Presidential scandal is nothing new, and in Emma McLaughlin and Nicola Kraus’s latest novel, “The First Affair,” the pair behind the bestselling “Nanny Diaries” series turns to the topic of intern affairs.
Jamie's a down-to-earth White House intern in a sea of cutthroat, elitist snobs. Her penchant for speaking her mind lands her in the good graces of the President, and suddenly an unexpected run-in turns into a kiss. The next thing she knows, the POTUS is calling her at home and arranging secret meetings in his office. Desperate to discuss the situation, she confides in her best friend, whose political mother is allowing Jamie to stay at her Washington apartment for free. The confession causes a fall out between the friends, and Jamie fears that if her BFF's mother finds out, the relationship will be outed.
She turns to new friends she's made at the White House, who support her when President Rutland’s affections turn cold. When the affair becomes public and Jamie's family is drug through the mud with her, she must figure out whom she can really trust.
The beginning of the book moves quickly, and Jamie’s post-college struggles are relatable to anyone who has graduated, left their friends and wondered "what next;" even President Rutland is a sympathetic character, despite his transgressions. But as the story moves on, the actions of her friends seemed unbelievable given their behavior earlier in the book. If you’re not old enough to remember the famous stained GAP dress, this tale might have a different feel, but at times it seems like the book is simply a fictionalized version of the Monica Lewinsky affair (just replace the dress with a coat). However, if the Lewinsky scandal fascinated you, this book is certainly entertaining and gives a behind-the-scenes look at working in the White House. Ironically, a government shutdown occurs during the book, making it a particularly timely read this month.