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 reveals they could 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 unshakeable bond. When a scandal from the past is revealed that questions some important untold truths, they begin to wonder if they ever really knew each other after all…
Sophie Kinsella has sold over 40 million copies of her books in more than 60 countries, and she has been translated into over 40 languages.
Sophie Kinsella first hit the UK bestseller lists in September 2000 with her first novel in the Shopaholic series – The Secret Dreamworld of a Shopaholic (also published as Confessions of a Shopaholic). The book’s heroine, Becky Bloomwood – a fun and feisty financial journalist who loves shopping but is hopeless with money – captured the hearts of readers worldwide. Becky has since featured in seven further bestselling books, Shopaholic Abroad (also published as Shopaholic Takes Manhattan), Shopaholic Ties the Knot, Shopaholic & Sister, Shopaholic & Baby, Mini Shopaholic, Shopaholic to the Stars and Shopaholic to the Rescue. Becky Bloomwood came to the big screen in 2009 with the hit Disney movie Confessions of a Shopaholic, starring Isla Fisher and Hugh Dancy.
Sophie has also written seven standalone novels which have all been bestsellers in the UK, USA and other countries around the world: Can You Keep A Secret?, The Undomestic Goddess, Remember Me?, Twenties Girl, I’ve Got Your Number, Wedding Night, and My Not So Perfect Life, which was a Goodreads Choice Awards finalist for Best Fiction in 2017.
In 2014 she published a Young Adult novel Finding Audrey about a teenage girl with social anxiety and her madcap family, and in January 2018, Sophie published her first illustrated book for young readers about the charming adventures of a mother-daughter fairy duo, Mummy Fairy and Me (also published as Fairy Mom and Me).
Sophie’s latest novel, Surprise Me, published in February 2018, presents a humorous yet moving portrait of a marriage—its intricacies, comforts, and complications. Surprise Me reveals that hidden layers in a close relationship are often yet to be discovered.
Sophie wrote her first novel under her real name, Madeleine Wickham, at the tender age of 24, whilst she was working as a financial journalist. The Tennis Party was immediately hailed as a success by critics and the public alike and became a top ten bestseller. She went on to publish six more novels as Madeleine Wickham: A Desirable Residence, Swimming Pool Sunday, The Gatecrasher, The Wedding Girl, Cocktails for Three and Sleeping Arrangements.
Sophie was born in London. She studied music at New College, Oxford, but after a year switched to Politics, Philosophy and Economics. She now lives in London, UK, with her husband and family.
Love is finding one person infinitely fascinating. And so... not an achievement, my dear. Rather, a privilege.
Hi, long time Sophie Kinsella/Madeleine Wickam fan here. I've been reading her books for close to a decade now; they are just the right amounts of tender cheese (and that's a good thing so don't knock it) to insert between my gritty crime novels and psychological thrillers. I know many readers hate on the light and fluffy crowd, but I say why can't we read something simply for all the feels? There's no shame in my game and I'll heartily embrace a pleasure read when I feel like it. While I was a bit wary going into this one after last year's My Not So Perfect Life, 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, we thank you!
One of the first things I noticed was how eerily similar my own marriage is to that of our main characters' *insert Sylvie and Dan*. No, Mr. Humphrey and I don't finish each other's every waking thought, but we are of roughly the same age and we have also been married for 7 years (8 next month!) and have a "dating" anniversary of almost 10 years. How's THAT for creepy? (It's creepy because those are the exact statistics of our couple in the book; obviously you wouldn't know this yet DUH CHELSEA!) Maybe this set up made it possible for me to get lost in the book, but at 450+ pages (which is neither a light nor fluffy count last I checked) I was expecting a struggle. I couldn't turn the pages quickly enough, and I found myself giggling and gasping right along with Sylvie. I didn't even care that the story wasn't wholly realistic or plausible; I had to know what would happen dang it!
Also, for a light and fluffy, this had a substantial ending. I wasn't expecting the story to take its unpredictable turn, and this really impressed me. I feel that most women's fiction novels containing this scenario have a handful of options on how to end the book, and this wasn't one of those standard filler conclusions. I guess what I'm trying to say is, this was a fluffy with some substance. This is the type of "guilty pleasure" book that you can read and drop the guilt. Although, why people expect us to feel guilty about any genre we choose to read I'll never understand. I'm surprised at how connected I feel with the characters, as I'm still reminiscing about the story and feel a little blue about having to leave them behind and move on to something else. Recommended with gusto to those looking for a romantic read that's soft, moving, and hilarious.
*Many thanks to the publisher for providing my copy.
Entertaining, but not my favorite Sophie Kinsella.
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. While the premise was fun, Surprise Me didn’t quite have the magic of some of Kinsella’s other books.
