Surprise Me

Surprise Me

by Sophie Kinsella

Hardcover

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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780399592881
Publisher: Random House Publishing Group
Publication date: 02/13/2018
Pages: 432
Sales rank: 154,856
Product dimensions: 5.80(w) x 8.54(h) x 1.35(d)

About the Author

Sophie Kinsella is the author of the bestselling Shopaholic series, as well as the novels Can You Keep a Secret?, The Undomestic Goddess, Remember Me?, Twenties Girl, I’ve Got Your Number, Wedding Night, and My Not So Perfect Life. She lives between London and the country.

Hometown:

London, England

Date of Birth:

December 12, 1969

Place of Birth:

London, England

Education:

B.A. in Politics, Philosophy and Economics, Oxford University, 1990; M.Mus., King's College, London, 1992

Read an Excerpt

Chapter One

Five Weeks Earlier

It begins on our tenth anniversary. Who would have thought?

Actually, there are two things going on here: 1. Who would have thought it would all kick off on such an auspicious day? And 2. Who would have thought we’d make ten years in the first place?

By ten years, I don’t mean ten years since our wedding. I mean ten years since we first met. It was at my mate Alison’s birthday party. That was the day our lives changed forever. Dan was manning the barbecue and I asked him for a burger and . . . ​bam.

Well, not bam as in instant love. Bam as in I thought, Mmm. Look at those eyes. Look at those arms. He’s nice. He was wearing a blue T-­shirt, which brought out his eyes. He had a chef’s apron round his waist, and he was flipping bur­gers really efficiently. Like he knew what he was doing. Like he was king of the burgers.

The funny thing is, I’d never have thought “ability to flip burgers” would be on the list of attributes I was looking for in a man. But there you go.

Watching him work that barbecue, cheerfully smiling all the while . . . ​I was impressed.

So I went to ask Alison who he was (“old college friend, works in property, really nice guy”) and made flirty conversation with him. And when that didn’t yield any results, I got Alison to invite us both to supper. And when that didn’t work, I bumped into him in the City “by accident” twice, including once in a very low-­cut top (almost hooker-­like, but I was getting a bit desperate). And then finally, finally, he noticed me and asked me out and it was love at, you know, about fifth sight.

In his defense (he says now), he was getting over another relationship and wasn’t really “out there.”

Also: We have slightly edited this story when we tell other people. Like, the low-­cut hooker top. No one needs to know about that.

Anyway. Rewind to the point: Our eyes met over the barbecue and that was the beginning. One of those kismet moments that influence your life forever. A moment to cherish. A moment to mark, a decade later, with lunch at the Bar.

We like the Bar. It has great food and we love the vibe. Dan and I like a lot of the same things, actually—­films, stand-­up comedy, walks—­although we have healthy differences too. You’ll never see me getting on a bike for exercise, for example. And you’ll never see Dan doing Christmas shopping. He has no interest in presents, and his birthday becomes an actual tussle. (Me: “You must want something. Think.” Dan [hunted]: “Get me . . . ​er . . . ​I think we’re out of pesto. Get me a jar of that.” Me: “A jar of pesto? For your birthday?”)

A woman in a black dress shows us to our table and presents us with two large gray folders.

“It’s a new menu,” she tells us. “Your waitress will be with you shortly.”

A new menu! As she leaves, I look up at Dan and I can see the unmistakable spark in his eye.

“Oh really?” I say teasingly. “You think?”

“Easy.” He nods.

“Big-­head,” I retort.

“Challenge accepted. You have paper?”

“Of course.”

I always have paper and pens in my bag, because we’re always playing this game. I hand him a rollerball and a page torn out of my notebook and take the same for myself.

“OK,” I say. “Game on.”

The pair of us fall silent, devouring the menu with our eyes. There’s both bream and turbot, which makes things tricky . . . ​but even so, I know what Dan’s going to order. He’ll try to double-­bluff me, but I’ll still catch him out. I know just how his mind weaves and winds.

“Done.” Dan scribbles a few words on the page and folds it over.

“Done!” I write my answer and fold my own paper over, just as our waitress arrives at the table.

“Would you like to order drinks?”

“Absolutely, and food too.” I smile at her. “I’d like a Negroni, then the scallops and the chicken.”

“A gin and tonic for me,” says Dan, when she’s finished writing. “Then the scallops also, and the bream.”

The waitress moves away and we wait till she’s out of earshot. Then:

“Got you!” I push my piece of paper toward Dan. “Although I didn’t say G&T. I thought you’d have champagne.”

