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5.0 out of 5 stars Just loved it!
This book finds a dad for a baby & for a teenager with a bleak past & even bleaker future; it finds a family for a man that thinks he wants to live alone; & it finds a warm, loving, fun family for a woman that has only known a cold, politically correct family (& life in general). The first couple of chapters I just thought it sounded really sad & serious; the rest of the...
Published on May 13 2003 by Jojo

versus
3.0 out of 5 stars 3 1/2 *s A little light on romance, but a nice story
Not so much a romance as an homage to family (the non-traditional variety) and to those decent folks willing to subject themselves to the scrutiny and ugliness that can accompany a life in politics.
First Lady Cornelia "Nealy" Case is burned out. She's been in the public eye all her life first as the daughter of the Vice President (now the party chairman) and most...
Published on Sept. 23 2003 by baltimore0502


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4.0 out of 5 stars Very Enjoyable!, March 25 2004
By A Customer
This review is from: First Lady (Mass Market Paperback)
This is another very good book by SEP. I loved all the characters (even the special agents) and I really liked the road trip set up. The only thing that bugged me was that Mat did not tell Nealy that she had left her keys in the car. What kind of jerk wouldn't tell someone that!? And he knew there was a disreputable looking man nearby. I had a much more difficult time than Nealy of forgiving Mat for that.
SEP does a wonderful job of developing and showing the growth of both Mat and Lucy. I especially loved the way she took Lucy from being snotty and rebellious to loving and mature. Well done! The only problem I had was with the character of Nealy. In the book she goes from total burn out to ready to jump back into politics with both feet. That's a good set up but I never really saw the change going on in her. So at the end it was difficult to understand why she would want to go back and get even more involved.I mean, is there really such a thing as a politician who doesn't enjoy the power and fame involved? Because those seem to be the only compensations (along with financial secuity) to a life almost devoid of privacy.
I am a complete sucker for happy endings so of course I LOVED the ending. Thank you Ms. Phillips!
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3.0 out of 5 stars 3 1/2 *s A little light on romance, but a nice story, Sept. 23 2003
By 
This review is from: First Lady (Mass Market Paperback)
Not so much a romance as an homage to family (the non-traditional variety) and to those decent folks willing to subject themselves to the scrutiny and ugliness that can accompany a life in politics.
First Lady Cornelia "Nealy" Case is burned out. She's been in the public eye all her life first as the daughter of the Vice President (now the party chairman) and most recently as First Lady. But the death of her President husband presents her with her first thoughts of freedom - until the new President, a widower, asks her to stay on and act as his First Lady. She very reluctantly agrees, but after six miserable months she plots her escape!
Journalist Mat Jorik is in career crisis. He's looking to regain his journalistic integrity after an ill-advised foray into tabloid TV. All he needs is that Big Story that will put him back on top again. But in the meantime, he's got other, bigger problems. He's become responsible for the two daughters of his ex-wife who has recently died. The last thing he wants is to care for two kids that aren't even his (especially after practically raising his six younger sisters!), and so he packs them into a Winnebago and embarks on a trip from Pennsylvania to their grandmother's in Iowa.
These unlikely travelers meet up at a truck stop when Nealy's car and money are stolen. Nealy, disguised as a pregnant woman down on her luck, is not recognized and Mat offers to let her travel with them if she will take care of the children and she agrees. And so begins this strange odyssey of a man who doesn't want a family, a woman who's getting her first taste of a normal life and two kids who desperately need a family. My heart went out to fourteen-year-old Lucy, sullen and cynical on the outside yet vulnerable and hopeful on the inside, she's desperate to get Mat and Nealy together so that she and her baby sister are not separated and put into foster care. As the days pass they begin to bond, but will Mat's reluctance for family life mean the girls' future is in jeopardy? And what happens when Nealy's true identity becomes known, not to mention when she discovers Mat is not the steelworker she assumes he is - that he's that sworn enemy of anyone in political life, a journalist? Is Nealy his Big Story? Would he betray her and all they shared to re-establish his journalism career?
