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First Friends (Those Who Serve)

3.52 of 5 stars 3.52  ·  rating details  ·  217 ratings  ·  24 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 of 324)
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Jina Howell-Forbes
Dec 14, 2012 Jina Howell-Forbes rated it 1 of 5 stars
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.
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.
Sandy  Kemp
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 5 of 5 stars
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 3 of 5 stars  ·  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
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.
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.
Lynn Shurden
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.
I'm a huge fan of Marcia Willett and was happy to follow some of my favorite characters thru their lives.
Ellie Revert
A fun summer read--all about relationships.
Deborah Purdon
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
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
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!
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.
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.
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
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 2 of 5 stars
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
If you like British writers you will like this book. Excellent descriptions of the moors. Real people with human flaws as the main characters.
Becky Eck
Read this for my Book club and enjoyed it somewhat, but enjoyed the discussion about lifelong friendships even more.
Kim Leighton matthews
This is the first of her novels. You meet some of her characters that turn up in other novels in this one.
Alana Wilkin
Light reading, but many British terms that mean more to someone who lives in England!
a fun read....I hope to read about these characters again!
Melissa Snyder
love this one- Best friends, life and consequences
Anne Ford
Anne Ford marked it as to-read
Jul 01, 2015
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Jun 13, 2015
Sheridan marked it as to-read
May 31, 2015
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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...
A Week in Winter A Summer in the Country The Children's Hour The Summer House The Birdcage: A Novel

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