After 10 years of marriage, Sylvie and Dan learn that they could potentially be married for another 68 years. Worried that they will grow bored with one another, Sylvie comes up with the not so brilliant idea that they need to add some surprises to their marriage and launches “Project Surprise Me.” Things don’t go as planned, and the surprises that Sylvie and Dan plan for one another go painfully wrong, causing Sylvie to question whether or not she really knows Dan.
While Sylvie and Dan’s marriage plays a central role, Surprise Me is more about Sylvie’s relationship with her deceased father.
Sylvie’s character wasn’t my favorite. In the first half of the book she is super whiny, which I just couldn’t move past. However her whiny tone lessens as the book progresses, which helped a lot.
Don’t get me wrong, I love Sophie Kinsella novels; they often serve as my break from reality. Surprise Me isn’t a bad read, it just didn’t have that special something I often find in Kinsella’s books. Still I would recommend for a light, fluffy and fun mindless read!
I received a copy of this book from NetGalley and the publisher in exchange for an honest review.
Sophie Kinsella is one of my absolute favorite authors.... i’ve read every book in the Shopaholic Series and absolutely adored Becky throughout.... what I love so much about her books are her fabulous female MC’s and Sylvie was no exception.... strong, relatable, fun, self-deprecating, and a little out of touch with reality.... i’ve read so many twisty thrillers as of late and this was just the perfect pallet cleanser!
After Sylvie and Dan are told by their doctor that they will probably live to be 100.... they both start to panic, how can we keep our marriage fresh and fabulous for another 68 years? Sylvie and Dan decide to try to “surprise“ each other in order to keep their marriage on track.... soMe of Sylvie and her BFF Tilda‘s antics in trying to come up with “surprises“ left me laughing so hard I had tears coming down my face(I think my kids thought I had gone mad).....
Along with fabulous female main characters and tear inducing laughter....Miss Kinsella always has wonderful female relationships and almost too good to be true men in her books....Tilda was a truly fabulous BFF and Dan really had the patience of a saint....
The only “surprising“ part of this book is it had a bit of a more serious tone to it in parts... Sylvie, relationship with her mother, and her deceased father took on a very serious tone.... and admittedly I found it a little disturbing that Silvie still called her parents mommy and daddy.... in the end I thought this part of the book was done well and tied all the other pieces in the book together....
Absolutely recommend for a fun, fluffy, laugh out loud read... with some depth....
*** thanks to Net Galley and the publisher for a copy of this book ***
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. After Dan and Sylvie, who have been together for ten years since they were twenty-two, are told by their doctor they can each live to be one hundred, they have mutual breakdowns thinking about how they will possibly fill that much time together. Already, they can finish each other’s sentences and they seem to be able to read each other’s minds.
So, to keep things fresh, they decide to make an effort to surprise each other. No easy feat when they are parents to rambunctious five-year-old twin girls and busy with careers of their own. For a time, this does seem like a frothy novel about keeping the spark alive in marriage before it becomes a deeper look at relationships between family, husbands and wives, work, and yourself. It’s when this novel goes deeper that I really enjoyed it.
They start off by surprising each other with exotic lingerie and sex in unlikely locales, but ultimately they surprise each other discovering that there is infinitely more to learn about each other—and themselves.
This book is touching and funny and fun. Thanks so much to NetGalley and Random House for the opportunity to review this novel. This RELEASES IN U.S. FEB. 13.
Listened to this which I always recommend with all of Sophie's books!
I really wanted to fall in love with this book but it fell a little short for me. The first half was annoying, honestly and I had a hard time connecting with the characters. The second half was much better and I really loved it. Overall it was a fun, quick read much like all of Kinsella's other books and I did enjoy it!
4 silly, but surprisingly serious, stars to Surprise Me! ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️
Sometimes I think I subsisted on Sophie Kinsella books in my 20s. I looked forward to a Becky Shopaholic book like Christmas. It’s hard for me to believe I used to be quite the shopper then. I also have fond memories of reading Kinsella books at the beach or on vacation. I read The Undomestic Goddess while cruising past Sardinia! Her books are perfect for vacations because they are easy to pick up and put down, and well, they are just plain engaging, fun, and easy reading. So when I saw Surprise Me was coming out, I was onboard, even though I’m not on a vacation currently and haven’t taken one in years!
Sylvie and Dan have a happy marriage, and when they find out from their doctor that they are healthy and are likely to live close to 70 more years together, they each have a different response! They come together and decide to keep their marriage fresh with lots of fun and quirky surprises. The second half of the book took a more serious tone for Dan and Sylvie, but I enjoyed the way it wrapped up.
Overall, Surprise Me had the same fun SK humor, with a little, new “grown-up” flavor.
This was a Traveling Sister read, and it was a joy to share in reading this with them. Please see Brenda and Norma’s fabulous blog for Traveling Sister reviews: https://twogirlslostinacouleereading....
Surprise Me will be published on February 13, 2018. Thank you to Sophie Kinsella, Dial Press, and Netgalley, for the complimentary copy.
