My name is Ardis and I am an avid reader and budding writer. I want to share my love of books with others. I work with kids and am interested in finding and creating books that will ignite the reader in everyone. Contact me at: ardis.atkins@gmail.com

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Tuesday, February 13, 2018

ARC Review: Surprise Me by Sophie Kinsella

Please Note:  I received an advance copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.  This did not influence the opinions of my review in any way.  Also I participate in the Amazon Affiliate program.  If you buy this book from the links on this page, I will get a small fee.  This is also a great way to show your support for this blog (hint, hint...)

Synopsis (From GoodReads):
After being together for ten years, Sylvie and Dan have all the trimmings of a happy life and marriage; they have a comfortable home, fulfilling jobs, beautiful twin girls, and communicate so seamlessly, they finish each other's sentences. However, a trip to the doctor projects they will live another 68 years together and panic sets in. They never expected "until death do us part" to mean seven decades.

In the name of marriage survival, they quickly concoct a plan to keep their relationship fresh and exciting: they will create little surprises for each other so that their (extended) years together will never become boring. But in their pursuit to execute Project Surprise Me, mishaps arise and secrets are uncovered that start to threaten the very foundation of their unshakable bond. When a scandal from the past is revealed that question some important untold truths, they begin to wonder if they ever really knew each other after all.

When I pick up one of her books,  I know Sophie Kinsella will deliver a sharp, funny novel every time.   Surprise Me, her latest book, deals with marriage, and the pressures to keep love alive through the long haul.  While this was a fun book, I did have some issues with it, starting with the premise.

What I Didn't Like:
The entire premise of this book is that the couple, Silvie and Dan, are told they are going to live to be over one-hundred.  This means that their ten year relationship has about sixty-eight more years to go.  They panic, and worry about how they are going to survive such a long time together.  They act like this is a prison sentence!

As a person who will be soon celebrating thirty-five years with my partner (30 of them married), I immediately thought, "well, if you are that upset about the prospect of a lifetime together, you're with the wrong person".  

First of all, it is a privilege to grow old with your partner.  For me, the past thirty-five years have gone in the blink of an eye!  One of the main reasons that I want to live a long life is so I can have more time with my partner (and my kids, too).

Also, Silvie and Dan seem to think that the person they are married to right now will be exactly the same person down the line.  This is ridiculous.  I know that I am a different person now than even just ten years ago.  And the same goes for my husband.  Everyone grows and matures as time goes by.  The trick is to not grow apart. 

What I Did Like:
Silvie and Dan are like many thirty-something couples.  Busy with work and family, they rarely have much time to be a couple.  Often, they are more like roommates, getting their chores done.  I liked that they could see this and it bothered them.  They genuinely did want to make their marriage work, even if their methods were silly.

I also enjoyed Silvie's neighbor and best friend, Tilda.  She is a solid character who is more than just a sounding board for Silvie's concerns.  Tilda is dealing with her own adult son still living at home.  She both wants him to become responsible and move on with her life, and also is afraid when he does he will never visit. 

I think this whole book is about how life changes.  As the years move forward, we are not the same people.  Relationships change, and not just in marriage.  There is a big shift in how Silvie and her mother see each other by the end of the story, as well as how Tilda and her son, Toby interact.  And romantic relationships change, and grow as well.  Even companies and jobs evolve, as both Dan, and Silvie find out. 

The Ending:
I was getting very annoyed with this book until it finally came together at the end.  As I ranted about earlier in this review, I thought the premise was weak and I worried that the couple wouldn't realize how lucky they were.  But the ending did redeem the book.  Insights were had and lessons were learned.

Even with the problematic premise, I did enjoy this book.  There are some genuinely funny moments, along with some sexy, married fun!



Release Date:  February 13th, 2018

Genre:  General Fiction

Publisher:  Dial Press

Page Length:  432 Pages

Source:  NetGalley

Format:  E-Book

Recommendation:  A light tale of the longevity of marriage.  Even with some issues, this was a fun book.

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2019 Reading Challenge

2019 Reading Challenge
MsArdychan has read 10 books toward her goal of 120 books.


80% 80% 100 Book Reviews 2016 NetGalley Challenge
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