Surprise Me by Sophie Kinsella

Surprise Me

Sophie Kinsella

Surprise Me reveals that hidden layers in a close relationship are often yet to be discovered.

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NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER • A witty and emotionally charged novel that delves into the heart of a marriage, and how those we love and think we know best can sometimes surprise us the most

“A delightful take on the mixed blessings of marital longevity.”—People
 
After ten years together, Sylvie and Dan have a comfortable home, fulfilling jobs, and beautiful twin girls, and they communicate so seamlessly they finish each other’s sentences. They have a happy marriage and believe they know everything there is to know about each other. Until it’s casually mentioned to them that they could be together for another sixty-eight years . . . and panic sets in. 
           
They decide to bring surprises into their marriage to keep it fresh and fun. But in their pursuit of Project Surprise Me—from unexpected gifts to restaurant dates to sexy photo shoots—mishaps arise, with disastrous and comical results. Gradually, surprises turn to shocking truths. And when a scandal from the past is uncovered, they begin to wonder if they ever really knew each other at all.
           
With a colorful cast of eccentric characters, razor-sharp observations, and her signature wit and charm, Sophie Kinsella presents a humorous yet moving portrait of a marriage—its intricacies, comforts, and complications. Surprise Me reveals that hidden layers in a close relationship are often yet to be discovered.

Praise for Surprise Me

“Genuinely funny.”—The New York Times Book Review
 
“Unexpected and wholly satisfying.”USA Today

“In her signature fashion, Sophie Kinsella brings a cast of quirky, funny characters to this new work. [She] keeps the laughs coming. . . . Readers will follow the story with bated breath as the couple struggle to make their marriage right after everything they thought they knew about each other proves wrong.”Library Journal
 
“Heartfelt . . . What at first seems like a light novel about familiar woes turns into a deeper story about trust, family, and perception.”Publishers Weekly
  
“Winsome and zesty, Kinsella’s latest delivers all the hallmarks her many fans have come to expect.”Booklist
 
“Pure fun . . . a hilariously moving look at marriage and the power of mixing things up.”Kirkus Reviews


Advance Galley Reviews

If you were told that you had 68 more years with your significant other? Would you freak out or revel in the amount of time you have left? This story took me on a roller coaster ride of emotions. Sophie Kinsella did an excellent job of keeping me interested and making me so frustrated with the characters while loving them at the same time. When Sylvie started going on her marriage saving rampage I couldn't help but laugh and relate to everything that she did. The way the story unfolded took me much deeper into the heart and soul of a family and the inevitably fraying threads that hold them together.

The wacky happenings of a married couple who contemplate the possibility of 60+ years of living and sleeping only with each other, Sophie Kinsella creates a world where two people believe they know the ins and outs of their spouse then find out they don’t, This book reminds me of the Pina Colada song (Escape) where a couple feels they are disconnecting then find out they love to do the things they never do together as much as much as they love each other, Although I like this novel it was not one of my top Kinsella Novels. The two main characters- Sylvia and Dan are not as lovable or relatable as some of the other characters in Surprise Me. In that vein I am only giving this book 3 stars.

This was my first time reading one of Sophie Kinsella's books, and I was looking forward to enjoying it. However, I found the dialogue and characters so superficial and unbelievable that I was unable to read past page 75. It's very rare for me not to finish a book, but this one was too painful for me to continue. Obviously, I'm in the minority of readers who aren't Kinsella fans. Even though this is not a book for me, I love that there are so many, many authors who can write for such varied audiences. Thank you, Penguin First To Read, for introducing me to Sophie Kinsella.

Sophie Kinsella has a strong writing voice, and I love it! This book does not fail in being another instant love for me. The main characters are relatable and lovable. As I am coming up on my 5 year wedding anniversary this book made me think about relationships and what you think they are, what they will be and how to survive to the end. It was a light book with emotional punches tucked in. I think I read it at the perfect time and thoroughly enjoyed it.

