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First Friends

3.69  ·  Rating Details ·  323 Ratings  ·  32 Reviews
Cass and Kate meet at school--and are firm friends for the rest of their lives. Both marry naval officers, but Cass's infidelity has far-reaching consequences for her children--and Kate's. Many of the characters in First Friends (published in the UK as Those Who Serve) reappear in later Marcia Willett novels, and we meet their children as well. As always, Marcia Willett's ...more
Paperback, 416 pages
Published August 8th 2006 by St. Martin's Griffin (first published April 1st 1996)
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(showing 1-30)
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Jina Howell-Forbes
Dec 14, 2012 Jina Howell-Forbes rated it did not like it
Recommends it for: no one
Recommended to Jina by: Amazon
Did not finish. After five chapters, I still didn't like any of the main characters, and didn't care what happened to them. I usually like Marcia Willett, but not this time. I wish Goodreads had a "chose not to finish" option.
Mar 27, 2008 Sue rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Kate and Cass are close friends with very different outlooks. One stays in an unhappy marriage, the other has many affairs. The first chapter is a 'flash-forward' to an event in Cass's life, and clearly overshadows the whole book. Well-written and believable, with hope in the midst of pain.

First read in 2000. Enjoyed the second time of reading, too, eight years later. This is Marcia Willett's first novel, and some of the characters introduced in it re-appear in her later books.
Mar 09, 2010 Carol rated it it was ok
I only gave this book 2 stars because I managed to finish it. I would not compare this author to Rosemunde Pilcher. I didn't think it was really a book about friendships either. The focus seemed to be mostly on who was sleeping with who and can we get away from it. I hope her later books are better because I think I have 3 more on my TBR.
Nov 15, 2012 Kim rated it it was ok
I'm so glad that I read "A Friend of the Family" before I read this book. I really loved "A Friend of the Family", which is a sequel to "First Friends". I quite liked Cass in "A Friend..." and really hated her in this book. In this book, the first page tells you the tragic end to the story and you read the entire book with a feeling of dread.
Sandy  Kemp
Sep 14, 2013 Sandy Kemp rated it it was ok
A seemingly endless round of tawdry affairs conducted by very silly women and obnoxious men. Found it a bit boring. Difficult for me to like any of the characters.
Aug 15, 2008 Norabee rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: women
This story spotlights a valuable treasure in a woman’s life – that of true and abiding friendship.

Kate & Cass became friends as young girls in England and kept their friendship alive through adulthood when they both marry naval officers, had children and began their lives as military families. Though they were not always living in the same location (a standard woe for naval families) they keep close with visits, letters and phone calls.
Kate feel trapped in a loveless marriage. Her husband do
Sep 29, 2008 Carolynne rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: fans of Rosamund Pilcher, Janet Lambert's Governor Island books, or Land Girls
Shelves: romance
The first novel by Marcia Willett, this is the story of Kate Webster and Cass Wivenhoe, who meet at age 12 at an English boarding school and are friends for life. They are very different--Cass is free spirited and regularly unfaithful to husband Tom, a decent and loving husband, whereas Kate is faithful to her Navy officer husband, who is condescending, cold, and controlling. Cass' wildness leads to a family tragedy that forms a frame around the central story. This book is also known as First Fr ...more
Lynn Shurden
Jun 26, 2012 Lynn Shurden rated it liked it
First published in 1995 in England and in America in 2006. I've decided after the second book I've read by this author that she is fast becoming one of my favorite English writers. I've got two more to read by her sitting on my nightstand, and I look forward to them.
Feb 12, 2009 Deb marked it as to-read
Publishers' habit of printing British books in the US with different titles really irks me. I know I read a couple of her books when I was in Britain, but its really hard to tell which ones when the titles are changed.

I do like this author, though.
Dec 25, 2013 Chris rated it really liked it
Shelves: human-drama
I'm a huge fan of Marcia Willett and was happy to follow some of my favorite characters thru their lives.
Ellie Revert
Jul 19, 2008 Ellie Revert rated it liked it
A fun summer read--all about relationships.
Terri Edwards
Nov 18, 2016 Terri Edwards rated it did not like it
Shelves: didn-t-finish
Too many affairs and insipid dialogue; however, I will give her another try, as this was her first book, and I've read two in a trilogy that she wrote and enjoyed them.
Apr 19, 2013 Dianne rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2012
I think they got the title wrong. It should be called "How Many Extra-marital Affairs Can We Fit Into One Novel?" Seriously. It paints an almost hopeless picture of British Naval marriages.