SOPHIE KINSELLA has always been one of my favourite go-to authors, so I was pretty excited when I was approved to read her latest novel, SURPRISE ME. I have enjoyed all of her books and to me they are such a treat to read inbetween reading so many thrillers. I like to be able to just relax and enjoy the humour within the storyline. SURPRISE ME definitely surprised me and I kind of liked the idea of Project Surprise Me too except for one of the surprises that Dan gave to Sylvie in the book which had me totally creeped right out!
SURPRISE ME by SOPHIE KINSELLA is a charming, warm, humorous and a feel-good story that even had a touch of mystery to the storyline and a surprising twist.
SOPHIE KINSELLA delivers an engaging, lighthearted and entertaining read here with well-developed and likeable characters. The storyline even had an element of seriousness to it with some thought-provoking issues that took me a little by surprise as I wasn’t expecting that at all. I loved it though!
To sum it all up it was an engaging, fun, moving, fast-paced, and an enjoyable read that surprised me, made me laugh and had an ending that made me smile! Would recommend!
Published: February 13, 2018
Thank you so much to my fellow Traveling Sisters for another wonderful reading experience!
Thank you so much to NetGalley, Random House, and Sophie Kinsella for the opportunity to read an advanced copy of this book in exchange for a review!
I needed something light and humorous to entertain me and this one delivered! I loved the whole concept of spicing up a marriage with some surprises. Sylvie and Dan have adorable twin girls and are about to celebrate "ten years" together. They have a joyful marriage, but Dan has had some issues with Sylvie's father.
They find out that they could potentially have 68 more blissful years together! They are both in excellent health and should expect long lives. Wait....this produces some "anxiety" for the couple. Can they really spend that many years and stay happy? This is when the surprise me plan is concocted and set in motion!
Lots of laugh out loud moments with the surprise antics they come up with. I enjoyed one in particular that gave me some hilarious visuals! The second half of the book deals with some more depth and brings out insecurities and second guessing that goes with it.
This was an entertaining and enjoyable book about marriage and making the journey exciting and fun.
I had a fun time reading this one with The Traveling Sisters Book Club group here on Goodreads!
Thanks to Random House Publishing / Netgalley for my ARC to review.
The only thing that came as a surprise was this DNF.
Honestly, I only read as much as I did because of my love of Kinsella. You know those stories that start off fairly mediocre and you just keep thinking (in this case, HOPING) that it’ll get better? It started off mildly intriguing: life is perfect for this couple, they have two beautiful children, good jobs, a happy life, and they even complete one another’s sentences. *groan* The two go to the doctor to get physicals at which point the doctor informs them they are perfectly healthy and they should plan on living long, long lives. Then he says: “You should have sixty-eight more wonderful years of marriage!” And then everything goes wrong. Because of course, they didn’t even consider the fact that they’d live that long, never thought about long-term being that long when it came to being married.
“We’ve got so much time.” “But what are we going to do with it, Sylvie? How are we going to fill the endless, soulless years of mindless drone work? Where’s the joy in our lives?” He looks around the kitchen with a questing gaze, as though it might be in a jar labeled joy, next to turmeric.
Even though everything is perfectly fine and they have happy lives, now they have to deal with the concept that they’re going to have to be with one another for SO LONG. Come on. Hello, till death do us part? This is why everyone fucking gets divorced these days. Nobody stops to consider what it actually means, what you’re committing to, argh. I just found the whole concept stupid. And I’m sure they get over it and get back to being perfectly happy with their kids and white picket fence but I didn’t really care if they worked it out or not. Plus? There was this weird obsession with her dead father and lines like this:
‘Here in the privacy of my own mind, where no one else can hear, I can say it: To the outside world, Dan isn’t in the same league as my father. He doesn’t have the gloss, the money, the stature, the charitable achievements.’
Not just comparing your father to your husband, who in your mind is lacking in comparison, but comparing your dead father to your husband… nope. I’m done.
I received this book free from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
Surprise Me is a standalone novel written by the fabulous Sophie Kinsella. As I began this book, I noticed a few separate plotlines that didn't seem to blend together very well at all and I had the initial feeling that Ms. Kinsella didn't quite know where she wanted to go with the overall story. I found it distracting and a bit confusing to be honest, but please rest assured that all these pieces fit together flawlessly later on. It does take a while 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. Surprise Me contains a bit of mysterious/emotional suspense, a few jaw-dropping revelations, family drama, both lighthearted and deep perspectives on marriage, and Kinsella's classic humor and shenanigans.
Looking back on the experience as a whole, I very much enjoyed Surprise Me. I always end up laughing and broadening my way of thinking when reading this author. Thank you Sophie Kinsella for surprising me! with the depth and substance you added to this story. Check it out!
My favorite quote: "Love is finding one person infinitely fascinating."