“I got everything. Slam dunk.” Dan hands me his paper, and I see Negroni, scallops, chicken in his neat hand.

“Damn!” I exclaim. “I thought you’d guess langoustines.”

“With polenta? Please.” He grins and refreshes my water.

“I know you nearly put turbot.” I can’t help showing off, proving how well I know him. “It was between that and the bream, but you wanted the saffron fennel that came with the bream.”

Dan’s grin widens. Got him.

“By the way,” I add, shaking my napkin out, “I spoke to—­”

“Oh, good! What did she—­”

“It’s fine.”

“Great.” Dan sips his water, and I mentally tick that topic off the list.

A lot of our conversations are like this. Overlapping sentences and half thoughts and shorthand. I didn’t need to spell out, “I spoke to Karen, our nanny, about babysitting.” He knew. It’s not that we’re psychic exactly, but we do tend to sense exactly what each other is going to say next.

“Oh, and we need to talk about my mum’s—­” he says, sipping his drink.

“I know. I thought we could go straight on from—­”

“Yes. Good idea.”

Again: We don’t need to spell out that we need to talk about his mum’s birthday gathering and how we could go straight on from the girls’ ballet lesson. We both know. I pass him the bread basket knowing that he’ll take the sourdough, not because he likes it particularly but because he knows I love focaccia. That’s the kind of man Dan is. The kind who lets you have your favorite bread.

Our drinks arrive and we clink glasses. We’re both pretty relaxed this lunchtime, because we’ve got the afternoon off. We’re renewing our health insurance, and so we both need a medical, which is slated for later today.

“So, ten years.” I raise my eyebrows. “Ten years.”

“Unbelievable.”

“We made it!”

Ten years. It’s such an achievement. It feels like a mountain that we’ve scrambled to the top of. I mean, it’s a whole decade. Three house moves, one wedding, one set of twins, about twenty sets of Ikea shelves . . . ​I mean, it’s practically a lifetime.

And we’re very lucky to be here, still together. I know that. A few other couples we know who started off around the same time as us weren’t so fortunate. My friend Nadia was married and divorced within three years. Just didn’t take.

I look lovingly at Dan’s face—­that face I know so well, with its high cheekbones, sprinkling of freckles, and healthy glow from all the cycling he does. His sandy, springy hair. His blue eyes. His air of dynamism, even sitting here at lunch.

He’s looking at his phone now, and I glance at mine too. We don’t have a no-­phone rule on dates, because who can go a whole meal without looking at your phone?

“Oh, I got you something,” he says suddenly. “I know it’s not a real anniversary, but whatever. . . .”

He produces a gift-­wrapped oblong and I already know it’s that book about tidying your house that I’ve been meaning to read.

“Wow!” I exclaim as I unwrap it. “Thanks! And I got you a little something too. . . .”

He’s already smiling knowingly as he feels the heft of the package. Dan collects paperweights, so whenever he has a birthday or a special thing, I get him one. (As well as a jar of pesto, obviously.) It’s safe. No, not safe—­that sounds boring, and we’re definitely not boring. It’s just . . . ​Well. I know he’ll like it, and why waste money on taking a chance?

“Do you love it?”

“I love it.” He leans over to kiss me and whispers, “I love you.”

“Love that Dan,” I whisper back.

By 3:45 p.m. we’re sitting in a doctor’s office, feeling pretty marvelous about everything, in the way you only can when you’ve got the afternoon off work, your children are at a playdate after school, and you’re stuffed with amazing food.

We’ve never met Dr. Bamford before—­the insurance company chose him—­and he’s quite a character. He brings us both into the room together, for a start, which seems unconventional. He does our blood pressure, asks us a bunch of questions, and looks at the results of the fitness tests we did earlier. Then, as he writes on our forms, he reads aloud in a rather theatrical voice.

“Mrs. Winter, a charming lady of thirty-­two, is a nonsmoker with healthy eating habits. . . .”

Dan shoots me a comical look at “healthy eating habits,” and I pretend not to notice. Today’s our anniversary—­it’s different. And I had to have that double chocolate mousse. I notice my reflection in a glass cupboard door and immediately sit up straighter, pulling in my stomach.

I’m blond, with long, wavy hair. I mean really long. Waist-­length. Rapunzel-­style. It’s been long ever since I was a child, and I can’t bear to cut it. It’s kind of my defining feature, my long blond hair. It’s my thing. And my father adored it. So.

