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.

  • Love your review Joy. <3 But ah. I would not be able to read it, with the whole cheating thing.. not for me. But I'm glad you didn't fully hate it, either 🙂 You keep reading all these interesting books, and I love reading your reviews for them. <3

  • It's too bad they did follow the real scandal we know about so closely. Still, there is something about this story I would be interested in reading. Great review Joy!

  • Yeah, when I was reading the blurb AND the chick has a blue dress, I thought they must've straight-up used the real events. Despite being addictive, I don't know if I could get into it. I kind of bugs me when it mirrors a real event like that.

  • Great to hear it was an addictive read!

  • I agree with everything you said about this book Joy, despite the subject I found myself glued to the pages to see which way things would go. Also is The Truth About You & Me the other book you're talking about? I think I had a much better time dealing with that book, despite the constant lying from the MC. Well done for giving this book a go Joy, even though some parts didn't really agree with you.

  • The worst part for me wasn't that he denied it, but that he called her 'that woman'. That is so incredibly disrespectful and just awful.
    But anyway, this doesn't seem to be a book for me, and it would probably bother me that they relied so much on what actually happened. Plus, like Candace, I do love my HEAs.

  • Whoa, I didn't know someone wrote the fictional story of them. I think it would be fascinating, but like you mentioned, I want a HEA in my story and clearly there's no way for that to actually happen. Still rather curious though.

  • I know I wouldn't enjoy this book. Just like you I would be dreading the inevitable demise of the relationship. I certainly wouldn't want to read a play by play of the Clinton scandal. Didn't we hear enough about it back then? You'd think this would try and be a bit more original. I have to hand it to you, Joy for biting the bullet and reading it in spite of all this. Great honest review. 🙂

  • hmm I don't know… it sounds nice but I confess I'm not sure it's for me. And well I'm not really attracted about the politic environment.

  • Just like you the anticipation of them getting caught wouldn't allow me to enjoy the book. The synopsis also makes me think that they won't end up happy. And I love my happy endings. Great review 😉