Book Review: Surprise Me, by Sophie Kinsella

Surprise Me, by Sophie Kinsella

Surprise Me by Sophie Kinsella

Published by The Dial Press on February 13, 2018 (expected)

Series: n/a

Genre(s): fiction, contemporary, women’s fiction

Format & Length: e-book, 448

Source: Netgalley

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Purchase at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Book Depository

#1 bestselling author Sophie Kinsella’s emotionally charged new standalone novel about marriage and family, and how those we love and know best can sometimes surprise us the most.

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 Surprises, 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.

With a colorful, eccentric cast of characters, razor-sharp observations, and her signature wit and charm, Sophie Kinsella crafts a humorous, yet thoughtful portrait of a marriage and shines a light on the danger of not looking past the many layers of the ones you love to discover how infinitely fascinating–and surprising–they truly are.

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Well, Surprise Me did, in fact, surprise me. Based on the blurb, I expected this to be your typical, run of the mill, chick lit book. And it definitely started out that way. But then it grew to be something more.

From page one, Kinsella grabbed me with her typical charm and humor. It was fun and entertaining to read this story through Sylvie’s narration, which felt like talking to a friend who is funny without trying to be. She makes up words just to describe her husband, like “scrubcious” and “tentery,” and when their meanings are explained, they actually make perfect sense. I connected with Sylvie on multiple levels; probably a good bit to do with the fact that we’re in the same stage of life. But she also had a great character arc and incredible growth throughout the book. And the secondary characters, while less fleshed out than Sylvie, still had some dimension rather than being caricatures.

Where Surprise Me diverged most from a typical carefree chick lit was in its plot. I thought I was a step ahead and knew what was coming, but it wound up going in a very different direction. Not only was it nice to be surprised by this departure, but I enjoyed the suspenseful angle it took, and it kept me invested in the story. I only wish the pacing would have been a bit more even; the first 75% or so didn’t match the last quarter, which flew by much faster than the rest of the book.

A witty and surprisingly touching novel, Surprise Me is an easy read for when you’re looking for something more lighthearted.

*Thanks to the publisher for providing an arc of this edition via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.


13 thoughts on “Book Review: Surprise Me, by Sophie Kinsella

  1. I’m so excited now after your review! I’ve been a Kinsella fan since her 1st Shopaholic book, but she’s been hit or miss lately, but I still read them all anyway and have this one waiting patiently until I get through 3 more ARCs that I need to read since they are published 1st!! February snuck up on me! I’m so glad it’s not a dud, LOL! Great review!

    Liked by 1 person

      1. You’re welcome! The Shopaholic books were great when they started then went downhill…a case of the series going on too long! Thanks! I think they’ll be good!! I’ve been really looking forward to 3 of them for a long time. 😊

        Liked by 1 person

    1. I think she’s done too many Shopaholic books, there’s only so many times I can read ‘Becky complete failure to grasp a satiation got her and others into hot water, and her child-like charm got them all out of it’ before it gets old. I think Kinsella is better off writing stand-alone novels.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I think it was a good concept that wears out a little more with each concept. I think Kinsella relies on comedies of errors, misunderstandings that get Comically out of proportion and heroines who can be niave and impulsive. Which works as a stand alone but when they’ve behaved the same way over several years an instalments with no personal growth, for me at least it gets a bit stale

        Liked by 1 person

  2. I have this one coming up! I need a change of pace so I’m thinking this will be a nice escape..haha We’ll see and enjoyed your thoughts on it.

    Liked by 1 person

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