Every reader at some point is going to find books that just aren't for them....ones that are well written with an interesting premise but just don't click for them. I found that to be the case for me with Surprise Me. The premise is interesting enough....a longtime married couple struggles to find ways to keep their relationship fresh and exciting after they discover they might be together for another 60+ years. Things do not go as planned. The characters are quirky and there are some funny moments. The story just didn't work for me. I never connected with the characters at all. Nothing wrong with the book....just one that's not for me. It happens.

I have always enjoyed Sophie Kinsella's books, and Surprise Me was no exception. Her main characters are always very relateable with their, fun loving, slightly chaotic and slightly out of touch with reality. I love the writing style and it's a quick, fun and easy read. Dan and Sylvie, have an idyllic life style, good jobs, good health and a good relationship. A good relationship until they both get a little freaked out when the doctor tells them they are in such good health they can expect to spend another 68 years together. Sylvie comes up with an idea of surprise each other to bring back some spice. But it ends up going wrong, as you would probably expect. It all comes to head when Sylvie finds out some horrible news about her father, that Dan and her mother were trying to shield her from. It has all the trademark points of a "fluff" novel, it also contains some very emotional scenes that make you think about your life and relationships.

For me, this book was "just okay" at best. I found the main character extremely frustrating, and the story in general just seemed to be all over the place. The novel itself was well written, but I really had to push myself to finish this. I will say that the story had a pretty good resolution. This was my first time reading a novel by Sophie Kinsella, and even though I didn't connect with this one, I wouldn't mind trying another book written by her.

Book Description After ten years together, Sylvie and Dan have a comfortable home, fulfilling jobs, and beautiful twin girls and they communicate so seamlessly they finish each other’s sentences. They have a happy marriage and believe they know everything there is to know about each other. Until it’s casually mentioned to them that they could be together for another sixty-eight years . . . and panic sets in. They decide to bring surprises into their marriage to keep it fresh and fun. But in their pursuit of Project Surprise Me—from unexpected gifts to restaurant dates to sexy photo shoots—mishaps arise, with disastrous and comical results. Gradually, surprises turn to shocking truths. And when a scandal from the past is uncovered, they begin to wonder if they ever really knew each other at all. My Thoughts One of my reading goals for 2018 is to step out of my typical genre box and try some books and authors I usually wouldn't give more than a cursory glance. Surprise Me isn't something I would usually read, but it arrived at a time when I was actively working on my ' try some new authors/books goal'.While I didn't dislike the story, I did find the event that turned Sylvie and Dan's world upside down rather odd. If my doctor told me that I would live a long and healthy life I wouldn't panic. I would actually be thrilled to know I might actually accomplish everything on my bucket list. So for me the panic they experience at the thought of living a long life together just left me perplexed. I read quite a few reviews on Goodreads and saw that many people found this to be a fun and easy read. So I have to say while this wasn't the book for me, if you like the book description and/or Sophie Kinsella it might work for you. I did enjoy her writing style and do plan to try another one of her books. Thank you, Sophie Kinsella, and First to Read for the digital copy to read and review.

This is generally not my type of book (I tend to avoid classic “chick lit” like the plague), but I will admit that is was a feel-good, easy read that even managed to make me LOL once or twice. I am an American who lived in England for a year, so I found it fun to come across the little familiar quirks in language and culture that I remember from my time there. I will say I am so glad that the character arc was pretty drastic, mostly because I can’t imagine that I am the only person somewhat weirded out by a 32-year-old woman seriously referring to her parents as mummy and daddy? Sylvia at the end is much more of an acceptable and functioning member of society in my opinion. I did find the ‘twist’ regarding Sylvie’s father at the end to be relatively unexpected and welcome in this somewhat surface-level read. It seemed like a culturally topical and relevant issue to address and I believe it gave the novel more substance in and of itself. Overall - a cute, easy read that probably will not change your life, but is entertaining!

