This month’s Susan Elizabeth Phillips book review is one of my top three favorite SEP books: FIRST LADY. My paper copy is in the process of disintegrating, which means an e-copy is in my future.
Again, this story is not part of her Chicago Stars football series. It does introduce a character who becomes a heroine in her own book.. I’ve seen it classified as part of her Wynette, Texas series, but the connection doesn’t happen until a couple of books later, so I believe that’s a stretch.
This book manages to wring my emotions each time I read it. The major romance trope is on-the-road. NEELY (Nell) is the widow of the assassinated president of the United States who was coerced into continuing the job after her husband’s death. She manages to escape the White House and goes “undercover,” where she runs into MAT, a disillusioned and discredited journalist trying to find the big story in order to reclaim his career. They each have secrets, although Neely’s are the major ones. Mat’s big internal conflict is family. The primary issue between them, however, is trust.
The book was published in 2000, which means one or two things have changed since then, but the gist of the story rings true.
There is no secondary romance in this story, which is unusual in an SEP book. The on-the-road aspect of the story doesn’t leave room for that kind of subplot. There are plenty of wonderful characters in the novel, though, and one of them–Lucy, who grows up to be the heroine of another SEP novel–will shred your heart.
If I were to give out stars on a 1 to 5 scale, FIRST LADY would receive five.