Expanding the scope of her storytelling as never before, New York Times bestselling author Joy Fielding delivers the novel that will captivate her devoted fans and win her countless new readers: an exquisitely tender and richly textured love story of astonishing emotional force. Behind the shiny facade of her seemingly idyllic life in Chicago, Mattie Hart feels as if she is falling apart. After sixteen years of marriage, and one beautiful teenage daughter, Mattie has discovered that her husband, Jake, a high-profile defense attorney, is ensconced in yet another love affair. It is only after Jake finally confesses his infidelity and leaves to live with his girlfriend that a far greater crisis descends upon the embattled Hart family -- Mattie receives some devastating news that will alter all their lives. Wracked by guilt at these unforeseen developments, Jake returns home to be with Mattie. Here, in this most daunting and unexpected of circumstances, Joy Fielding deftly ushers her characters through a poignant and heartbreaking drama about love's astonishing power to defy the greatest odds and to heal the deepest wounds. Bearing all the distinctive qualities of a contemporary classic, The First Time is a dazzling illumination of a marriage at the crossroads, where the ties that bind become frayed but refuse to sever, and where a long estranged husband and wife discover, for the first time, exactly what love really means. At once profoundly cathartic and inspiring, The First Time finds Joy Fielding at the height of her powers as she explores the amazing resilience of the human spirit.