The story follows two best friends who marry submariners and settle down in Navy living quarters, frequently moving to new postings, socializing with other Navy wives and spending long weeks/months alone while their husbands are at sea.

The first half is more focused on Kate and her poor excuse for a husband, M
Caroline Button
Sep 30, 2015 Caroline Button rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: charity
When is Hong to read through my Marcia Willetts collection, this is the place to start as although stand alone novels, its best to read in chronological order as the author develops her characters and their lives throughout her books, supporting characters in one book will become principal ones in following novels and vice Versa. I love immersing myself into the Devon countryside so vividly brought to life and the daily lives of the Havel wives, it's a book of contrasts introducing the steadfast ...more
Jul 22, 2012 Linda rated it it was amazing
Kate Webster and Cass Wivenhoe have been friends since they were 12 years old. You travel through their lives for the next 15 years. Both women marry Naval men and their husbands are as different as Kate and Cass. Kate has twin boys and her husband is unloving bully. Cassandra (Cass) marries Tom and both have numerous extra marital affairs. I really enjoyed this novel because I had already read the novel when Kate is an older woman and one of her twin boys marries one of Cass's daughters. The in ...more
Aug 17, 2014 Deborah rated it really liked it
From page one you know that Charlotte, the 15 year old daughter of Cass, dies, but Julian of Norwich's "and all shall be well" quote on the last page still made me cry. I was pretty enthralled for most of the 400 pages of this novel but I did get a big bogged down towards the end, tired of the comings and goings of Cass, Kate, Harriet, Hammy and Jane and wondering how it all was going to wrap up. This is the second Marcia Willett I've read, and I am thankful there are plenty more to add to my "t ...more
Nov 11, 2010 Joni rated it liked it
Shelves: chick-lit, fluff, 2010
Picked this up off the library shelf by chance while wait for my holds to come in. I liked a lot of the characters and the writing is pretty good, but all the affairs got a little boring.

The write-up on the back says, "Marcia Willett's wise understanding of love, loss, marriage, and parenthood is conveyed with honesty, generosity, and compassion." Maybe I live is a little puritanical bubble, but the marriages she conveys in this book look NOTHING like the marriages I know!
Mar 19, 2009 Bea rated it it was amazing
I am going to read more of this author's books.

I really liked the way the story went, I felt like both of the wives were quite interesting, different and in very challenging marriages

reminds me of maeve binchy or joanna trollope
Aug 09, 2012 Mel rated it liked it
Kate and Cass as different as chalk and cheese which cements their friendship at English boarding school and results in their similarly timed weddings to submarine men. They both find ways to cope with their husbands long absences at sea and find joy in motherhood.
Excellent writing about naval families in the latter part of the twentieth century. Got a little weird toward the end, but I've already started another book of hers.
Jan 19, 2016 Christine rated it it was ok
English novel of two friends who marry naval officers and remain friends despite their different marriages.
Oct 30, 2012 Leone rated it really liked it
If you like British writers you will like this book. Excellent descriptions of the moors. Real people with human flaws as the main characters.
Kim Leighton matthews
Sep 09, 2014 Kim Leighton matthews rated it it was amazing
This is the first of her novels. You meet some of her characters that turn up in other novels in this one.
Sep 02, 2013 Sue rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
good light hearted read although sometimes gets a bit confusing as to who is having an affair with who and who knows about it but liked the "bullet" at the end .
Sep 17, 2008 Carol rated it it was ok
Recommends it for: navy wives
This book is interesting until about half way through, then it segways into ultimate boredom territory..with extra story lines added in that lend nothing
Becky Eck
Nov 08, 2012 Becky Eck rated it liked it
Read this for my Book club and enjoyed it somewhat, but enjoyed the discussion about lifelong friendships even more.
LInda L
Mar 05, 2016 LInda L rated it liked it
LOng book about some silly people, some terrible people, and a few niice people. Went on and on and on far too long.
Linda K
Linda K rated it really liked it
Oct 03, 2010
Darla Pitman
Darla Pitman rated it really liked it
Jan 22, 2013
Elinor Day
Elinor Day rated it liked it
Jul 26, 2011
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Marcia Willett began her career as a novelist when she was fifty years old. Since that first novel Marcia has written twenty more under her own name as well as a number of short stories. She has also written four books under the pseudonym "Willa Marsh", and is published in more than sixteen countries.

Marcia Willett's early life was devoted to the ballet, but her dreams of becoming a ballerina end
More about Marcia Willett...

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