This book was has a feel good vibe and just overall refreshing. That being said, it was just a little too gooey for me. I love the idea of trying to make sure that your marriage doesn’t lose the spark or interest. However, for lack of better term, it was more of a rich type couple. I couldn’t relate. Freaking out over having another 68 years together? Just crazy. If I knew I would be with my husband that much longer, I would be very happy. Especially with the doctor telling them they are that healthy. It’s a good book for a light hearted read.

Fun book! I'm American, and this is set in London, so all the little British things (phrases, turns of speech, etc) were fun for me to read. The characters were very likable and seemed very real in a lot of ways. It kept me guessing as well, I didn't quite know what was going on. The secret was quite far fetched and I can't see that being a situation ever in real life, but I was satisfied with the conclusion. I've never read a Sophie Kinsella book before, but I would love to read another one!

This was a delightful, quick read. The mystery kept me guessing the whole time and propelled me to read with fervor to find out what was going to happen. Would recommend this book about a couple trying to break up the monotony of a marriage but instead found out too many surprises aren't the answer.

This was my first Sophie Kinsella book, and to be honest, it wasn't my favorite. I thought the story was interesting and fun--but by the end I didn't care about any of the characters or any of their relationships. I can definitely see this being a perfect book for someone else, just unfortunately not me. 3 / 5

I will honestly say I really enjoyed this book. When it hit the shelf at my local bookstore I went and purchased it so I can go back and re-read. This is my first time reading Sophie Kinsella. The messages she conveys in this book puts into focus the important of family and marriage. Sylvie and Dan are "that couple". They're that couple that finishes each other sentences, they know each other like the back of their hand; you just know that they are going to be together forever. When you think of marriage you think of forever but have we really thought of what forever really means? This is what Sylvie and Dan realizes once they get a stamp of good health from their family doctor on their ten year anniversary. They begin to realize that with sixty-eight years ahead of them, how can they keep the spark in their relationship? This leads to mission "Surprise Me" and uncovers a secret from the past. This secrets brings Dan and Sylvie close together and also makes Sylvie grow into the woman she is meant to be.

I couldn't really get into this. I usually don't mind chick lit and enjoy character studies. But this seemed soo...flippant? I don't know. Like you don't consider that you might spend x-amount of time with the same person? I know I did. The story didn't really appeal to me and the overtones of possibility of cheating was a huge a turn-off.

Great book!

I wasn't sure if I was going to like this book, but I got pulled in and couldn't stop reading. This story threw me for a loop. I thought I knew where it was going, but I was completely blindsided. It has a great cast of characters. They are very well written. This story takes you through a range of emotions. It is a wonderful story, and I would definitely recommend this book.

I’ve read other books by Kinsella, and I don’t think this is one of her best. The premise is interesting, but the book meandered a bit too much for my tastes. It feels like the author couldn’t quite decide what kind of story she wanted to write so she threw in a whole bunch of stuff to see what stuck. As a result the first half of the book doesn’t really fit with the ending. I think if there was a clearer narrative and structure, and maybe a 100 fewer pages, it could have been a really good book. As it stands, it was just an okay read.

This was the first of Sophie Kinsella's books that I have read. That being said, I really enjoyed reading this book and will probably read more of her books. The characters are eccentric and hilarious, and the surprises are, although sometimes cringe-worthy, funny. This book does remind me a bit of why I am still single. It brings up the excellent question, what do you do with forever?

Although this novel was a little disorganized, I absolutely loved it. I really enjoyed the premise of Sylvie and Dan lasting another 68 years together. I do not understand why they did not think about how long their lives would be when they took their vows. However, I could also see where they would be thinking a shorter time which makes 68 years a really long time. Sophie Kinsella does not disappoint.