Our twin girls are also blond, and I make the most of it by putting them in adorable Scandi stripy tops and pinafores. At least I did until this year, when they both decided they love football more than anything and want to live in their lurid blue nylon Chelsea shirts. I’m not blaming Dan. Much.

“Mr. Winter, a powerful man of thirty-­two . . .” Dr. Bamford begins on Dan’s medical form, and I stifle a snort. Powerful. Dan will love that.

I mean, he works out; we both do. But you wouldn’t call him massive. He’s just . . . ​he’s right. For Dan. Just right.

“. . . and there we are. Well done!” Dr. Bamford finishes writing and looks up with a toothy grin. He wears a toupee, which I noticed as soon as we walked in but have been very careful not to look at. My job involves raising funds for Willoughby House, a very tiny niche museum in central London. I often deal with wealthy older patrons, and I come across a lot of toupees: some good, some bad.

No, I take it back. They’re all bad.

“What a delightful, healthy couple.” Dr. Bamford sounds approving, as though he’s giving us a good school report. “How long have you been married?”

“Seven years,” I tell him. “And we dated for three before that. Actually, it’s ten years exactly since we met!” I clutch Dan’s hand with a sudden swell of love. “Ten years today!”

“Ten years together,” affirms Dan.

“Congratulations! And that’s quite a family tree the pair of you have.” Dr. Bamford is looking at our paperwork. “All grandparents still alive or else died at a very good age.”

“That’s right.” Dan nods. “Mine are all still alive and kicking, and Sylvie’s still got one pair going strong, in the south of France.”

“They’re pickled in Pernod,” I say, smiling at Dan.

“But only three remaining parents?”

“My father died in a car crash,” I explain.

“Ah.” Dr. Bamford’s eyes dim in sympathy. “But otherwise he was healthy?”

“Oh yes. Very. Extremely. He was super-­healthy. He was amazing. He was . . .”

I can’t help it; I’m already reaching for my phone. My father was so handsome. Dr. Bamford needs to see, to realize. When I meet people who never knew my father, I feel a weird kind of rage almost that they never saw him, never felt that firm, inspiring handshake, that they don’t understand what has been lost.

He looked like Robert Redford, people used to say. He had that glow. That charisma. He was a golden man, even as he aged, and now he’s been taken from us. And even though it’s been two years, I still wake up some days and just for a few seconds I’ve forgotten, until it hits me in the guts again.

Dr. Bamford studies the photo of my father and me. It’s from my childhood—­I found the print after he died, and I scanned it into my phone. My mother must have taken it. Daddy and I are sitting outside on the terrace of my old family home, underneath the magnolia. We’re laughing at some joke I don’t remember, and the dappled summer sun is burnishing both our fair heads.

I watch Dr. Bamford carefully for his reaction, wanting him to exclaim, “What a terrible loss to the world. How did you bear it?”

But of course he doesn’t. The longer you’ve been bereaved, I’ve noticed, the more muted the reaction you’ll get from the average stranger. Dr. Bamford just nods. Then he hands the phone back and says, “Very nice. Well, you clearly take after your healthy relatives. Barring accidents, I predict nice long lives for both of you.”

“Excellent!” says Dan. “That’s what we want to hear!”

“Oh, we’re all living far longer these days.” Dr. Bamford beams kindly at us. “That’s my field of interest, you know, longevity. Life expectancy is going up every year. But the world really hasn’t cottoned on to the fact. The government . . . ​industry . . . ​pension companies . . . ​none of them has properly caught up.” He laughs gently. “How long, for example, do you expect to live, the pair of you?”

“Oh.” Dan hesitates. “Well . . . ​I don’t know. Eighty? Eighty-­five?”

“I’d say ninety,” I chime in boldly. My granny died when she was ninety, so surely I’ll live as long as her?

“Oh, you’ll live beyond a hundred,” says Dr. Bamford, sounding assured. “A hundred and two, maybe. You . . .” He eyes Dan. “Maybe shorter. Maybe a hundred.”

“Life expectancy hasn’t gone up that much,” says Dan skeptically.

“Average life expectancy, no,” agrees Dr. Bamford. “But you two are way above average in health terms. You look after yourselves, you have good genes . . . ​I fully believe that you will both hit one hundred. At least.”

He smiles benevolently, as though he’s Father Christmas giving us a present.

“Wow!”

I try to imagine myself, aged 102. I never thought I’d live that long. I never thought about life expectancy, full stop. I’ve just been going with the flow.

“That’s something!” Dan’s face has brightened. “A hundred years old!”

