The First Affair by Emma McLaughlin and Nicola Kraus

The First Affair by Emma McLaughlin & Nicola Kraus
Atria | Hardcover, 239 pages
Adult Fiction
Rating: 3 out of 5 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 and 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 – perhaps no matter how much he cares about her – at the hands of Greg himself

In My Own Words

Democrat President. Intern. Clandestine affair. Need I elaborate further? I think that’s really all you need to know. If you’ve read the story of one infamous Monica Lewinsky and an impeached Bill Clinton, then this is the play-by-play account of what happened before Bill went on to apologize for lying when he said, I did not have sexual relations with that woman.

My Thoughts

About a month or so ago, I read this book about a sixteen-year-old who had an affair with her professor. Yes, professor, because she was on a fast-track program at the Community College where she was taking some college level courses. She was smart; smarter than anyone in her class. They begin this relationship behind closed doors; it was sweet and full of steamy sexual tensions due to the illicit nature of their relationship. The romance is one of those you wouldn’t be able to resist rooting for, albeit wrong in the society’s eyes (and against the law, for that matter). The professor didn’t know she was sixteen because she purposely hid the truth from him. Total icky situation.  I knew it wasn’t going to end well. There was just too much lying that went on and the publicity that followed the discovery just didn’t make for any possible future regardless of how seemingly in love they were. I pretty much saw the writing on the wall as soon as I read the synopsis. Needless to say, I didn’t have a good time reading it because the whole time, I was anticipating their demise.

I had the same feelings whilst reading this book. In a perfect romance novel scenario, the impeached president will find a way for them to be together – especially if there were hints that the marriage between him and the first lady was far from blissful. But it’s not meant to be. The process of how the truth came about involved a whole slew of conspiracy and contrived entrapment from the Republicans. It was a train wreck that happened painstakingly slow. In the end, there were too many heartaches, compounded by lies and horrific publicity. There was no way they could be together.

There’s a point in the book where you would question who the mistake was: the wife? or the mistress? There’s also a point in the book where you would not be able to resist calling the mistress an idiot for not being able to shut her mouth about the relationship. She trusted people to keep her secret and the authors didn’t make it easy for the readers to decipher who will be the Linda Tripp of the whole ordeal. But Jaime was so naive; and at 21 years old, I guess I can understand. Though at some point, you would think her background in politics would kick in and somehow give her the presence of mind to stop the madness.

This book was absolutely addictive. The writing duo of McLaughlin and Kraus perfectly captured what was involved behind the scenes when a scandal of this magnitude happens. Unfortunately, I wish they didn’t follow what happened with Clinton and Lewinsky to the letter – even right down to the stained coat. That was just tacky and to be perfectly honest, a cop-out.