I’ve been a fan of Sophie Kinsella/Madeleine Wickam, since first picking up a copy of The Undomestic Goddess back in early 2005. I was delighted to receive a review copy of Surprise me, and it did not disappoint.
After being together for ten years, Sylvie and Dan have all the trimmings of a happy life and marriage; they have a comfortable home, fulfilling jobs, beautiful twin girls, and communicate so seamlessly, they finish each other’s sentences. However, a trip to the doctor projects they will live another 68 years together and panic sets in. They never expected “until death do us part” to mean seven decades.
In the name of marriage survival, they quickly concoct a plan to keep their relationship fresh and exciting: they will create little surprises for each other so that their (extended) years together will never become boring. But in their pursuit to execute Project Surprise Me, mishaps arise and secrets are uncovered that start to threaten the very foundation of their unshakable bond. When a scandal from the past is revealed that question some important untold truths, they begin to wonder if they ever really knew each other after all.
This is a well-done novel that starts off with a light, chick-lit tone. Sometimes you just need a book that has a humorous take on life and love. I should have known from the blurb alone that this was going to be the book for me. Sophie, you came through and for that, I thank you! This isn’t your usual light chicklit read – its around 450+ pages but those are page turner pages, I found this to be a speedy read for that reason. This is the type of “guilty pleasure” book that you can read and drop the guilt. I’m surprised at how connected I felt with the characters and still find myself reminiscing about the story and feeling a little sad about having to leave them behind and move on to something else. I really like the premise of Surprise Me–rather than the typical Kinsella premise of a single girl trying to get her life together and in doing so ultimately finds love, we have a married couple worried that their marriage has gone stale. It does take a while to get into if you’re not used to Kinsella’s tone, but the end result is a lovely message about loyalty, appreciation, partnership [and the consequences of the annoying art of not communicating] within a marriage and embracing the future, challenges and all, instead of stunting your growth by living in the past.
I’m a “quote” person, my fave quote from this novel is “Love is finding one person infinitely fascinating. And so… not an achievement, my dear. Rather, a privilege.”
If you are looking for a break from the unpleasantries that life can bring, this is definitely the read for you.