Customer Reviews

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Surprise Me 4.3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 36 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I love Sophie Kinsella books. Remember Me, I've Got Your Number and Twenties Girl are some of my favorite books. It is kind of high strung. It was stressing for me to just read it.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I'm was good fun married folk will relate and my husband even enjoyed some of the characters antics
Candace-LoveyDoveyBooks 8 days ago
I've only read one other Sophie Kinsella so far. It was My Not So Perfect Life and I really enjoyed it. Of course I had high hopes for Surprise Me, but it was not at all what I was expecting. I was immediately bored and could not relate to the main characters. I kept waiting for something to hook me and keep me salivating for the next page, but I couldn't raise much enthusiasm for finishing the story. I will definitely be moving cautiously with the next Sophie Kinsella novel I have the opportunity to read. *ARC provided in consideration for review*
CharminKB 4 months ago
Sophie Kinsella is so dependable! Surprise Me is another in a long line of great reads from her. I love her characters and the situations they get themselves in! While this one had it's giggles (the "photoshoot" had me crying!) it really had a serious undertone that I truly think that all of us can relate to. There's not a book from her I wouldn't recommend.
BookLoverinFlorida 4 months ago
This book surprised me so much that I finished in one sitting! I didn't want to put it down. What a great concept for a story. Sylvie and Dan are a great couple and the thought of surprising each other to keep their marriage fresh was enlightening. Why don't couples today do this? A story filled with hope and thought for your next weekend read!
LC112648LC More than 1 year ago
Surprise Me! I really enjoy all of Sophie's books! Have read them all. This is a fun, light reading book that keeps you interested the whole way through. Looking forward to her next book! Highly recommend anything by her - she makes you laugh out loud - exceptional writer :)
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I felt the book was a little slow in the beginning but thoroughly enjoyed the ending.
Sandy5 More than 1 year ago
3.5 stars When I read the synopsis for this novel, I knew I had to read it. Dan and Sylvia had it all, life was great until the day they realized what their wedding vows actually meant. Their physician told the couple that they could plan on spending 68 more years together. Sixty-eight more years! Till death do us part is more years than they thought. The news stuns the couple, Sylvia more than Dan. How could they keep what they had alive for 68 more years? Dan had his own answers and Sylvia had hers. Sylvia felt that as a couple, they had become too predictable and to shake things up and make them exciting, they needed to start surprising each other. I have read a few of Sophie’s novels before but I had a problem with this one. Perhaps it was the mood I was in but I thought parts of the novel were a bit juvenile for the adult characters. I know Sylvia was trying to jazz things up but she went to the extreme on a few of them and to me, they went beyond funny. I wanted to tell her to stop, we saw the humor but going beyond that, was just nonsense. I liked how as the couple tried to surprise their partner, the reality of what they knew about each other materialized. They thought they knew everything about each other until they had to actually act upon it. Sylvia overthinks each situation whereas Dan underthinks each situation. To Sylvia, it’s a grand production but to Dan, it’s the gesture. Pulling parents into this story we find that Sylvia and Dan come from different households. Sylvia, daddy’s little princess, has always had money at her disposal whereas Dan came from a family where individuals worked to make a decent wage. This reflects in their personality and in how they handle different situations that present themselves. I found this novel entertaining and comical. Although this wasn’t my favorite of Sophie’s works, I did enjoy the story and I liked the ending. I received a copy of this novel from NetGalley and Random House in exchange for an honest review.
jojosmodernlife More than 1 year ago
Sylvie and Dan have been together for so long that they can finish each other's sentences. One comment from their doctor at their annual visit that they'll likely have almost 70 more years of marriage throws them into an emotional tailspin. They vowed to be together forever so they decide to cope by surprising each other with random and fun ideas. However, the biggest surprise ends up unveiling a huge secret. Will they still be together forever? Typical of a Sophie Kinsella book, Surprise Me had my cheeks either aching in pain from laughing so hard or burning from secondhand embarrassment from Sylvie's mishaps. Sophie Kinsella has also crafted a wonderful tale by portraying several of the different types of love through varying characters. Eros (sexual) love with Sylvie and Dan, Philia (friendship) love with her neighbor Tilda, Storge (familial/parental) love with their daughters, Agape (altruistic) love with their elderly neighbors on the other side, and Ludus (playful and/or flirting) with Robert. These many characters blend into a fun plotline that hit me with a MEGA surprise plot twist. I highly recommend this book for any adult looking for a fun romance that balances the seriousness of the effects of grief and misunderstandings. My favorite characters were the elderly couple that lived next door and