Thank you to the following for permitting me access to an advance reader's copy (ARC) of Surprise Me. This generosity did not impact my honesty when rating/reviewing. Source: NetGalley Author: Sophie Kinsella Publisher: Random House Publishing Group/The Dial Press Pub Date: February 13, 2018
My advice when you pick this book up is to view it as you would a rom-com movie. Turn off your inner critic and just have fun with it.
I confess I had a slight problem with the premise: a young couple panics when their doctor tells them they will likely live to be over 100, which would mean another 68 years together. If you're happily married who wouldn't be delighted at that news??? (True story: As I'm writing this review a news reporter is on TV interviewing a couple who have been married for 73 years! Synchronicity! )
But Ok, the couple decides to spice things up by planning surprises for one another. As you would imagine, things don’t always go as planned. Very amusing. The last half of the book turns a little more serious with lessons to be learned about married life, and the ending is as you would expect from this genre.
All in all, a light, enjoyable, predictable book and a nice break from more serious heavy reads. I liked it but not as much as the only other book I've read by this author, My Not So Perfect Life.
* thanks to Netgalley, the publisher, and the author for an e-galley of the book in exchange for an honest review * I read this with the traveling sisters group here on GR. Their book reviews can be found on their blog at: https://twogirlslostinacouleereading....
I must admit this was my first Sophie Kinsella book and I am so very glad to have stumbled upon this little gem of a book.
I so enjoyed the hilarity of the first half of the book and having a British son in law, I could just see him involved in some of these escapes. The second half of the story is when things got serious. It seemed that as much as Sylvie and Dan thought they knew one another both inside and out, there were many surprises in store for them as they have found out that there is a possibility given their lifestyles that they could be married for the next sixth-eight years. Could they be together for that long without a) killing one another, b) being bored to tears, or c) find themselves so far apart. So, these two set up a plan with surprises involved in which they will continue to add zest and spice to their marriage.
Those surprises initially turn out to be fun, silly things that often made one laugh. However, the surprises soon turn out to be more serious and as the story continues, a scandal makes them realize that what they thought they knew about one another might just be an illusion.
Ms Kinsella did a wonderful job with wit and humor to show the readers the many intricacies a marriage can have. It was a well done treat for this reader and an author I will continue to seek out
AS Dr Seuss once said “You know you’re in love when you can’t fall asleep because reality is finally better than your dreams.”
Thank you to Sophie Kinsella, the publisher, and NetGalley for providing me with an ARC of this novel.
Thank you also to the sisters who read this mostly fun but at times serious book with me. It is always a pleasure to share books together.
I received this book for free through LibraryThing’s Early Reviewers.
I was so excited when I found out that I won this book because I absolutely love Sophie Kinsella’s books. They are always so hilarious and so much fun. This book was no exception.
In the beginning it did start off a bit slow. It took a while for the story and the surprises to actually start, but once they did, they really took off. Many of the surprises were so hilarious, I found myself laughing out loud to myself. The scenarios were classic Sophie Kinsella.
I loved the cast of characters that surrounded Sylvie, especially her boss, Mrs. Kendrick. She was so eccentric. I also loved her friend Tilda and their friendship. Robert was another character I liked. I would have loved to seen even more him.
Of course, I loved how British this was. I’m American, but I love reading books by British authors and books that take place there. This book, like all of Kinsella’s books, had that quaint British charm. I especially loved where Sylvie worked. Willoughby House sounds like a dream.
The conclusion was really sweet. I liked seeing the evolution of both Sylvie and her marriage to Dan.
This is totally random, but when I was reading this, my mind kept drifting to something I learned in a philosophy class about Simone de Beauvoir’s idea of idolatrous love. I definitely saw some of that at play in this novel. Since I majored in philosophy, I liked that.
Overall, this is a perfect little Valentine’s Day read, especially if you are married.
Last year I read another book by Sophie Kinsella - My Not So Perfect Life -- and was thrilled to find the perfect “palate cleanser”. This year’s offering was also a palate cleanser but this one ended up being just a bit too fluffy and disjointed for me. There were things I liked, but it I didn’t take to the protagonist in the same way I have with some of Kinsella’s other books.
Sylvie is happily married to Dan. They have 5 year old twin girls. And everything seems perfect when both Dan and Sylvie are told by their doctor that they are healthy enough to live past 100, which they calculate as meaning that they have 67 more years together. Then they look at each other and wonder how they’ll fill those 67 years… And then their happiness seems to unravel. And course, things work out in the end – which can’t possibly be viewed as a spoiler given the author and genre.
The premise isn’t bad, but the book quickly becomes somewhat disjointed – less focused on the original premise and more on an odd dynamic between Sylvie, Dan and Sylvie’s deceased father. I always like the voices Kinsella gives her characters. They are funny, smart, self-deprecating and always a bit self-deluded. Sylvie has this recognizable voice but I found her self-delusions a bit too evident.
I didn’t hate it, but I didn’t love it. And I certainly won’t be giving up on Sophie Kinsella as a generally reliable palate cleanser.
