Surprise Me

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date: 16 Apr 2018

Member Reviews

Some plot points were predictable. However, the message was clear and important.
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I was so excited to receive a copy of this book to read and review. I love Sophie Kinsella’s books and couldn’t wait to read this one.

In this book, Sylvie and Dan have been happily married for 10 years, have twin daughters, and are living a good life. They visit the doctor for their annual physicals and he tells them they will live a long time, they’re both so healthy. When they figure out they will be married for 68 more years, it throws them into a tailspin because it seems like forever and how on earth will they manage?

At first, they try to surprise each other to keep things interesting but ultimately this doesn’t work out and over the course of the story, Sylvie realizes that she just needs to keep being fascinated with Dan as she sees something new about him daily.

I loved Sylvie. She reminds me of the zany Becky Bloomfield of the Shopaholic series. I loved watching her shed her Princess Sylvie, daddy’s little girl persona and become her own woman, too.

This is a really fun book. I loved it and highly recommend it!
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A special thank you to NetGalley and Random House for an ARC in exchange for an honest review.

I have also had the pleasure of reviewing My Not So Perfect Life and couldn't wait to read Surprise Me.  Sophie Kinsella, you've done it again!  I absolutely adore your writing and your words make me smile.  (If you haven't listened to one of Kinsella's books, I highly recommend it, especially if narrated by Jayne Entwistle.)  

This witty and at times emotional novel takes a closer look at marriage and how we can still be surprised by those we think we know best.  Sylvie and Dan have been together for ten blissful years.  They have a lovely home life complete with twin girls, fulfilling careers, and an envy worthy relationship.  A trip to the doctor predicts that they will live for another 68 years—this gives new meaning to "until death us do part" when it spans seven more decades together.

To keep the marriage alive, Project Surprise Me is born.  The couple will surprise each other to keep things fresh and exciting.  But is seems that each "surprise" exposes the flaws in their relationship and drives them apart.  

Sylvie seemingly enjoys her work at a museum even though there are some pretty archaic systems in place—the owner, Mrs. Kendrick resists technology and Sylvie chalks this up to as charming.  Mrs. Kendrick's nephew, Robert, takes an interest in the operations of the museum and questions their methods and systems.  Is he trying to close down the museum and turn it into two-bedroom condos?    

Facing changes both personally and professionally, Sylvie experiences a tremendous amount of growth.  She adored her late father and has kept up the Princess Sylvie persona he created as a way to honour him, when in actual fact, she is doing herself and her family a disservice because she is not being true to herself.        

I fell in love with the supporting cast of characters, this is really where Kinsella excels at writing.   The tender exchanges between Sylvie's neighbours John and Owen were some of the most beautiful writing in the book.  One of my favourite quotes is when John says "Love is finding one person infinitely fascinating."  

Kinsella's latest work is charming, thoughtful, and simply delightful.
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I absolutely LOVED this  book and it SO needs to be a movie!  I laughed out loud at so many parts - Sophie knocked it out of the park!
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Another cute Kinsella novel. I loved the premise of thinking about truly living forever with someone, versus just staying together for a while. How would it change who you marry if you knew the timeline? It's a really interesting question. I thought the main character was a little flighty, but I was still rooting for everything to work out, and overall I really enjoyed the story.
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I initially thought that the issue that the couple faced would be an actual affair which I would immediately have DNF'd, but thankfully that is not the case. So anyone hesitating picking up book because of this issue, you can relax. The wife does suspect that husband is cheating but he is not.  So that aside, this book is about a couple who doesn't talk or know how to communicate. So while it is well written, one of my pet peeves is that the h is almost childlike in her thinking and the H is  a clueless idiot to reminisce about an old ex to his wife so fondly, then proceed to invite her to his home and cook her dinner, confide in her in secret & hug her! While it was all innocent, if MY husband did that to me, well let's just say that a major organ of his would be missing for sure! hee hee!
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Surprise Me
By:  Sophie Kinsella

I received an e-ARC from NetGalley and Random House / Ballantine Bantam Dell in exchange for my honest review.

I am a big Sophie Kinsella fan.  Her novels are full of fun plot lines that don’t drag and witty, clever characters.  They are people I like and recognize from my own slightly befuddled life.  Her last two books (this one as well as “My Less Than Perfect Life”) are different.  She seems to be trying to explore more serious topics.  At first, as a long time fan, this was jarring.  But then I recognized that Ms. Kinsella (like the people in her books) are trying to grow.  So I support one of my favorite authors as she develops as an author.  I suspect that, over time, she will smooth out any wrinkles and just get better and better.

