Friday, March 02, 2012

Review: First Lady by Susan Elizabeth Phillips

First line: Cornelia Litchfield Case had an itchy nose.

From the back cover: How does the most famous woman in the world hide in plain sight? The beautiful young widow of the President of the United States thought she was free of the White House, but circumstances have forced her back into the role of First Lady. Not for long, however, because she's made up her mind to escape - if only for a few days - so she can live the life of an ordinary person. All she needs is the perfect disguise...and she's just found it.

An entire nation is searching for her, but the First Lady is in the last place anybody would think to look: in the company of a man, an infuriatingly secretive and quietly seductive stranger whose charm, good looks, and sensuous appeal are awakening the forgotten woman within the dignitary. And with two adorable little orphaned girls in need of a family along for the ride, they're heading out across the heartland chasing their own American Dream - on a wild journey of love, adventure, and glorious rebirth.

My thoughts: I remember the very first Susan Elizabeth Phillips book I ever read - Fancy Pants. While the book was a long one, I flew through it and was bummed that I had finished it so fast. I have been hooked on SEP ever since and had the same experience reading First Lady. It is a captivating, funny, poignant and thoroughly enjoyable read.

After the President has been assassinated, the First Lady of the United States is asked to act as First Lady to the new president. The problem is, Cornelia Case just doesn't want to. She wants to live a regular life or at the very least see what a normal life is like. So several months after her husband is assassinated, she runs away from the White House and pretends to be a pregnant woman down on her luck. That luck runs out when Nealy's car is stolen and she meets Mat Jorik, a man who is transporting a teenager and a toddler across the country. Mat asks Nealy, not realizing she is the missing First Lady of course, to act as the children's nanny. She agrees.

There are so many love stories in First Lady - between Mat and White House runaway Nell, between bratty teenager Lucy and her baby sister, between the adults and the children. All are wonderfully developed; all leave us with a good feeling. The characters are ones you don't want to leave - Nealy is someone you can easily relate to and Mat has just enough flaws to make him memorable. Of course, it's the addition of the two children that give the story it's heart and the interaction between Mat, Nealy, Lucy, and Button in the Winnebago is priceless!
One of the things I love about SEP's writing is that you truly become immersed in the lives of all the major characters. They are all memorable and stay with you long after you have read the last page. That, along with the laughs and chuckles as well as the heart-tugging moments all make for a great read.

(I borrowed this book from the library.)

Books in the Wynette, Texas series (from FictFact):
  1. Fancy Pants                         5.  Glitter Baby
  2. Lady Be Good                      6.  What I Did for Love 
  3. First Lady                            7.  The Great Escape - to be released July, 2012
  4. Call Me Irresistible


  1. I have all of these but have only read one by her so far :) I can't wait to read the rest!

  2. I am an absolute fan. I counted down the days til this book and I feel like maybe I expected too much... but this book fell short. After reading "Call me Irresistible" I just knew this one would be awesome. I found myself more interested in the side characters stories like Bree & Mike, Temple & Max, and even wanted there to be someone for Kristi.


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