had such pure love and both came across as genuinely sweet. I would not recommend this book for anyone who might be triggered or offended by the following: grief, parental death, sexually suggestive scenarios, and foul language. Please note: an electronic ARC of this novel was generously provided through the publisher via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Surprise me is Sophe Kinsella’s delightful novel about a couple whose lives and marriage are turned upside-down. Their family doctor has informed them of the wonderful (?) news that due to their lifestyle habits and modern medicine, they will probably have 68 more years of marriage together! Sylvie and Dan aren’t sure whether to be ecstatic or alarmed, but they decide that with that many years together, they will try to make a habit out of keeping things interesting. Thus the idea to surprise each other regularly. Some of the surprises go awry, and some evolve in unexpected way. But Sylvie and Dan are not the only ones who have surprises ahead of them; so does the reader. Great book!
PokrChick More than 1 year ago
Surprise Me by Sophie Kinsella brings us Sylvie and Dan. They are happily married thirty-somethings with two young children. At their annual insurance health check, their doctor mentions that with their fantastic health, they could live to be a hundred. Giving them 68 more years of marriage. How wonderful! Right? Now that the number 68 has been thrown out there, both Sylvie and Dan start to wonder what their vows actually meant. 68 years is a long time. When they agreed to forever, did they really agree to 68 years? Trying to lighten the situation, Sylvie suggests that they can keep their marriage fresh by planning little surprises for each other. Naturally, now that they are so focused on surprising each other, every little thing they do for each other turns into a small disaster. Nothing is working out quite right. With their close relationship thrown under the microscope, things are not looking all that great. And to make matters worse, Dan is obviously hiding something from Sylvie. Will they make it through the current turmoil? Can they survive another 68 years? What is Dan trying to conceal from Sylvia? In typical Sophie Kinsella style, you’ll laugh, you’ll cry while you take this journey with them.
StacyD More than 1 year ago
I often read a lot of historical fiction which I love but can be heavy at times. This book was great! It's just what I was due to read. It's refreshing and made me laugh out loud. It is about a couple, Slyvie and Dand who are totally sync with one another. They can finish each others sentences. They know what to order for the other one if they're at a restaurant. They are happily married raising twin daughters. They make a great team What could be better? One day they go to the doctor who tells them they are healthy and should plan on living another 68 years. With that news they panic. How will the next 68 years be? How will they keep each other happy? This is when Slyvie comes up with the idea to 'surprise" each other to keep this fresh. The surprises they give one another turn out to be funny, although not meaning to be. This is a great book club book because it will open up discussions on how well do you know your spouse. As well as what you might do to surprise your spouse. This light and funny book would make a great "beach bag" or vacation book, I plan on picking up another Sophie Kinsella book in the future.
Dianne57 More than 1 year ago
I was sort of wondering why this book was getting so many critical reviews (Yes I know that everyone's tastes are different) until I realized that this was actually a serious book, or at least most of it was. I think that most reader's are expecting something funnier, lighter. Yes, this book has its moments but the subject matter end's up being a bit more serious. The book starts off humorously enough -but somewhat frustrating for me -when this couple is told that they may end up living long enough to be married 68 years. I couldn't see the problem here and why this couple freaked at this, but then again I just celebrated my 38th anniversary so this part of the book was a little ludicrous to me. The next 2/3 of the book deals with misunderstandings. A possible affair comes up but finally ends up being a book about a mature woman growing into her skin and being a caring woman but not one who takes too much crap. There are parts of this book that had me laughing, frustrated, angry and in tears and the mix of emotions was just what I needed. Sylvie grows just so much and it was a fun trip to take with her. *ARC supplied by publisher.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This is one of the best books I've ever read! This was not your typical cheesy romance novel. There was so much more depth to these characters and such strong, meaningful, powerful messages about love, life, relationships and feminism. The story was an addictive page turner and the writing was just so brilliantly clever. This book may be a work of fiction, but it is one of the most realistic representations of love I have ever seen. And there's a bit of a plot twist that just really adds the already well written novel. Kinsella is extremely clever, witty, and talented. All of which is easily seen in her work. I just can't stop gushing! Truly an amazing read!!!
KMorgan73 More than 1 year ago