Plot and Characters:
Sylvie (our main protagonist) and Dan (her husband) receive great news at their insurance physicals, they are both incredibly healthy and could live to be over a hundred.  First, that is excellent news.  Secondly, no one knows when our time on earth  is really finished.  Yes, the doctor has said that they currently are both very healthy.  This does not mean that they won’t get cancer, discover they suffer from some rare disease, or step off the curb (because they are too busy whining to see the traffic) and get run over.  So, instead of being incredibly grateful for their current excellent health, they both panic at the number of years that they have left together!  Yes, you heard me right, they are making themselves unhappy at the thought of their long lives together.  Now I for one like being married to my husband.  If I didn’t, I wouldn’t be with him.  We have been married 25 years (cue the applause) and are both In excellent health.  However, and this is the important part so pay attention, we don’t know how long we have left together.  So, anyway, the premise is irritating and the characters actually make me a little angry with all of their fussing and whining.  I’m specifically looking at you Sylvie.

Now the good thing about Sophie Kinsella’s books is that her characters grow and learn from their mistakes.  In many ways, Sylvie is still very immature.  The reader can see this in Sylvie’s passive inability to communicate with those around her.  I know this was supposed to lead to misunderstanding and hilarity all around but I just found my eyes glazing over.  You guessed it, the desire kept overtaking me to skip aforementioned annoying bits.  I didn’t because I want to write a fair review but this is not an ideal reader reaction.  However, the best part of the book is when Sylvie starts looking beyond herself and experiences a paradigm shift that results in real maturing.  She is able to see negative situations and people in a new light.  All the disparate plot lines, etc. coalesce into a clever and well thought out conclusion.   

The conclusion of this book is so satisfying that I forgive the few wrinkles (annoying plot points, whiny characters).  I’m also giving an extra point (taking us to four) for charming, quirky, and scene stealing supporting players.

Of course, I will always be back for more Kinsella.  I await plots driven by a great idea that doesn’t insult the reader’s understanding.
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This book is an absolute delight! I have always been a fan of Sophie Kinsella, and she never ceases to amaze me with her novels. This one, as most, is a must read!
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Surprise Me by Sophie Kinsella isn’t her strongest work by a good mile. How well do you really know your spouse? Is there a thing as being too complacent with your marital familiarity? Surprise Me explores this conundrum through Sylvie and Dan, who love each other but dread spending the next 68 years together in an already very familiar relationship. As the two devise ways to make something old feel new again, they’re quite stunned to find that there’s still so much more to discover about each other. 

I wouldn’t say this was my favorite Sophie Kinsella, as I’m generally a fan of her writing; it lacked the fresh characters and the sharp quips which usually hold free reign in her stories. The premise feels recycled, the ending predictable. Still, Kinsella engages the reader enough to plow through, and there are genuine and poignantly funny moments.
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Sylvie and Dan Winter have been together for ten years, married for seven of them, and have a set of five-year-old twins.  Sylvie says “We’ve always been that couple.  Blended.  Intertwined.”  But on the tenth anniversary of their relationship, everything changes.  It begins when they both get their annual physicals and the doctor predicts they will both live long lives:  “You should have sixty-eight more wonderful years of marriage!”

Instead of heartening them, it fills them with anxiety.  How will they maintain interest in one another?

Dan works out how many more times they will have sex:  11,000.  “Give or take.”  And they enjoy sex, and in fact have sex to celebrate their longevity.  The sex is great.  But as Sylvie says after they do, “. . . it was amazing.  And I do love him. But - totally, absolutely honestly - there’s also another tiny voice in my head.  Saying:  One down.  Only another 10,999 times to go.”

Sylvie decides they are living in a marital Groundhog Day” and they need to mix things up:  “We need to be jolted and entertained and challenged with lots of little surprises.  And then the next sixty-eight years will whiz by.  Yes.  This is it!”

But there is trouble in paradise, and the surprises don’t all turn out positive.  For one thing, Sylvie is convinced Dan dislikes her family, particularly her needy mother and the memory of Sylvie’s late father.  Sylvie was a daddy’s girl; she thought of her dad as handsome, dapper, and charming.  He died two years before in a car crash, but Sylvie remains bereft, and even still keeps her hair long, like Rapunzel, because that’s how her dad liked it.  She thinks Dan resents her relationship with her dad and her dad’s elan and financial success.

After a contentious day they spent with Sylvie’s mother, Sylvie thought: “I can’t possibly contemplate being married to Dan for another sixty-eight years.  The last sixty-eight minutes have been bad enough.”

In addition, Sylvie soon comes to believe that Dan already *has* gotten tired of her, and is having an affair.  She thinks it is with an old flame Dan has never mentioned before:

“…all Dan’s former girlfriends [are] logged in my brain, in the same way that FBI agents have America’s Most Wanted.  There is not and has never been a Mary.  Until now.”