I've read a handful of Kinsella's books over the years, but in all honesty they are not exactly what I reach for when I'm looking for my next read. While some of her stories have intricately dynamic layers for readers to peel through, some can be too superficial in nature. This particular novel, Surprise Me, felt too superficial to me. I did not finish the book because I could not get past the fact that the plot revolved around a couple who were struggling to imagine living almost 70 more years together. To have both characters say they didn't truly consider their vows when getting married turned me off completely. I even turned to my own husband, whom I've been married to for only 7 short years, and asked him what his reaction would be if told we'd have at least 60 more years together. His response was, "Cool!" We are nowhere near the model image of a married couple, but we both took our vows very seriously and couldn't imagine life without one another when we're "old and gray". To think a spouse would be burdened with the prospect of boredom at having to live with their significant other for that long is just insulting. From glancing at the other reviews, the plot might have gotten more interesting, but this book was just not for me.

I liked the excerpt well enough to want to continue reading the book. Sounds like a sweet story of a normal family living an normal life. I wonder what the surprise will be?

I'm a big Sophie Kinsella FAN. She's my favourite chick-lit author. I read almost all her books. And they are the ones I reach out when I need something to cheer me up, take my mind away from world's troubles. I think I can safely say, this was her worst book I ever read, at least for me. So, if you haven't read any of her book, please don't let this be the first! Her other books I would recommend are Undomestic Goddess, Remember Me? and last year's My Not So Perfect Life. Actually, My Not So Perfect Life is my favourite because that's the book she went beyond the male female chase/romance, and delved into family dynamics, today's social media pressure with a more complex and layered plot.  Well, coming to this one, I was really excited that her new book would be released in February. This was a granted entertainment, but what a bad surprise... Sylvie and Dan look like a perfect couple, happily married with twin girls aged 6. Apparently, they both have a chance to live 100+ years, which comes with a bonus of having a 60+ more years of marriage, on top of their 10 years together. The concept of happily 'ever' after becoming such long time, they both panic and start to think about future. Being scared with the idea of falling into a boring routine with one person for decades, Sylvie comes up with the idea of surprising each other. These surprises are supposed to keep the spark alive, but not all of them work as intended.  The synopsis sounds like a fun concept when read, but the writing totally kills the joy. Usually Kinsella's writing is quite structured, following a clear plot line. However, in this book, I felt very much all over the place and disjointed. We kept jumping from subject to subject creating mini issues, and I really didn't understand why those issues and characters existed.  She's also known to write in a very witty, fun, laugh out loud style with very likable characters. Sylvie probably is the first character I couldn't love. She's not the worst, but really, there was not much charm to her. Also, there isn't depressing content in her books, but in this one I didn't understand why we had to read about Sylvie's fathers tragic death and how she couldn't get over it. Dan, Sylvie's husband, annoyed the hell out of me.  He is an overly-proud, insensitive guy at times that I couldn't bother to even read about him.  I was presented an ARC of this book by Penguin Random House (First to Read) in exchange for an honest review. (Thanks a lot to them) And, I was 99% sure I would love this book. Unfortunately, 1% probability is still a probability, and it happened.  My honest opinion is that the idea of surprising our long term partner to keep the spark alive, is an interesting idea, which is totally killed with the poor execution. It felt like Sophie Kinsella couldn't decide what to write about and threw in a bunch of other things. Another big let down was that the protagonist was not charming enough to hold it together. I gave this 2 out of 5 stars.