Thanks to Netgalley and the publisher for giving me access to an advance copy.
I always enjoy reading Sophie Kinsella books and was delighted to receive an advanced copy of Surprise Me. I really enjoyed this book about marriage, trust and family. I liked the characters especially Sylvie and her twin daughters. There were quite a few laugh out loud moments. A feel good book that will make you smile. I would like to thank NetGalley and Random House Publishing for my e-copy in exchange for an honest review.
I was lost in the flowery, bushy and blooming with color lush Coulee with five of my Traveling Sisters. We all settled in at different spots and times in the juicy, delicious berry bushes in the lush coulee. We were surrounded by color, charm, and quirkiness with this story and these characters and we gobbled up this story as fast as we could. At times the seriousness got a little prickly for us in the thorny bushes with our likable and loved characters.
Like Norma, I am a big fan of Sophie Kinsella but somewhere in the flurry of thrillers, I forgot how great it is to read one of her books and how she always brings on a feel-good feeling with her signature wit and charm. I have not yet read My Not So Perfect Life but I have now bumped it up my list to read soon.
Surprise Me is a bit different from other books by Sophie Kinsella's girl meets boy storyline and in this one, she explores a marriage. We meet our very likable main characters Sylvie and Dan at a Doctors appointment and the doctor predicted that they will live long enough to be married 68 years more. This sends some fear of routine and boredom to them and they decided to spice things up by doing a few surprises for each other. This brought on some laugh out loud moments that could be heard from us within the coulee and we really enjoyed discussing this and some of our own stories of surprises with each other. Along with the fun, there is some seriousness to this story and it has some layers to it and we see a deeper side to this story. We start to see Sylvie and Dan grow apart and come together as a couple.
Sophie Kinsella does such a fantastic job of creating some likable, colorful and eccentric characters here. She does a great job developing an interesting and quirky character with Sylvie who we loved following along within the coulee. I highly recommend this clever, witty and charming story that just might surprise you with how deep and layered it is.
Published: February 13, 2018
Thank you so much to NetGalley, Random House, and Sophie Kinsella for the opportunity to read an advanced copy of this book to read and review!
Surprise Me is a lighthearted journey into the lives of married couple Sylvie and Dan who have it all, beautiful girls, successful careers, and a rock-solid marriage until the suggestion of another 68 years of marriage sends them into a tailspin that makes them question their goals, dreams, and each other.
The writing is smooth and effortless. The characters are quirky, comical, genuine, and lovable. And the plot is an engaging, moving tale bursting with witty banter, embarrassing situations, awkward moments, hilarious hijinks, and sweet romance.
Surprise Me is, ultimately, a story about marriage, secrets, commitment, family, introspection, and enduring love. It's classic Kinsella with well-crafted characters, humour, heart, a surprising twist and a delightful ending that will definitely make you smile.
Thank you to Random House and NetGalley for providing me with a copy in an exchange for an honest review.
Surprise Me by Sophie Kinsella is a nice little bit of humorous chick lit that is expected to come from this author. The book also had a rather interesting idea behind the story when a long time married couple goes for their check up and passes with flying colors with the doctor explaining just how long a life they should have together.
Sylvie and Dan are just hitting their ten year anniversary from the time that they first met when they get the news they just may have sixty eight more years of marriage. After a bit of a freak out the couple wonders how they will keep their marriage fresh and exciting for such a long time and decides to begin surprising each other to shake things up.
Of course the surprises and long life diagnosis are only the beginning to Sylvie and Dan’s story and there is much more involved as the book goes on. Sophie Kinsella took this set up and brought humor and fun to love, relationships, family and marriage. There’s plenty of secondary characters that are also well done being a bit on the eccentric side to just add even more laughs to the story.
Now while I didn’t find this one absolutely perfect I did enjoy it overall. To me I think I would have dialed back the angst and suspicions and gone more for the laughs but that’s just my own personal taste. Thankfully the way the story wrapped up showed a lot of character growth and uncovered a bit of a twist to keep the story fresh and exciting to make the angst worth it.
I received an advance copy from the publisher via NetGalley.
I received this e-arc via Netgalley and the publisher in exchange for an honest review.
Despite the not-so great synopsis I wanted to read this anyways. After all it’s a Kinsella book. Unfortunately it wasn’t any good.
The main characters were supremely dumb. Her 20 year characters (in other books) have more sense then the husband and wife in this book. Now mind you I thought the whole thing was bogus to begin with. I had no idea that this was a legit science. And even if it is true I still don’t buy it.
The worst part was their reactions to the whole situation. If it were me I would feel over the moon. I would possibly get to see my grandchildren. But no these two instead stress about how they’ll manage their marriage. Personally speaking I felt that they had insecurities about their marriage before the appointment.
Don’t recommend. Honestly just read her other books. Like My not so perfect life. It’s much better than this.