Dan invites Mary and other old friends over for a dinner.  “This is officially a Marital Situation.  And actually I’m quite freaked out, in a way I really didn’t expect to be.”

So Sylvie does some sleuthing, and finds out there is indeed a lot about Dan she didn’t know.  And she has to figure out what to do about it, and to find her own identity in the process.

Evaluation:  As with previous books, Sophie Kinsella manages to find delightful humor in sticky domestic circumstances, and to provide many laugh-out-loud moments.  I thought the initial premise of this book about longevity was a little hokey, but once the author got into the “meat” of the story, it vastly improved.
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Kinsella's books are always entertaining, and Surprise Me is just that!  I enjoyed reading about Sylvie, a married working mom who idolized her dead father and questions her marriage.  Sylvie begins to question what she knows about Dan, and worries that their relationship is falling apart.  With humor and surprises, this book is a fun, quick read, great for a vacation read!
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I LOVED this book!! I felt like the main character, Sylvie, was my bestfriend telling me about her life. I laughed so much and really enjoyed myself. I can't remember the last time a book made me feel like this. 

Sylvie  and Dan have been married for ten years and are trying different "Surprises" to make life more exciting. How else will they last for the 68 years their doctor projected due to their awesome genetics. The side stories of with Sylvie's job and her neighbor add so much to the story that you feel apart of Sylvie. 

When the Sylvie figures out  that there is a secret that is being kept from her, you can feel the emotions that she feels. Her minds races to so many different conclusions, the same way a person would in real life. 

I would recommend this to anyone that wants a book that will make them laugh and feel very attached to the main character. It gets all the STARS!!
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Having read and enjoyed all of Sophie Kinsella’s previous books, I was delighted to get the opportunity to read an advance copy of Surprise Me.  Although I expected the book to be her usual humorous “chick-lit”, this book seemed to be more substantial than her other books.  I was pleased that the book still had plenty of humor, but there were also some serious issues discussed about marriage, family relationships, etc.  I liked the characters and the work setting, and I thoroughly enjoyed the unusual story.  I’m very glad that this wasn’t a cookie-cutter version of a previous work but rather an original premise.  I highly recommend this very entertaining book.
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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., I found the dialogue flowed effortlessly however I was missing the true gist of the story.
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Sylvie and Dan, a couple that has been together for 10 years, with two young kids, learn from a doctor that they are in perfect health. So much so, that he quotes them how much longer they will be alive, and the number is bigger than they would have thought. This news creates a bit of a downturn for the couple who are suddenly focused on what it means to be married for so many more years. They try to come up with ideas on how to spice up their marriage, and Sylvie comes up with this idea to surprise each other, to keep things fresh. Surprises are great, if you like them. If you are off target or things do not come out the way that you think they well, then sometimes the surprise is on you. 

This book is full of revelations for the two of them. As for the reader, you will be carried along on a fun ride with them. You get to see the quirky Sylvie develop, as the book moves forward, and it is impossible to keep from smiling when she comes up with new vocabulary words to describe the things that occur around her... especially for her husband. Why didn't I think of that? They are great words and it is so easy for them to make sense of them as they are used throughout the book.

If you are looking for something fun and light to read, and enjoy being entertained, then this book is for you.
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4 Surprised stars

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.
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Kinsella's books always have a good line of humor and entertainment in them.  This book had several laughable points, as Sylvie and Dan realize just how many years their "forever" marriage may entail.  It took me a little bit longer than expected to settle in to the characters and the story line, but then it was a quick read after that.  There are a few serious moments but the overall wit and humor shines through.
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What can I say, but I am and have been a huge Sophie Kinsella fan ever since her early days of penning Confessions of A Shopaholic.   So, I cannot thank NetGalley and The Dial Press for offering me an ARC of this newest novel, by Sophie Kinsella.

While none of Kinsella’s books are earth shattering in nature by any means. All have always been enjoyable and light, but fun reads for me. This latest edition was truly all of the above and than some. Here we were introduced to Sylvie and Dan. The two are seemingly happily married couple. But when a routine doctor’s appointment finds them being told that they will live for another 68 years, both are shell shocked to say the least. 

What ensues are the two of them getting freaked out and this causes them to try to create more surprises in their marriage. This in turn causes some strive and mishaps. Plus, old secrets come to light. The secrets exposed were definitely a surprise to me. Also this, then , leads the two to question their happy marriage.  How the two deal with these new developments and more is where the book really takes off. Plus, the ending is one that I would highly recommend seeing through to as it was well worth the payoff. - originally found on my Goodreads account
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This was such a turn- around from the books I have read by Kinsella previously,.  Highly entertaining with a lovely twist.  She is always a joy to read
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