This book, Surprise Me, was a surprise itself. In short, Sylvie and her husband Dan have just celebrated their 10th year anniversary. Sylvie thinks of how amazing it is to reach such a milestone and is content with their relationship and how well they know each other. After the couple gets a preventative care exam and the doctor mentions they are very healthy and can expect another 68 years of marriage, their happiness turns to concern. How can they possibly survive 68 more years together when they already know everything about each other? Sylvie gets an idea and begins to encourage her husband that they start surprising each other frequently as a way to keep their marriage alive and interesting for the long years ahead of them. Predictably the surprises do not go as planned and often fail hilariously. On one of the last surprises they try before giving up, Sylvie begins to uncover a secret that she was very unaware Dan was hiding and this is where the book becomes increasingly interesting and hard to put down. This book shows how things can unravel quickly when you find out the person you thought you knew so well is hiding something from you. It started off as a book that I just couldn't see myself getting into, some type of chick lit revolving around marriage drama. A couple who created an imaginary issue of having 68 more years of marriage together and bewildered at how they would pass the time and last so long together. I just couldn't wrap my head around such a non-issue but still i read on in hopes it would get better..and to my surprise it did! My first impression of the main character Sylvie wasn't a great one but as the book went on I began to understand her thought process and side of the story more and I really enjoyed the way she changed toward the end of the book. She went from annoying and unlikable to a really great character I enjoyed reading about. The atmosphere of the book was fun and quirky but also maintained an interesting story that only got better as the book progressed. It was witty, entertaining and a really easy read that progressed into something a bit deeper and focused on family, trust and maybe not being so crazy and jumping to conclusions. Not my type of book but definitely opens me up to the genre to read more of this type. I'm really happy to say I enjoyed reading this book and maybe you will too if you give it a shot. Its not an amazingly deep life changing story but something nice to pass the time while waiting for an apppointment at the doctors or for your number to be called at the DMV or something. *** 3.5/5 I liked it!

Surprise Me by Sophie Kinsella is a nice little bit of humorous chick lit that is expected to come from this author. The book also had a rather interesting idea behind the story when a long time married couple goes for their check up and passes with flying colors with the doctor explaining just how long a life they should have together. Sylvie and Dan are just hitting their ten year anniversary from the time that they first met when they get the news they just may have sixty eight more years of marriage. After a bit of a freak out the couple wonders how they will keep their marriage fresh and exciting for such a long time and decides to begin surprising each other to shake things up. Of course the surprises and long life diagnosis are only the beginning to Sylvie and Dan’s story and there is much more involved as the book goes on. Sophie Kinsella took this set up and brought humor and fun to love, relationships, family and marriage. There’s plenty of secondary characters that are also well done being a bit on the eccentric side to just add even more laughs to the story. Now while I didn’t find this one absolutely perfect I did enjoy it overall. To me I think I would have dialed back the angst and suspicions and gone more for the laughs but that’s just my own personal taste. Thankfully the way the story wrapped up showed a lot of character growth and uncovered a bit of a twist to keep the story fresh and exciting to make the angst worth it. I received an advance copy from the publisher via NetGalley.

I don't feel.like I can give this a fair review since I only read the first 50-75 pages, but I'll pass on my thoughts anyway. I stopped reading it because I didn't like the people, their relationship or the main impetus of the book. The couple have this wonderful life, and they know each other's quirks and don't even have to have full conversations because they already know what the others going to say. Boring! And so unreal. Then they find out they're going to live for another 68 years! And gasp! They could actually stay married for that long! To each other! This is where I totally lost interest. I love the idea of being with my husband for that long. I don't see the issue. Compound that with disliking the main character, I just didn't want to give my time and energy to this book when there are so many more to be read. If I had liked the characters better or if their marriage even seemed like a real one, I would have given it more of a chance.

So, not to be cliche, but this book definitely surprised me. I have to admit the first 150ish pages had me rolling my eyes and annoyed at the childish behavior of the characters. Sylvie and Dan find out as a couple that they are going to live another 68 years and are taken aback because it means they will be married that many more years. They both freak out as if they've received awful news and try to spice up their marriage as if anything was wrong before they went to the doctor. (Which, by the way, who goes to the doctor as a couple for a checkup?) But, as the book progresses beyond all of that, the story picks up. It's amusing, unexpected and well written enough for you to feel the problems as if they are your own. I stressed the entire morning that I was unable to read the resolution the big problem that arises. In the end, it was a good book even with a start that was tough to get through.

