The First Affair: A Novel - 'Emma McLaughlin',  'Nicola Kraus'
My Rating – 4 Stars

*I received a digital copy of this novel free from Netgalley on behalf of Atria Books*

Jamie just graduated from Vassar, several thousand dollars in debt (thanks student loans!) with no job prospects (thanks government!). She luckily landed an internship at the White House, which will at least look good on her resume.

She’s not well liked by her fellow interns, and her best friend is across the country. She’s lonely. She has no real plan besides possibly moving back home to live with mom and dad.

During a government furlough, the interns are forced to work double time and closer to the President. During a routine run to have paperwork dropped off, Jaime accidentally runs into the President while he’s having a panic attack. Having experienced panic attacks herself, she knows how to calm him down, so she does what any nice American citizen would do, and she helps him.

And he kisses her as a thank you.

Which leads to (I’m sure you can guess what it leads to, y’all are smart) an AFFAIR. The President is THE PRESIDENT. Can you turn him down? Not like Jamie wants to exactly, because she just wants someone to love her.

Jamie has a dysfunctional family. Her dad is an alcoholic; her sister is kinda mean and an alcoholic. Her mother is just...there. She grew up feeling kind of unloved and like she was second fiddle to her dad and sister’s issues. That’s not really an excuse for having an affair with a married man but it’s her reasoning.

Anyways, her first mistake is having an affair with a married President. Her second is telling so many people about it. (She tells three, THREE!). Also, he promises her a job but not really and she gets screwed and placed in another unpaid internship because The President’s adviser has gotten suspicious and wants her out of the White House.

They never actually have sex but engage in sex acts (and there are a couple Monica Lewinsky-ish things that happen with a coat and a shaving brush. If you don’t know who that is, google her).

Eventually it all comes crashing down around her during the Presidents trial about him another woman. Her “friends” basically set her up or abandoned her. And I don’t think I’m spoiling here because exactly how do you think a book about an affair with a married President is going to end?

I actually really liked this book. I hate cheating, I hate when cheating is justified in a book, and I really hate when the other woman knows about the wife. But there are no excuses in this book. There are very serious consequences for everyone’s actions.

Jaime is a very unsure, naïve girl. She just wants someone to pay attention to her and love her. Granted, she chose the wrong person but we all make mistakes, right? She actually fantasizes about becoming the FLOTUS but doesn’t really wish the President’s wife out of the picture because she would hate to see her hurt. Jaime thinks about how what they’ve done will affect the children. Once you figure out her back story you can kind of see why she would both make such a terrible decision involving a married man. She comes to something of a realization.

And of course Jaime also gets totally effed over; by the President, her supposed friends, the media, ex-boyfriends. So does anyone that’s ever had any connection to her.

Jaime pays for her mistake with her future; such is life for a woman though. The President still gets to be President and Jaime gets labeled a whore. That is commented on.

I really enjoyed this book. I recommend! (Unless cheating is a GGGRRRR thing for you that sends you into a rage. Then maybe skip it.)

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