The prologue is a tease about Sylvie finding out some terrible secret about her husband, Dan. The first chapter starts with "Five weeks earlier". At the halfway point we've consumed two of those weeks and I'm alternating between frustration and boredom. I get it already: Sylvie and Dan have a surface bonhomie that buries some serious fissures with their lives.
The most frustrating part is that their marriage could probably become a solid one because they have a core of caring that could see them through. But both have internalized "caring" to mean "hiding things that are painful or hard". So they aren't so much talking past each other as living past each other with each holding in their separate pain even as it becomes clear that there are serious things they need to address.
And I get that Kinsella is setting the scene for their transformation but it is going on way past my patience for scene setting. She's distracting the reader with stupid little vignettes that I think are supposed to be amusing but that illustrate how little they actually connect or understand or communicate. So each of these little amusements are serving the deeper cause of illustrating the damage. Which sucks all of the humor out and leaves nothing but the quiet bleeding each is enduring because they don't want to admit things might not be as rosy as they'd like.
I had enough when Sylvie gets obsessed with creating "boudoir photos" of herself to give Dan. She's doing the same thing she did with the kitchen spruce up and the breakfast surprise where she has created a fantasy response in her head and isn't actually thinking about her husband at all. And I'm just tired of it. This is the third "surprise" where she's followed the exact same pattern and I'm bored and a little disgusted.
I've been ready for a turn around, or even just a hint of something deeper, but both Sylvie and Dan are superficial cowards living stunted emotional lives and I'm still three weeks away from the prologue's hinted discovery/turning point! I have better things to do with my time.
It is true that I love Sophie Kinsella's books, I have read almost all of them.Even though It was a long time since I read a book by her,you can't imagine how excited I was to start this one.I was hooked from the beginning and I couldn't put it down Surprise me.
This is a story about a Sylvie and Dan who are married and have twin girls.Their marriage is really great until the moment they visit a doctor who tell them that they are healthy and they will have many years ahead of them.This makes them panic and start having thoughts about their future.I find the concept of this one brilliant.Surprise Me has a deeper meaning and it touched me in so many ways.It was sweet,funny and emotional.It make me wonder about so many things.
If you are looking for something different then you should definitely read this one.
DO YOU KNOW WHICH AUDIOBOOKS ARE CONSISTENTLY FABULOUS???
all of sophie kinsella's
- this book was adorable - in the outrageous sophie kinsella way - I LOVED HOW IT EXPLORED ROMANCE AND LOVE AFTER MARRIAGE AND KIDS - idk if this is just bc i read a lot of YA and thats rarely portrayed, but i just loved it - and other relationships between family members from different age groups (fathers & daughters and mothers & adult sons etc. etc.) - i did find it to be loooonnggg and drawn out at certain moments, towards the middle my interest was waning but it did pick back up shortly - the plot twist was totally unexpected - like unexpected but x 15 - i dont even think its mean to be figured out - the surprises were hilarious and so were the twins fdalkfjklad - anyways, really feel good read, sweet and funny and leaves you feeling really satisfied
3.5 stars Was I surprised about how much I enjoyed Sophie Kinsella's new novel Surprise Me? Not at all. I expected it to be an entertaining read and it absolutely was. When it comes to Sophie Kinsella, the only surprise for me is that I haven't joined the millions of readers who love the Shopaholic series. I can't seem to get into them and yet when it comes to her stand alone titles I'm an avid fan. Love. Them. So, when this title showed up I couldn't wait to start it. And once I started I couldn't stop till I'd finished.
Sylvie and Dan have been together 10 years, have twin daughters and a fabulously healthy, loving relationship. They're in sync and know each other inside out. So when their Dr tells them they can each expect to live until 100 it should be music to their ears, but it puts a whole new spin on "till death do us part" and somehow freaks them both out. In an effort to spice up their lives and to ensure they continue to enjoy each other's company they agree to implement project Surprise Me. The story focused on their plans to regularly surprise each other and was at times so funny I literally laughed out loud. (I'm sure I caught a few odd looks from other passengers on my bus). There were a few twists - many of which I had seen coming if I'm honest but this didn't detract from my enjoyment in any way - there were some anxious moments, some sexy bits and Ms Kinsella filled her pages with a cast of interesting and lovable side characters. I kept picturing this as an excellent rom-com but regardless of whether it ever hits the big screen I'm sure it'll be a hit.
This was such a feel good, easy read and I am grateful to the author, publishers The Dial Press and Edelweiss for the opportunity of reading this digital ARC in exchange for an honest review.
The thing about reading a Sophie Kinsella book is that you know your going to have a fun reading experience. In this book, we meet married couple Dan and Sylvie. They have just been told that they’re healthy and may live a long married life. So they decide that if they are going to have 68 years together, they should have surprises for each other so their marriage doesn’t get stale. The thing about surprises, though, is that you may get more than you bargained for. There were a few laugh out moments and the premise of the book was cute. I absolutely hated that 32 year old Sylvie called her parents mummy and daddy!! That grated on my nerves. If you’re looking for a cute fluffy book, then I recommend this. Even though I enjoyed moments of the story, I didn’t love it as much as I do other Kinsella books.
