About the book
Surprise Me is published on 8th March 2018 (UK) by Bantam Press.
After being together for ten years, Sylvie and Dan have a comfortable home, fulfilling jobs, beautiful twin girls, and 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 quickly decide to create little surprises for each other, to keep their relationship fresh and fun. But in their pursuit of Project Surprise Me – anything from unexpected gifts to restaurant dates to photo shoots – mishaps arise with disastrous and comical results.
Gradually, the surprises turn to shocking discoveries. And when a scandal from the past is uncovered, they begin to wonder if they ever really knew each other after all…
I can’t tell you how excited I was to receive the new Sophie Kinsella book. I’ve been reading her standalones all throughout my 20’s and early 30’s (she’s an author whose blurb I don’t even need to read anymore before buying) they’re the perfect ‘feel better’ books, instantly able to cheer you up and put a smile on your face – in fact Can you keep a secret? and I’ve got your Number are still to this day 2 of my most favourite chick-lit books!
Surprise Me is about Sylvie and Dan, they’ve been together 10 years (married for 7) and have 5 year old twin girls Anna and Tessa. They are one of those couples who know what each other is thinking with just looks, they can finish each others sentences, order each others meals – they pretty much know each other inside out! It’s that time in their lives when they’re looking into life insurance and after a trip to the doctors for a medical they find out they’ve got around another 68 years of marriage – and this is where the story begins…
The news completely floors Sylvie and Dan, and not in a delighted way! It leads to them coming up with ‘Surprise Me’ in the hope of little surprises for each other will keep their marriage fresh, fun and alive. Although right from the very start things don’t go to plan, it ends up showing their flaws, bringing a wedge between them, and wondering if they really did know each other as well as they thought.
Surprise Me was definitely a surprise read, and a good one at that! The first half of this book is what I’d call pure chick-lit, with Kinsella’s trademark humour. It resulted in me unable to get my breath from laughing out loud with Sylvie and Dan’s surprises for each other (and my cat looking at me as though I’d completely lost the plot from my snorts!) But the second half is where things stepped up for me, and had much more underlying depth – marriage, grief, commitment, family relationships are all touched upon in a delicate, thought provoking way, but with keeping in those chick-lit lines that this author is known for. Authors obviously have to grow, and like me I guess many readers have grown up with Kinsella too, so whether this little change was intentional or just fit with the (marriage) story I feel it was a great move – it will certainly keep her older fans reading as they relate to these little things and sometimes want more depth in a book, but new fans will also enjoy her trademark humour and light-heartedness.
I really warmed to Sylvie and Dan and very much rooted for their relationship to work throughout this book. The only tiny niggle I had was with Sylvie calling her parents Mummy and Daddy whilst in her thirties, but it works with that aspect of the story and her upbringing, so I can absolutely see why it’s needed in the book. There’s a lot of little sub plots in this story away from the marriage storyline, like Sylvie’s work and her boss Mrs Kendrick, and her Mother and father’s relationship with Dan, you may find yourself reading and thinking these don’t really fit together, but stick with it as they do all play a linked up part in the end.
There’s also a little mystery in this book, with little twists and turns which I enjoyed. You know from the start Dan has been hiding something, and this flows throughout – I actually didn’t fully guess what it was, which is quite a shock for a chick-lit book – I read a lot of crime/thrillers and these days guess their twists very early on – So well done to the author on that aspect!
Surprise Me is a humorous and utterly charming little read. It starts as fluffy chick-lit, but ends with strong messages about growth, partnerships, trust and the importance of communicating. As I previously said, it will appeal to both old and new fans of Kinsella and I thoroughly look forward to what she brings us next!
My thanks go to Becky Short at Transworld for my copy of this book, which was provided in exchange for an honest review.
Thank you for taking the time to read my review, if you like the sound of this book and would like to know more or treat yourself to a copy, then please follow the links below…