After reading my first Sophie Kinsella book, My Not So Perfect Life, last year I was giddy with joy when the publisher emailed me an invitation to read her newest book Surprise Me. Soon after beginning this book I realized it wasn’t the same caliber of a story as My Not So Perfect Life. In fact, this book was quite a letdown for me. The book has a pretty good premise of a married couple who wonder how to keep their marriage from becoming boring. The wife decides they should surprise each other to keep things lively. Well, as you can imagine things go wrong (horribly wrong at times, but these are the funniest parts) and soon their marriage is far from stale but quite tumultuous. As surprises go wrong Sophie unravels and wonders if her marriage will survive. In addition to the marriage issues, Sophie is also borderline obsessed with her deceased father and it is clear that this is driving a wedge between her and her husband. Now, my issue with the book is that the author took a good premise and turned it into page after page of repetition. At the beginning, it seemed like the story was going nowhere fast and I swear I was going to scream if I had to read one more time that their marriage was going to last another sixty-eight years. It was like this was on every single page and I was tired of reading it over and over. Also, there was too much unnecessary details thrown in and bogged down the story. I lost count of the times that I wished the story would get moving. I wasn’t really sure where the story was going and then once the surprises started the book picked up little steam. This was the book the tried but just fell flat. The book isn’t all bad though. There are a few scenes that made me chuckle and provided a reason to keep on reading. All in all, this book could have been 100 pages shorter and been just as good. If you are new to this author I would skip this book and pick up My Not So Perfect Life. It was a much better read. I received a free copy of this book from the publisher and was not required to write a review. All opinions are mine.
Suze-Lavender More than 1 year ago
Sylvie and Dan are happy. They've been together for ten years and have an easy relationship. They still feel plenty of attraction, they have two wonderful daughters and they both have jobs they love. Everything is perfect, until they have a health check and hear they could easily be married for sixty-eight more years. This comes as a terrible shock. How will they prevent the boredom from creeping in when they are destined to be together for such a long time? Sylvie and Dan think they need something to keep their relationship interesting now that they know they have such a long time together. Surprising each other should do the trick. They will regularly arrange something unexpected for one another, so their relationship will remain fun and interesting. Unfortunately surprises can also backfire and that is exactly what happens. While Sylvie and Dan are trying to make things better for each other they are actually making their situation worse. When secrets of the past are coming to the surface things slowly start to unravel. Will their love be strong enough to get them back on track again or is their sixty-eight years of good health news the beginning of the end for Sylvie and Dan? Surprise Me is a fantastic entertaining story. Sylvie is a daddy's girl. Her father passed away, but she thinks about him all the time and honors him by being the person her father would have liked her to be. Sylvie had a glamorous upbringing and she has a job in a quirky museum that comes straight out of a fairytale. Dan is more down to earth and could sometimes use more adventure, so their relationship is an ideal balance. Their surprises, however, show them that while they think they know one another there are a lot of things they have never been aware of. I often had to laugh out loud when I read about the things they come up with. Their surprises are incredibly funny, but not always spot on. Beneath the surface something else is going on though and that is getting more and more prominent throughout the story, which made me really curious and eager to keep reading. Sophie Kinsella has a fantastic heartwarming writing style. Her stories always make me smile and I love their feelgood factor. She has a fabulous sense of humor and she combines that with unexpected twists and turns. The secret that's being revealed is original and surprising, which suits the story very well. Surprise Me is a story about a marriage that has its flaws like every marriage, but there's also so much beauty in the relationship between Sylvie and Dan. I was anxious to find out if they'd make it and read their story in one sitting. Sophie Kinsella has written another terrific story and I highly recommend this sparkling book.
literarymuseVC More than 1 year ago
Sylvia and Dan have been married for ten years; they truly are best friends who completely understand each other and their rambunctious twin daughters. One day they visit a doctor for a wellness visit and from here to about three-quarters of the way through the novel the plot gets downright silly. They are healthy and are told by the doctor that they have another sixty-eight years more of life together. For some odd reason, this scares the heck out of Sylvia and Dan. While their uncanny understanding of each other’s thoughts and feelings brings great peace and joy to their life, the unpredictability of it is unacceptable. So, they come up with a plan of surprises to keep the future fresh and novel, but it doesn’t really work out at all. Meanwhile the only thin friction between them has to do with Dan’s dislike of Sylvia’s privileged past and his refusal to let her “Daddy” finance their future. However, it will turn out that Daddy wasn’t the perfect husband and parent in Sylvia’s memories and this part of the plot saves this novel from being a disaster. Dan is more than just an understanding husband and lover. He’s someone who’s been trying to save his wife’s perfect image of her father, sheltering her from the stark reality of a very flawed father. The ending is quite a shocker for Sylvia but what is more precious is the fact there are some secrets in Dan that are stunning elements and a definite surprise! While the second half of this novel “saves the day,” overall, it’s a bit of a strain on credibility. However, Kinsella manages to pull the reader into an interesting and real part of the relationships that work. Nicely done, to a degree!