This book is roughly 420 pages long, the last 50-75 of which were enjoyable. When my husband asked how I would rate it out of 5 stars, I said 2. When he asked what accounted for the two, I said that it was very well written. It starts out when Sylvie, a relatively successful and happy wife and mother of twin girls, makes a discovery about her husband, Dan. We don't find out what that discovery is until about 75 pages from the end. I won't go into it to avoid spoilers. Sylvie and Dan have it all, they are both reasonably satisfied in their professional life (at least in the beginning), they are healthy, their girls are healthy and happy themselves, they have a nice house, and even get along with a neighbor or two. But that sense of happiness has an undercurrent of tension, and Sylvie is in the dark. Fast forward to a physical check up for their insurance and their sense of happiness gets turned upside down with the revelation that, 'til death do us part,' might be 60 or more years away. Suddenly Sylvie feels compelled to set out to make their marriage better. Surprises, disappointments, and misunderstandings ensue. Neither of them seem remotely prepared for what spending the REST of their life together meant. This is the part of the book that felt like a chore to read. Sylvie is so neurotic and annoyingly naive that just reading the book stressed me out. I have said myself that it's refreshing when literary characters have issues just like me, but this took it to an extreme. In my opinion, the last 50-75 pages were enjoyable, but not enjoyable enough to redeem the stress and anxiety ridden previous 350+ pages. The story was well thought and mapped out, it was well-written, but it was not something that I would read again or recommend to anyone.

Sophie Kinsella has written a rom-com book that becomes so much more. Honestly, this may be her best book yet. After finding out they have sixty-eight years of marriage Dan and Sylvie have, well, kind of a break-down. They set out to keep their lives interesting by surprising each other. As it turns out, they really did but in different ways than they could have imagined. Kinsella has written a novel that is both funny and introspective. Typical chick-lit leaves you entertained. And sure, Surprise Me is entertaining but somehow Kinsella perfectly captures marriages as a whole, the good, the insecure and the challenges. These characters became real and were so well written. I read this book quite quickly and enjoyed it tremendously.

I had never read Sophie Kinsella before this book, although I had seen/heard of her. Frankly, I thought it would be chick-lit and not appeal to me. When I got the notification that I was invited to review this title, I thought it would be a fluffy quick read - entertaining enough, but I didn't expect much. I was so pleasantly surprised! This IS chick lit. But it's not JUST that. It's also surprisingly insightful, funny, and breathtaking in its ability to capture what it means to be married... I literally laughed out loud every few chapters, at some insane but totally relatable tidbit of behavior or internal monologue. The characters were real and flawed and completely believable for all that. The situations they found (put?) themselves in were at times hilarious, heart-breaking, and touchingly poignant. The writing is easy-going and feels like dishing with friends - it makes the pages fly by and pulled me completely into Sylvie and Dan's world. I'll definitely look up Sophie Kinsella the next time I want to laugh and cry in equal measure!

This is the first book I've read by this author and I wasn't sure what to expect. It started out feeling like a fluffy story. As it went on, the story got deeper and the issues more serious, while remaining a light read. The title is appropriate because there were surprises for the characters in more than one way and it surprised me as the reader as well. I had a hard time figuring out where the story was heading and that kept me wanting to read more. It was ultimately a quick read and not really heavy while also satisfying and inspiring.

A delightful and just happy rom-com like all of Kinsella’s work. The characters get just enough development but it’s obvious it’s supposed to be light and not a book to be over thought.

This book was not within my usual genre, and I had not read the author before, and was wary. The premise of a couple learning they would have 68 years of marriage ahead of them, after an insurance consult, was a little thin, but it worked out, and was an enjoyable read. Sylvie was a mess and it was equal parts humorous and annoying watching her plan out surprises to keep their marriage vibrant and the lengths she went to ferret the real secrets hidden within their relationship. Worth checking into, always expanding your comfort zone.

A good story. I can't remember reading this author before and even though it's not my typical fare, I did like the story.

I wasn’t sure how I would feel about this book, but it was delightful! After finding out that, statistically, they will likely be married for the next 68 years, Dan and Sylvie decide to keep the marriage alive with surprises. I LITERALLY lol’d in the beginning as their surprises for each other were revealed. Shortly after, my stomach was in knots to find out what the REAL surprises in this marriage were. And in the end, I had Warm thoughts about loyalty, partnership, marriage, and relationships. I’m short, this book was witty and fun. I loved every second of it!

 


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