Baileys Women's Prize for Fiction: First Love - Gwendoline Riley

RATING: ★★★★★

First Love is a short listed Baileys Women's Prize novel and very different from the other two novels that I finished: Stay With Me and The Power

First Love is the story of Neve and her unhealthy relationship with her husband Edwyn. In minimalistic writing, Gwendoline Riley explores the marriage and how financial troubles, insecurity and age difference influences the couple. 

The plot summary of this novel is short, because this is not an action driven book. First Love is all about emotions, relationships and how characters can develop themselves. While the writing is minimalistic, it is incredibly power and Riley is able to convey the emotions of her characters perfectly. Edwyn is constantly emotionally abusive at Neve and I felt the impact of his comments on her every single time. Due to the simple use of words and minimal descriptions, I was really able to place myself in every situation the characters were in.

First Love is not revolutionary in its concept like The Power is. This is a story about an unhealthy relationship and a woman who is too scared / financially dependent to leave it. Unfortunately, it's a tale as old as time, but the amazing writing really makes this story stand out. It's simple, yet extremely emotional, which I think is the point of literature.

There's no point writing a long review about this novel. The plot of the story is almost irrelevant - it's about the writing and the emotion hidden in it. It shows the beauty of books; how they can transport you to any world and any character at the skilful touch of a talented writer. This is one of those books you just have to pick up - I recommend every single one of you to read this novel and experience this writing.