A very enjoyable story with characters you will care about. However, as with other reviewers I do have a couple of issues. Given how much she enjoyed her freedom, Nealy's choice to go back to life in the public eye (and subjecting the girls to it) seemed odd. And I would have like to have seen more romance between Mat and Nealy, though their close proximity to the girls made intimacy difficult. The kids (Lucy in particular) were almost more interesting than the adults and the epilogue was a little too cute and idealistic. A flawed but still enjoyable read.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Pleasing and amusing story, Sept. 15 2003
By A Customer
This review is from: First Lady (Mass Market Paperback)
I was pleased by this romance story. It was the first I read by this author. The widowed First Lady (Nealy), who continues to serve as the First Lady for the man who takes over for her dead husband, decides to escape the White House for an adventure. She ends up traveling across several states with a grouchy ex-journalist (Mat), a bratty teenager and a baby (the teen's little sister). I liked how the author switched perspective occasionally, so that in addition to getting the story from Nealy, you'd get it from the teen sometimes, sometimes from Mat. She switched to sounding like a teen or an adult male very well. I liked how she gave Mat a whole group of little sisters to explain his fear of commitment (he felt he'd had enough female influence in his life after raising his sisters). That was at least a unique explanation. There was just enough realism in the background (with the Secret Service agents, Nealy calling real-life First Ladies to check in, etc.) to make this story believable, as long as you read in the spirit of fun. The ending was fanciful, but enjoyable. I hope that we do see a female leader like Nealy someday. I wouldn't mind going on to read more by this author.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Just loved it!, May 13 2003
This review is from: First Lady (Mass Market Paperback)
This book finds a dad for a baby & for a teenager with a bleak past & even bleaker future; it finds a family for a man that thinks he wants to live alone; & it finds a warm, loving, fun family for a woman that has only known a cold, politically correct family (& life in general). The first couple of chapters I just thought it sounded really sad & serious; the rest of the first half I laughed over & over; then it went from heart-wrenching, to heart-melting, back to heart-wrenching (with laughs thrown in thoughout it at the oddest moments). I started it one afternoon, had to quit for a few hours, then read til my eyes hurt, & got back up the next morning & just HAD to know how it all worked out! (Bad, bad girl Jojo! lol)
SEP has done an excellent job of making feelings just jump off the pages. There are a multitude of characters that added so many special parts to the story. I can't recommend it enough to those that enjoy a warm, funny, heart-wrenching, courageous romance with a really sexy hero & a strong, intelligent heroine, & great sense of family. This is the reason I love SEP's writing.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Great Read, Oct. 8 2001
By 
Sean D. Young (Merrillville, IN USA) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: First Lady (Mass Market Paperback)
First Lady is my first experience with Susan Elizabeth Phillips. A couple of friends of mine introduced me to her. They love her books and told me to try one. I chose First Lady. This was a book that made you smile in every chapter. The characters Nealy and Mat were both well rounded.
Nealy was the wife of the President of the United States. He dies and she wants to move on with her life, but her father and the Vice President who is now President have other plans for her. They ask her to stay on as the First Lady of the United States. Nealy thinks their crazy and creates a plan to get out of the White House. She just wants to live a regular life or at the very least see what a normal life is like. She dresses up as an old woman and mixes in with the crowd who is on a tour of the White House. Later she buys a car for a couple thousand dollars and dresses as a pregnant woman down on her luck. When she stops for gas, she leaves the keys in the car by mistake. She comes out the car is gone. She decides she would buy another car, but the problem was her money was in the trunk.
Mat Jorik is a journalist that isn't having any luck lately. He gets a call from his ex-wife's attorney stating she had died and that he was named the father to her two young daughters. Mat isn't trying to hear it. He grew up in a house full of women and he had enough of it. He would try to find the children's grandmother and give them to her. The attorney warned him that blood tests had to be done to see if he really was the father or not. Mat decided to take the girls in their old Winneabago and go to their grandmother's house in Iowa. When they stopped for gas this is where he mets Nealy, but she was going by the name of Nell. Mat makes a deal with Nealy, she would take care of Button the infant and he would give her a free ride. They are then off on their adventure.
If I keep going I'm going to give away all the good stuff. Just know that this is a delightful read and SEP is a wonderful author. This book had me laughing in almost every chapter. I'm going to pickup another book by her to read next.
Excellent.
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5.0 out of 5 stars The Wonderful World of Susan Elizabeth Phillips!, Jan. 24 2001
This review is from: First Lady (Mass Market Paperback)
This story was very interesting because it challenges the political structure of the American executive. Specifically, Dennis Case, former fictional president of the United States was gay! Imagine that. I wonder how America would handle a gay president? Moreover, the main character Nealy eventually becomes president, which is even more gender-bending. While, "First Lady" was a little far-fetched, it was nevertheless, filled with witty dialogue and more importantly, wholly entertaining!
Nealy Case needs a break, desperately. Thus, she plots to escape the White House, which has become her prison. She does this by walking out, plain as day - only she is disguised as an old woman. Of course, the story would end if she was not confronted with a major obstacle. That is, her Chevy gets stolen...maybe because she left her keys in the ignition n'est-ce pas? This leads Nealy into hitching a ride with Mat Jorik, who of all things, is a journalist, albeit a somewhat tarnished journalist. Anyways, I don't want to spoil the story for anyone. Simply put, this story is very lovely.
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4.0 out of 5 stars A remarkable road trip, Jan. 19 2001
By 
C. M. Chen (CA) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: First Lady (Mass Market Paperback)
With the death of her husband, Cornelia Litchfield Case had thought she'd escaped the pressures of political life. But it was not to be. Continuing her role as First Lady for the new, unmarried president has taken its toll and Nealy decides she needs time off from her life of political obligation, social expectations, and public scrutiny. After careful planning, she escapes detection and finds herself unshackled from her burden. In complete contrast, Mat Jorik finds himself saddled with two daughters who aren't truly his because of his own soft heart. When Nealy reprimands him for leaving the baby unattended, he offers the now immobile woman a job caring for the girls in exchange for room and board inside Mabel, their Winnebago.