*Thank you to the publisher and Netgalley for an ARC in exchange for an honest review.
Sophie Kinsella has always been one of my go-to favourite authors. I remember the enjoyment of reading the Shopaholic series for the first time and now I have reread them countless times (along with each of her standalone novels).
For each following novel that she publishes, part of me gets nervous that I won't like the next one. I am so happy to say that hasn't been the case for any of her novels and I have liked each with varying levels of enjoyment. Always, I have liked what she has written.
For this novel, I feel like it can have such a broad audience that can be impacted. Younger adults, older adults, single, married, divorced, etc. I think the story and these characters cover such a large network that many could relate with different things that the characters are going through.
This was a different story and somewhere around 3/4 of the way through, I realized I didn't know the direction that it would go. I hate to get cheesy with the title but there really were so many surprises! Some of the events that occurred near to the end, I really didn't predict or see coming yet I thought that it added to the story.
One of the best parts of Sophie Kinsella's writing that also occurred in this novel is the ability to relate. I think many people will be able to relate to many of the characters but especially to different aspects of the main character Sylvie. Her internal dialogue and struggles were real alone with her outwardly concerns. Along with this, the humour! Oh boy, there were times that this novel had me either hiding a laugh or literally laughing out loud. Sophie Kinsella does humour amazingly well and I'm happy to see that she included it so appropriately in this novel.
After reading this novel, I'm getting the itch to reread all of Sophie Kinsella's novels because they are just so well done and thoroughly entertaining. I cannot wait to read more from her in the future!
***Thank you to Penguin Random House Canada for sending me an advanced reader's copy in exchange for an honest review***
Did not like Sylvie. Did not like Dan. I thought Dan and Sylvie's relationship wouldn't be as infuriating compared to the typical romance couple since they'd been happily married for ten years, but they were worse than a pair of immature, hormone riddled, brainless teens.
After a couple of chapters I was firmly against Dan and Sylvie staying together, I wanted them to break it off, they didn't seem well suited at all and there was so little genuine feelings between the two of them, especially from Dan. The fact Dan totally freaked out when their doctor told them they could be married for up to 68 years said it all. Who freaks out when they're told they're healthy and will be with their significant other into ripe old age? Why did Dan act like it was a prison sentence? Why was it such a shock? Why was it so scary? Did he want to die young? Did he marry Sylvie thinking they would only end up spending a couple of decades together before one of them inevitably died even though they were in their early twenties when they got wed? I mean, he had to know they could easily live into their 80s, maybe even 90s or older so why was it such a turn off to be told he would have a long marriage? Especially when he supposedly already had ten great years of wedded bliss. If he loved Sylvie would he have that strong a negative reaction to that piece of news? Sylvie wasn't much better in her reaction either, but at least her worry stemmed more from the fact that Dan wouldn't want her for that long. Which was just sad. Also, Sylvie/Dan getting their knickers in a twist because they were healthy and would live long lives was the epitome of first world problems.
Sylvie was instantly unlikeable to me as soon as she referred to her parents as mummy and daddy. What adult in their thirties call their parents that? Especially an adult with young kids of her own. I don't think Sylvie's own kids called her mummy all that much, and they were only five.
Sylvie's adoration of her dad was weird, the way she talked about him was kind of icky. Her thoughts were beyond creepy at times, I couldn't imagine any child thinking of their parent the way she did her dad. Her idiolising him was bad enough but the way she got sad and upset that other people didn't see him as god-like as she did was too far.
Dan was a terrible husband, all he did was lie to Sylvia non-stop for years, even when she asked him direct questions about what was going on and he could clearly see how distraught and worried she was he still lied to her. And then he had the nerve to take out his moods on her when the secret became too overwhelming. He didn't even feel guilty about constantly lying to her and keeping things from her, nope, he was only concerned about how much pressure he was under, and not about how hurt and upset Sylvie was about his suspicious behaviour. There was nothing stopping him from actually telling her the truth instead of concocting lie after lie and in the meantime making her paranoid and depressed. And his excuse about not telling her was weak, as well as insulting - he thought she couldn't handle the truth because a couple of years ago she was upset and angry when her father died, like any person would have been in her shoes. I mean, WTF?! How else was she meant to grieve? Her grief wasn't anything out of the ordinary but Dan and her mother made out as if her reaction to her dad's death was abnormal, when it was actually a normal amount of grief and upset. And at the end he didn't even apologise for lying about something so huge for years, nope, he was made out to be the good guy. She should have seriously thought about leaving him, if he could lie for so long without any hesitation once then he could do it again.
Didn't get any sense that Dan loved Sylvie, it was like he was with her out of familiarity, there weren't really any strong feelings towards Sylvie, he just acted bored and like he was simply going through the motions.
