as it was out. I still have my first edition hardback copy. I have done my best over the years to stay up to date on Giffin’s books. They are books I tend to buy without hesitating since I know I will love them.
After Something Blue came Babyproof, a very real story about what happens to a long-term relationship when two people realize they want different things. Where We Belong was an unputdownable read about adoption and relationships. There’s the birth mother/ child relationship, the adoptive mother/ child relationship, birth father/ child relationship, and birth parents relationship with each other. Like I said, Giffin’s books are packed full of relationships and give readers a realistic glimpse into her characters’ lives, struggles, loves, decisions, and feelings. Her books really make me stop and reflect…and want to call my mom!
Last year, I was able to catch up on Love the One You’re With, an incredibly emotional read about what happens when a long lost love suddenly shows up in your life again, when you’re newly wed to someone else, no less!
This year, after reading All We Ever Wanted, I decided to read through the remaining books on my Emily Giffin shelf. Heart of the Matter was an intense read about, you guessed it, relationships! What happens when an accident changes lives forever? What happens when a doctor/ patient relationship goes beyond the hospital walls? And what happens to those already in their lives, those being left behind?
After Heart of the Matter, I moved on to The One and Only. Now, I have a few things to say about this book…
First of all, I thought I wouldn’t like it. It’s the first Giffin book I’ve read that felt slow in the beginning, and I was waiting for it to pick up. Second, I had read some not-so-flattering reviews of this one. Many readers referenced what they called the “eew factor” – the main character, Shea, is a woman in her thirties who falls in love with a significantly older man. This bothered a lot of readers. I, for one, actually found Shea’s feelings somewhat understandable. Third, by the time I was halfway through The One and Only, I couldn’t put it down! Now, THAT is good writing! Giffin created so much tension between the main character and her love interest and so many complicating factors that I just had to keep reading to find out what was going to happen. My initial thoughts on starting this book were, “This can go in the donation pile once I’m done.” Want to guess where the book is now? Sitting on my bookshelf, waiting for a re-read someday! Like I said, THAT is good writing!
After The One and Only, I decided to finish off my unread Giffin books with First Comes Love. This is a story mostly about family relationships, although romantic relationships play a role as well. First Comes Love largely focuses on the relationship between two sisters, two very different sisters. Everything is explored in this book – sisters, parents and children, husbands and wives, close friends. In typical Giffin fashion, no relationship is safe! I will say that this is the only Giffin book I’ve read that felt a little low on the suspense. While I enjoyed reading it and wanted to know how everything would turn out for the characters, it wasn’t the same kind of page-turner that I’ve found some of her other books to be. But still, a great Giffin novel all the same!
One of the things I’ve discovered about Giffin’s books is that rather than writing sequels, with the exception of Something Blue, Giffin’s characters make cameos in future books to let readers know how they are doing and what they are up to. I love this! I first noticed it in Heart of the Matter, when two key characters from Something Borrowed made an appearance. And then, in The One and Only, there was a brief mention of a character from Heart of the Matter that provided an update on that storyline. I loved the reappearance of Ellen from Love the One You’re With in First Comes Love. I just think this is such an interesting way to give an update on past stories rather than writing multiple sequels. It’s creative and satisfies the reader’s curiosity while providing a new story and new characters.
I’m almost regretting the early copy of All We Ever Wanted since now I have to wait even longer for her next book! 😉
Have you read any of Emily Giffin’s books? Did you like them? Why or why not?