Susan Elizabeth Phillips has written a sensational story that truly crosses the border into women's fiction. The romance is underdeveloped but the evolving affection between Nealy, Mat, and the girls is wonderfully written. Phillips does an excellent job of developing this foursome into an odd patchwork of a family by giving us insight into Lucy whose adolescence puts her at an awkward stage but whose love for her baby sister takes precedence above everything else. As a romance "First Lady" is perhaps not the best, but seeing it through the eyes of Nealy makes it a wonderful journey of self-discovery.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful!, March 5 2000
By A Customer
This review is from: First Lady (Mass Market Paperback)
Susan Elizabeth Phillips is a writer who can take our fantasies and make them living, breathing stories filled with realistic characters. Who hasn't occasionally wished they could be famous? SEP shows us that being a national institution, much less famous, isn't all it's cracked up to be.
I loved Mat and Nealy. Here are two needy people who don't realize just how needy they are, and find the solution to their needs in each other. They also find a family complete with children, grandparents, a dog, and a Winnebago named Mabel. Mat and Nealy's journey is heartwarming and funny. You know it's going to end, but you just want it to never end.
I had a few small caveats: Ms. Phillips' political ideas (both secular, and, in one scene, religious) were a bit silly. While it's true that one can honestly embrace ideas from across the spectrum of politics (left, right, middle), such a person usually (not always) isn't well-rounded, but a fence sitter who prefers reading polls to listening to conscience. It was disappointing that if Phillips was going to portray Nealy as left, right, and middle-of-the road, she didn't take the time to show (not tell) Nealy's politics as an integrated vision, rather than just wishy-washiness.
I was also disappointed with the secret of Nealy's marriage to the late President. While it makes realistic Nealy's falling in love with someone else within six months of her late husband's death, I wish Phillips could have found some other reason. This particular secret is becoming a trend in her books (IT HAD TO BE YOU is another example) and I hope it doesn't become an agenda.
Ms. Phillips also needs to get her protocol straight. The masculine equivalent of the First Lady is not the First Husband. (We don't call the President's wife the First Wife, after all.) The proper masculine equivalent would be the First Gentleman.
That said, this is a great book. I'd love to see Lucy have her own story, perhaps while her mother is still in public life. Wouldn't it be great to see Lucy fall in love with a Secret Service agent?
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5.0 out of 5 stars This book deserves more stars than just five!, Feb. 28 2000
By 
Lee Haskell (CHARLESTON, SC United States) - See all my reviews
This review is from: First Lady (Mass Market Paperback)
I've read all but 2 of SEP's books. I never thought she could reach the plateau of some of her earlier books. Boy was I wrong! This book is different than her previous books but in a "better" way - if that's possible! After I started this book, I no longer realized I was reading, I didn't even have to make an effort to read, they literally jumped off the pages. I wish I was a writer so I could precisely convey how easy her books are to read. (this is a book for adults but she doesn't try to impress you by putting in rarely used words you have to look up in the dictionary.) She doesn't have to TRY to impress, her writing says it all. The act of reading becomes pleasure. I was hooked. I read the book in one day. SEP is the best romance writer, PERIOD.
And I am so glad I ignored all the negative reviews (some of the one's I read are so off base and completely unfounded! PLEASE, judge for yourself!)and read the book anyway. To me, this is her best book to date and I wish I didn't have to wait til 2001 for her next book as it informed me at the end of the book. THAT was the only part of the book I didn't like!
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5.0 out of 5 stars Another great book by Ms. Phillips, Feb. 22 2000
This review is from: First Lady (Mass Market Paperback)
I usually don't write reviews about books that I have read. I like reading what other people have written, sometimes I agree and sometimes I don't. After reading some of the reviews for First Lady I have to comment! As I was reading these reviews, especially those of the last few days, I had to resist the urge to pick up F.L. and re-read it to make sure we had read the same book. The chacters names were the same, but the characters boring? Please! That was not the book that I read. SEP has a way of delving into her characters until you feel you know them well enough to be your best friends. Nealy and Mat were no exception. Now, I haven't done any kind of research on the subject of politics and first ladies, but it doesn't seem to implausible that the first lady of the US of A could be a little burned out! It also stands to reason that a man who raised 7 (I think it was that many) sisters and was surrounded by women for the first 3/4 of his life would shy away from marriage and the family scene. Unfortunately, some teenagers do act like Lucy. It was annoying, but 14 year olds ARE annoying! There were a few unrealistic scenes, but it wouldn't be a romance novel without them. I don't know about you, but if I wanted more realism I would stick to reading only Oprahs book club selections. I think that's why a lot of us read romance novels, to take a small break from real life. I know I haven't described the book in any detail, you can read some of the other reviews for that. I just wanted to write this review to tell you to READ THIS BOOK! It won't be a waste of your time. SEP promises great books and great escapes and First Lady is no exception.
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