For two people who were meant to know each other inside out they sure jumped to a lot of conclusions about the other and gave each other surprises they really didn't want. Dan getting Sylvie a snake? He was meant to know her oh so well but somehow he thought buying her a snake would please her.
Dan and Sylvie had twin 5 year old daughters, but you would think they were childless the way carried on. Sylvie showed so little love and care for them, she rarely thought about them or looked after them, and Dan didn't have any close relationship with them either, even when he was interacting with them he seemed mostly absent.
The whole Mary situation was bizarre, and it didn't put Dan in the best light, by the end I was still irked by what exactly was going on there. It was bad enough that Dan was Googling his ex-girlfriend and her marital status, but then it got even more dodgy when he contacted her after not seeing her for 10 years to arrange a cosy get together. On top of that, he specifically arranged it on a day/time when Sylvie would be busy and then he tried to dissuade her from being there, that should have signaled all kinds of warning bells and had her confronting Dan, but the silly cow left it alone. It only got weirder when he wanted to offload all his problems on Mary when he hadn't seen for ten flipping years.. he couldn't bring himself to tell his wife what those problems were yet he could easily confide in an old ex. There was little doubt in my mind that Dan wanted to start an affair with Mary, there was no other logical explanation for his behaviour. Sylvie really should have called him out on his sleazy behaviour, instead she was the one apologising to him when he was the one who did all the wrong things. Sylvie's biggest crime was being a spoilt, annoying, neurotic daddy's girl but at least she hadn't lied to Dan for years about a major family secret or got all weird and stalkery about an ex she hadn't seen for a decade.
Would you believe that this is my first book by author Sophie Kinsella?! I own a few of her Shopaholic series that I picked up at library sales but haven't gotten around to reading any yet.
This is a standalone book and starts off well with lots of laughs. Sylvie and Dan Winter, both aged thirty-two, visit a new doctor for their physical. He jokingly tells them that because they are in such good health, there is a good chance they will live to be 100 or beyond, meaning they could be married for 68 more years. Sixty-eight more years?! To the same person?! That sends them both into a tizzy!
What can they do to keep their marriage fresh for that long? "We need surprises. That's what we need. Surprises." But as Sylvie's best friend and next-door neighbor Tilda tells her, "Surprises have a bad habit of going wrong."
And things do start going wrong: Sylvie's happy life starts to unravel. How well does she really know Dan? Is he keeping secrets? Is their happy marriage a sham?
The last half of the book takes a much more serious turn. Sylvie relates this story in first person narrative, auto-correcting herself as she does, so it's interesting to watch the rather spoiled Sylvie grow as a person and challenge herself in her marriage, her job and some of her fundamental beliefs. She learns the correctness of the Latin proverb "vincit qui se vincit: she conquers who conquers herself."
Thank you to NetGalley, the author and publisher for the opportunity to read an arc of this fun new book.
Surprise Me is about Sylvie and Dan, a happily married couple in their early 30s, who find out they may have several more years together. Several as in 68 - Even for the happiest of couples, this large number could be daunting. They decide to start surprising each other in order to keep their romantic spark alive. This doesn’t quite work out as planned, and tensions build as secrets begin to surface.
This was a quick story, on the lighter side, and had both elements of humor and reality. I enjoyed reading the book but did not like it as much as many of Kinsella’s other books I’ve previously read. Sylvie wore on me a bit by not communicating with Dan, honestly and regularly, when I felt she had plenty of opportunities to do so. The overall outcome was predictable, which I didn’t mind, as I expected this to be a lighter book going into the read, but there were a few twists in the plot along the way that I hadn’t anticipated.
Decent, but wouldn’t recommend Surprise Me as a first book for new Kinsella readers.
Surprise Me is a more serious offering to the usual fare of Sophie Kinsella. Sylive and Dan, happily married, realise how many possible years of marriage they have left – almost 70 if the results of their latest medicals stand true! They need to mix things up and decide to surprise each other once in a while to make things a little more exciting. This reflection on life leads to uncovering uncovering some secrets, some more welcome than others.
Relatable characters and a more believable plot line compared to her others, this is more solid than the rom-coms I have previously read. Serious themes are discussed and I would like to see more of this in other titles I may come across in the future.
I enjoyed Sylvie, she was realistic and I really felt like I got to know her, as I did with Dan. Recommended read, which was still easy to read. Sylivie's prickly mother was a good addition, as was Mrs Kendrick. Nice old lady trying to become tech savvy. Good narration with the audio copy.
I thoroughly enjoyed this this book!Surprisinly, this is the first time I have read Sophie Kinsella’s work and I was well pleased with it! It was fun and had quirky characters that I grew to love. This story goes deeper than that and it faces what is deep behind face value and trust issues one faces. This novel was full of unexpected surprises and was truly heartfelt. I am glad that I picked up this book and finished it within a few sittings!