The First Affair by Emma McLaughlin and Nicola Kraus
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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—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, and—perhaps no matter how much he cares about her—at the hands of Greg himself.
McLaughlin and Krauss craft another narrative around tabloid headlines, this time exploring a White House intern’s downfall. After graduating from college into the worst job market since the Great Depression, Jamie McAllister lands a prestigious internship at the White House Department of Scheduling and Advance, hoping to pad her resume while looking for a paying position. The hours are long, and she doesn’t quite fit in with the straitlaced D.C. crowd, but Jamie has always been a high achiever and performs well. During a tense government shutdown, she and the other interns are called in to cover for furloughed employees, and an unexpected after-hours encounter with President Greg Rutland ends with a kiss, touching off a steamy affair. Suddenly, the president is calling Jamie at all hours of the night and inventing excuses for her to visit the Oval Office. When their secret inevitably escapes, Jamie finds herself enmeshed in a scandal that threatens to destroy not just the Rutland presidency but her career, friendships, and family. Jamie is initially hard to sympathize with, but her unreliability as a narrator and complexity as a character add an interesting dimension to a story that might otherwise have seemed trashy and exploitative.
On the heels of Between You and Me (2012), the authors of The Nanny Diaries (2002) offer up another juicy ripped-from-the-tabloids tale. Studious Jamie McAllister graduates from Vassar and scores a coveted White House internship. She’s thrilled to be working in the administration of Greg Rutland, the handsome, charismatic President. But a close encounter between Rutland and Jamie in a hidden corridor in the West Wing ignites a steamy affair. Though Jamie knows rationally there’s no future for the relationship, she falls hard and confides in three friends about the romance. Jamie is stunned when one of them betrays her and turns her into front-page news. McLaughlin and Kraus draw heavily from the Clinton-Lewinsky scandal, but just as they humanized a pop princess in their last outing, here they offer up a convincing portrait of a damaged young woman whose head is turned by the attentions of a dashing and powerful political figure. This compassionate examination of a young woman led astray is an utterly absorbing page-turner.–Kristine Huntley
Product Details Print Length: 257 pages Page Numbers Source ISBN: 145164342X Publisher: Atria Books (August 27, 2013) Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc. Language: English ASIN: B00A28HW7Y