feather_lashes More than 1 year ago
Surprise Me is a standalone novel written by the fabulous Sophie Kinsella. As I began this book, I noticed a few separate plotlines that didn't seem to blend together very well at all and I had the initial feeling that Ms. Kinsella didn't quite know where she wanted to go with the overall story. I found it distracting and a bit confusing to be honest, but please rest assured that all these pieces fit together flawlessly later on. It does take a while but the end result is a lovely message about loyalty, appreciation, and partnership within a marriage and embracing the future, challenges and all, instead of stunting your growth by living in the past. Surprise Me contains a bit of mysterious/emotional suspense, a few jaw-dropping revelations, family drama, both lighthearted and deep perspectives on marriage, and Kinsella's classic humor and shenanigans. Looking back on the experience as a whole, I very much enjoyed Surprise Me. I always end up laughing and broadening my way of thinking when reading this author. Thank you Sophie Kinsella for surprising me! with the depth and substance you added to this story. Check it out!
Felicia71 More than 1 year ago
Have you ever wondered what happens after the happily ever after? Does the happy couple that we just invested in for 300 pages really make it? I am so happy that Surprise Me the latest rom com from Sophie Kinsella looks at romance on the other side - after real life sets in. Dan and Sylvie have been together for 10 years, happily married they can finish each other's thoughts and are comfortable in the silence. Raising 2 twin girls they are what every couple strives for. Then during their yearly routine physical reality sets in even more when they are told they could live for another 68 years - this sends both Dan and Sylvie in a downward spiral trying to keep their marriage fresh. This leads them to try to surprise one another with new and different things they haven't tried in the past, of course amid the comedy of errors that happens in this crazy scenario secrets start to emerge leading them to believe that their marriage may not be as idyllic as they once thought and maybe they really don't know each other. I love Sophie Kinsella's writing style - told completely from Sylvie's POV we get to deep dive into her insecurities and secret thoughts that were witty, sad and in some cases heartbreaking. Ms Kinsella takes her readers on a grand adventure that truly shows what real life and love really looks like - and what could happen to a marriage if the parties aren't really talking and most of all listening. The writing is fast paced and kept me giggling all the way through, but there were also points that had me sad for Sophie and Dan. I was rooting for this couple to realize the mistakes they were making and rooting for them in the end. An ending by the way I was certainly not expecting at all. All in all if you are looking for a romance that dives into what happens after - then don't look any further then Surprise Me.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Dan and Sylvie Winter, both age 32, have been together for 10 years and married for 7 years. They are the parents of 5-year-old twin girls and appear to be quite happy together. But when a doctor conducting their physical predicts a long life and long marriage for them, they’re shocked at the probability of another 68 years of marriage. Both of them have a hard time with the concept of spending so many years together. Therefore, they decide to make some changes in their lives where they keep their relationship fresh by treating one another to little surprises here and there. Some of the surprises end up being a bit strange and over the top. In one instance, the surprise isn’t a real surprise. Sylvie comes from a wealthy family and her father was killed some years ago in an accident. She and her mother always remember him as a giant of a man and Dan always seems to take a back seat with they are together. When Sylvie starts to suspect Dan’s friendship with an old flame as meaning he is having an affair, she is shocked and decides to confront both of them and find out what is going on. Could this signal that their marriage might be over? In some ways, this is a typical ditzy type book by this author. I have enjoyed her Shopaholic books and some others. However, I found this book to be so ditzy that it failed in my book. Usually, she has a lot of humor in her books to offset the ditzy, but this time the combination was missing. However, I know others will enjoy the book and understand that the premise is trust in a marriage. Copy provided by NetGalley in exchange for a fair and honest review.
etoile1996 More than 1 year ago
