Surprise Me

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date: 16 Apr 2018

Member Reviews

I love Sophie Kinsella! She is truly a sure thing in my book so I was beyond excited when I saw Surprise Me on Netgalley…I was like hells yeah! The moment I was approved for this book I dove right in and didn’t stop until the very last word!
Sylvie and Dan have been together for ten years and they made their life very comfortable. They have amazing jobs, amazing twins and an amazing relationship. They believe that their marriage is perfect…..all was amazing until they both realize they are together ….for….the….rest…of….their…lives!
So they decide to bring back the spark and execute “surprise me”. I loved this concept! They start sending steamy photos to each other, unexpected restaurant dates but then some surprises turned into secrets and a scandal that makes them question their future! 
Surprise me was amazing! I really enjoyed this humorous yet serious book! Sophie knows how to fill her pages with every emotion! That is what I love about her stories! They are life with ups and downs, laughter and tears and best endings EVER!!
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Sophie Kinsella is a master storyteller known for multiple laugh out loud women's fiction stories. She continues this tradition with her new novel, Surprise Me. This time her story takes a more serious note as she dives into the concept of marriage. Although humor still abounds, I found Surprise Me to be a deeper social commentary on contemporary relationships. Even though this novel features adult characters, it is never the less, a coming of age story. I loved reading about protagonist Sylvie's journey of personal and interpersonal discovery.
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This didn't finish up at ALL like I had thought it truly was a surprise!  In true Sophie Kinsella fashion, however, you'll find yourself spiraling through a range of emotions along with the protagonist.  Her books are very real-life, the characters are easy to relate to, and the storylines are interesting.  All I'll say about the ending is, you'll think you know it, but you don't.
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After ten years of marriage, a trip to the doctor has sent Sylvie and Dan into a panic when they find out they could potentially be married for another 68 years. Upon hearing this, the couple devise a plan to keep their relationship fresh, and call it Project Surprise Me. They decide to surprise each other in little ways. Soon, the project is in full swing, and they start to realize they might not know each other as well as they originally thought. It was refreshing to read a romance novel about a couple who has already established their relationship.
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Surprise Me
Sophie Kinsella
Available: February 13, 2018
Thank you to for the opportunity to read an Advanced Reader Copy of this book in exchange for my honest opinion.
While I have yet to meet a Sophie Kinsella book that I have not lked, I kind of scratched my head with this one a few times.  Maybe it’s because my own father passed away when I was 13 so I never placed him at hero status in my mind and compared all men to him.  Maybe it’s because I was never coddled like an infant long after I became an adult. Sylvie does have a great heart and undergoes an epic transformation throughout the novel – both inside and out.
What I loved:   My favorite part was when Sylvie was describing a relationship to her mother-in-law; the description of two stores with the entertwining chapters to make one story made me tear up as well.  I think the metaphore is so accurate – each person still needs to have their singular, stand alone story that gives them meaning and their own identity, yet when their chapters are entertwined, its something beautiful to read.
What I didn’t love: I think Sylvie’s parents are real pieces of work – it seems like outward appearances mattered far more than how you acted. Dan wasn’t a favorite for a while – if you keep someone in a little box and protect them from everything ; then they are just going to live within the confines of the box and not continue to grow.
What I learned:  Some photos are best left to the professionals.
Overall Grade:  B+
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I always have a good laugh when I read Sophie Kinsella's books. The back and forth between Sylvie and Dan: priceless!  They are the perfect couple, but after receiving the news by their doctor that their marriage could last 60 plus years, Sylvie and Dan decided to surprise each other to prevent their extended life together to become boring. My favorite part was Sylvie’s job and her boss that was still living in the 80’s. I loved that Sylvie had a chance to grown up later in the book; she took care of herself and faced the pain and bad memories from her past. I totally recommend it!
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Dan and Sylvie have been together for ten years and are so in sync, they don’t even need to finish their sentences for the other to know exactly what they’re talking about; their life is perfect. Until they visit the doctor for a routine health/life check and he tells them they’re going to be together for another sixty-eight years. Neither of them can cope with the idea of being together for such a long time - especially since they’d never thought about how long exactly the concept of “til death to us part” is. So Sylvie comes up with an idea - they’ll do little surprises for each other, little things that’ll keep their marriage together, or so she thinks…

Sophie Kinsella is one of those authors you can always rely on. Her novels are relatable, funny, with warm characters you come to know like they’re your own family, and a new Kinsella book always brightens up my year. I was so excited by the concept of Surprise Me, because it’s true: You really don’t think about how many years you may have to live with someone, until someone brings it into sharp clarity. Heck, I can’t even imagine living until 102, nevermind with someone ELSE for seventy-eight years in total. I can totally see why that sent Sylvia and Dan into a tailspin, and so the concept of surprising each other was borne - with differing results. 

Here’s the thing, the actual “surprising” is very minimal in the novel. Very, very minimal in fact. And the surprising that there IS is a bit out there - the snake in particular was bizarre. Some people go for a puppy, Dan goes for a snake… called Dora. And Surprise Me actually turned into a way more intense, surprising read like an hour before I finished reading. It all suddenly seemed less of a joke-y way to keep a marriage going and it came to the point of were Dan and Sylvie going to survive their marriage at all, never mind til they both reached the grand old age of 100.

Dan and Sylvie were fascinating characters - on the surface, their marriage is perfect. They know each other inside out, they’re comfortable with each other and until that blip with the doctor that sends them reeling, you very much expect them to make it forever. It was intriguing to see how it impacted their marriage, to have a firm figure around how many years they would continue to be married and we see it all from Sylvie’s point of view. Now, I’ll be honest, I am nothing like Sylvie. She’s a few years older than me (5, to be precise) yet she’s lightyears ahead of me in terms of everything - she comes from a family with money, she calls her Mam Mummy and her Dad Daddy (which is just so bizarre to me), she’s a charity fundraiser, etc, whereas I bake pasties and we are just not alike at all. Yet I related to her really well. I understood her panic and why she was willing to go to such lengths to keep her marriage and the spark alive and I appreciated the fact, also, that Dan was willing to go along with it all. 

Like I said, the book gets way deeper, way darker as the novel progresses toward its end. It’s very relevant, in fact, to the real news we’re reading day in, day out, but it definitely brought me up a bit short. However I liked how it also made Sylvie realise a bunch of things, things that helped her to finally grow up (for lack of a better way to put it). I’m still torn over where the plot went, it wasn’t what I was expecting, and it did kind of leave me like “Woah”, and wondering how I would deal with that particular situation. 

Overall, Surprise Me was another Kinsella win (as if I expected anything else). I liked the premise, I loved Sylvie and Dan, even when Sylvie thought something ELSE was going on as to what was actually going on, I loved Willoughby House (where Sylvie works) and I loved the writing - it made me giggle and it made me teary all at the same time, as only a Sophie Kinsella book can. She continues to be one of the best voices in Chick Lit (or women’s fiction, whatever you want to call it) and this is why I get so excited whenever a new book of hers is announced, because she always, always hits it out of the park and Surprise Me was another winner.
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