Surprise Me

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date: 16 Apr 2018

Member Reviews

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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Enjoyable, amusing romantic storyline.
It's perfect for a cold rainy day!
Surprise Me is a great 4 Star read.
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What a great and inspiring story. I thought I knew where this was going, but it was so much better than I anticipated. Loved it. And how refreshing to focus on current love affairs.
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Who doesn't love Sophie Kinsella?! Although the premise of taking a perfectly happy marriage and turning it on its ear is a  little silly and whimsical, it works . I always enjoy her lighthearted humor and earnestness, and can always count on a reasonably happy and thoughtful ending. Her characters are likable and easy to root for. Thanks for another great book!
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Sylvie and Dan are happy in their life and marriage until they discover that based on longevity models they have 68 more year of marriage. This makes them reevaluate their lives and decide to surprise each other and that does not go as planned. Plus now Sylvie is suspicious of everything Dan does. Will the surprises be too much for them? Love and marriage and trust are explored in this story of life. I love Sophie Kinsella and this book did not disappoint.
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I always enjoy Sophie Kinsella's writing, so it was no surprise that I really enjoyed Surprise Me when I was given it to preview in exchange for a review. Sylvia and Dan have been together for ten years when a chance comment makes them both very aware of just how long forever is. Sometimes we feel that we know our loved ones so well that there are no more surprises, but in this emotionally charged story Sylvia discovers just how many surprises are still there. I was pulling for them through the whole book as they learn more about each other. Funny, sad, happy...all emotions covered, yes, I recommend this one.
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Sophie Kinsella does it again.  She is one of the best!
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This was one of those situations where you just KNEW that a brilliant plan was going to go south. WAY south. You hoped not, but relationships being what they are, nothing can be planned without expecting some turbulence along the way. The entire plot seems too fantastic, but it’s highly probable. I mean, the mind meanderings of Sylvie could be a more hilarious version of mine. Some of the surprises that went awry were absolutely hilarious and utterly thought provoking. Saw the climax coming, but loved it nonetheless, Great new book. All I can say is, I would love a best friend like Tilda.
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"Surprise Me" was not the typical Sophie Kinsella novel. Where I've come to expect a romantic comedy, this book was a departure in terms of style. I often find myself laughing out loud at the characters and situations in Kinsella's books, but this one carried a lot more gravitas. Sylvie and Dan begin the book by celebrating a decade together. When they visit the doctor for their physicals, they find out they are in top-notch shape and likely have 68 more years together. 68 feels like an awfully long time, and terrified of losing the spark to their relationship, they eventually begin Sylvie's idea of Project Surprise Me, where they plan little surprises for each other. Each surprise seems to go awry and their marriage appears to be crumbling. The book catalogs their journey to Sylvie finding herself and exploring her marriage to Dan.

We follow Sylvie's life pretty closely, as she navigates changes at her work and personal life (particularly her relationship with her parents). Her work was particularly interesting, as she works for an older, quirky lady at a museum in fundraising. For example, their website is just a sketch of the museum saying to inquire by writing. The nephew of the owner arrives and casts shadows over all their odd behaviors, trying to drag them into the 21st century. The highest intensity in the book is Sylvie's relationships with her parents (whom she calls Mummy and Daddy still), which is not yet that of an adult child relating to her parents/has remained in the stages of infancy. Her father died previously, but Sylvie still worships him and believes that all Dan's hang-ups are just because her father was so great/powerful/wealthy. 

In some ways, Sylvie has a lot of growing up to do and really needs to find herself more than work on her marriage. The book follows these paths slowly, as we slowly get tidbits of everything and then a wave of all the behind-the-scenes explanations towards the end. I wish these revelations had come earlier, so we could see more of the coming-to-terms with everything part of the story rather than the long build-up/misunderstandings. Sylvie and Dan's marriage is pretty rough from the get-go- although they seem like a great couple, you learn quickly that they do not talk about much of importance, and this puts a huge strain on their marriage. Communication is really key, as we observe and they come to learn. I don't want to say too much, but I think this is really the theme of the book and becomes readily apparent from the start (so isn't giving away anything- all their conversations are a bit stilted and superficial).

I absolutely love the quote from a neighbor in the book, "Love is finding one person infinitely fascinating." There are some beautiful sentiments in the book about love and relationships, but it is certainly not a light-hearted or comedic book. This has a lot of gravitas and deals with some serious potential issues (for example, infidelity is touched upon as a topic which may make some readers rather stay away and also questionable consent). I am not sure if I would have picked up this book if I knew about the emotional roller coaster I would be entering, but I did still like it overall. I am not sure if I will read it again (as I usually do with Kinsella's books), mainly because of the overall tone of the book/difficult themes within. 

The ending was fantastic, I will say, and is reminiscent of other Kinsella books, so if you can stick it out to the end, you will definitely see her hand there. The characterizations are also classically Kinsella, and I loved the side characters featured in this book also. Overall, I think it was a good read, although not what I was expecting.

Please note that I received an ARC from the publisher through netgalley. All opinions are my own.
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