whenever i read a sophie kinsella book, i inevitably find myself laughing out loud at least once. there are some moments of pure physical comedy in surprise me, and they lightened the at times highly emotional subject. sylvie and dan have been married for years, after a physical, their doctor informs them that they have sixty-eight more years of matrimony to look forward to. suddenly they find themselves thinking of the long road ahead. and are slightly concerned by the monotony. so they decide to surprise each other to keep things interesting. and, while surprises sound good in theory. the reality is that they are not always good. and sylvie and dan learn this lesson quickly. and when additional tension arises, sylvie begins to suspect that she's getting the worst kind of surprise. it's not what she thinks, but the truth isn't good either. there are some surprising emotional twists in this novel, but as always kinsella counterweighs the heavy with some truly delightful comedic moments. at times the scenes from the marriage are a bit too real, the arguments a hair too familiar. but that realism is what makes this something more than chick lit. **surprise me will publish on february 13, 2018. i received an advance reader copy courtesy of netgalley/random house publishng group (the dial press) in exchange for my honest review.
Robindpdx More than 1 year ago
This was a well-written, entertaining book. Sylvie and Dan have a happy marriage, until they realize how long they could live and they decide to bring surprises into their marriage to keep things fresh. The writing is sweet, witty and charming and the characters are quirky and endearing. This was another fantastic book by Sophie Kinsella and I can't wait until her next one is published.
whatsbetterthanbooks More than 1 year ago
Warm, affecting, and extremely entertaining! Surprise Me is a lighthearted journey into the lives of married couple Sylvie and Dan who have it all, beautiful girls, successful careers, and a rock-solid marriage until the suggestion of another 68 years of marriage sends them into a tailspin that makes them question their goals, dreams, and each other. The writing is smooth and effortless. The characters are quirky, comical, genuine, and lovable. And the plot is an engaging, moving tale bursting with witty banter, embarrassing situations, awkward moments, hilarious hijinks, and sweet romance. Surprise Me is, ultimately, a story about marriage, secrets, commitment, family, introspection, and enduring love. It's classic Kinsella with well-crafted characters, humour, heart, a surprising twist and a delightful ending that will definitely make you smile.
iiiireader More than 1 year ago
I have long been a fan of Sophie Kinsella, beginning with the first I read by her “Undomestic Goddess”. Her stories always seem to tie to my own life in some fashion. In this, her latest, novel, I easily relate to the issues which come up and evolve in a married life. Sylvie is a 32 year old woman who, along with her husband Dan (also 32) has just found out from their doctor that they should plan on another 68 years of married life based on their great genetics. They both respond with a fear of that kind of longevity with a single partner and how to keep from getting bored with each other. Their attempts to make their lives together more exciting kicks off other events which seem to be even more threatening to the couple and their two daughters than simply a long life together. As always, Ms. Kinsella’s protagonist is a humorous woman who is trying to make sense of her life. We sees from her standpoint and each of the other characters take on their life from her point of view of them. When her opinion is changed, as a reader, my view of them changes as well. I always enjoy reading one of Ms. Kinsella’s books. The humor is there but there is also an underlying topic that is being addressed. I highly recommend this book and will be looking forward to reading more of her books in the future. I was provided a digital advance reader copy of this book by the publisher via Netgalley.
Barb-TRC More than 1 year ago
Surprise Me by Sophie Kinsella is a standalone novel. I have read a number of novels by Kinsella, who does write stories with humor and craziness. Early on though, I did have mixed feelings, as I thought some of the things were border line silly. Ok, now for my review. Sylvie and Dan have been married for 10 years, and have twin girls. They are very happy in their marriage and lives. When they go to the doctor for their annual checkups, the doctor tells them they can both live to 100. Instead of being happy, they think about spending the next 68 years together, and doing the same things. It freaks them both out (rolls eyes). They decide to come up with ways to keep things new and they call it Project Surprise. One after another, they surprise each other with food, tickets, furniture, clothes; trying to outdo each other. Frankly I did not really find this humorous, the craziness was more annoying. But that is me. When the story centered on Sylvie’s job as a fundraiser, I thoroughly enjoyed it, and their two girls were adorable. The story also focuses on Sylvie’s deceased dad, who was a powerful fundraiser and well respected, though for some reason, Dan and her father did not get along. When Dan brings some old friends to visit, Sylvie meets Dan’s old girl friend, and becomes jealous. At this point, the story does change a lot, and I did enjoy the last half of the book. What follows is Sylvie’s attempt to help fix her job’s fundraising money drive, which was well done and interesting. Sylvie is also begins to think Dan is having an affair, and this part of the story was at times funny and life changing. Sylvie will learn the truth about her father, and his disrespect for Dan; as well as the lies her family kept from her. I really enjoyed the last half of the book, which became more about family, trust, perceptions, communications, and hidden truths. Surprise Me had a bit of everything, including Kinsella’s trademark humor, emotional drama, some suspense, family and marriage issues.