The First Year is the Hardest is an honest, anecdotal accounting of recovery, discovery, and reinvention after divorce.  I recount my first year as a newly single woman navigating the aftermath of divorce. I have bared my soul in hopes my readers will find comfort, encouragement, and hope for their own futures.

It is now available on Amazon and Barnes & Noble; and, some local book sellers have it it as well. 

My next book is in its early stages and focuses upon life with ADHD. Stay tuned for a release date!

Now available on Amazon and Barnes & Nobles.

Now available on Amazon and Barnes & Nobles.


Editorial Reviews On Amazon

Jennifer Raphael conveys the hard work of finding her heart, without shirking the growing complexity of her feelings and present actions. The mixed bag of her emotional past is explored for its secrets and epiphanies.

--Kenneth Buhr, PhD, Marriage and Family Therapist


Raphael candidly expresses her feelings of resentment, loss, trepidation, and excitement and conveys those emotions in a way that reassures readers that they too will heal.

--Laurie Itkin, Financial Advisor and Certified Divorce Financial Analyst, author of Every Woman Should Know Her Options


Jennifer Raphael shares her struggle to rebuild a life and an identity in this layered and deeply personal account of starting over in the aftermath of divorce.

--Cheri Reeder-friend, book lover, happy divorcée




August 25, 2018

This book is beautifully written and insightful. It offers hope to those traveling the path of divorce. It affirms each individual's journey and the cycles of grief, self-reflection, independence and steps towards healing. It is a must read for those newly divorced and for those who have weathered this path but still need support when self- doubt creeps in. The art work is beautiful and the messages are inspirational!


August 9, 2018

The First Year is the Hardest: A book to be read, yes, but more importantly, a book to be used. Each six word mantra provides a focal point for interpreting and learning from the unsettling events that accompany divorce. At the same time, though, each six word mantra provides building blocks to help the reader begin to develop a new and even enhanced sense of self. Moving toward personal growth through her own reinvention of self, Jennifer Raphael shares hard won insights in a format designed to assist anyone struggling to emerge from the ravages of divorce.

Raphael’s word grief might not be quite the right word for others to use, but her slowly evolving sense of understanding will resonate with any divorced person. Incidentally, the book seems to have targeted divorced women as an audience, but I think the book will work as well for some men as it did for me.

Each mini-essay ends with a sort of emotional ellipsis…, inviting the reader to think more deeply. At some points, however, I found myself wanting to hear more about what Raphael had to say. An example: “Always fall asleep with a dream…”

I generally distrust guidelines formulated by an author. Guidelines tend to be artificial and in some ways impractical, but Raphael’s guidelines reflect practical truths that allow a reader to employ each succinct mantra as a useful launching point for further work and reflection: surprisingly effective and often even brilliant!


July 23, 2018

I read this book from cover to cover in one sitting! It is beautifully written, and inspirational. Jennifer has captured so much of what we feel whether from divorce, the death of a spouse, or break up of a major relationship. Her thoughts and insights apply to the general, yet intensely personal, suffering we can all feel from relationships that end in sadness. Well worth the money with concise, stand-alone, chapters and messages relevant to different stages of grieving. Thank you for writing this book! It gives me strength daily.


July 17, 2018

Indeed the first year is the hardest and Jennifer Raphael wrote of that time in her life in a warm and informative manner. Note she seems to be a proponent of Mindfulness Meditation, which is the only meditative method I have ever even liked, much less been able to participate in. I thank her for not only taking the leap in her life, but for writing about it in such an accessible way.


July 6, 2018

I'd just experienced a painful breakup when I was given this book. I felt like Jennifer had gotten in my head and understood exactly what I was going through. Besides the content, there is a haiku-like, six word quote for each chapter that is displayed on a full-color image that creates an inspiring piece of art. These catchy phrases stay in your head and the art is beautiful to look at. I recommend this book for anyone going through a breakup.


June 17, 2018

Jennifer I read most of your book on the plane today to Nashville. I was so, so impressed with the grace and respect that you showed in writing this book. I am so proud of you and can't tell you how much I admire you and how you've taken such a difficult heartbreak and made it into an opportunity to help inspire others. All of us....even ladies like myself who are happily married....can benefit from your weekly chapters because they provide so much awareness about living in the present and prioritizing what is most important in life. This is an amazing inspiration and I'm so proud of you! ❤❤


June 8, 2018

That first year of a marriage breaking up seems like an eternity and hardly the time you want to take up book reading, but this book gently navigates the shards of broken glass your life feels like without judgment or agenda, just giving you support to get to the next day's challenges and then the next. Short chapters, easy reading, profound therapeutic effect.