Thursday, February 24, 2011

Thursday Thought: Skipping A Beat, A Review

Today I am just going to include a quick review for Sarah Pekkanen's book Skipping A Beat. Tomorrow I will be back with an interview with Sarah so be sure to drop back by. This mom of 3 boys has just released this, her second novel, following up on the success of her first novel The Opposite of Me.

True confession: as I write this I am only halfway through the book. But I at least wanted to say a few words about the book before Sarah's interview runs. Here's what I like about this book so far:

1. The complexities of the main character, Julia. She's a wealthy woman who hasn't always been wealthy. She carries a lot of issues attached to money from her past into her current situation. This is a great way to address the question-- can money really buy happiness? Julia knows both poverty and opulence. They have both shaped who she is. But what will she do with what she comes to know about herself?

2. The premise is unique. Julia's husband Michael is a business dynamo and a self-made multi-millionaire. When he has a heart attack in the middle of a speech and is clinically dead for 4 minutes and 8 seconds, he wakes up a new man. But does Julia want a new man? And how does she resolve her feelings for this new man... or the old one, for that matter? The book takes a good look at the little ways a marriage can grow apart-- and the big sacrifices that must be made for it to come back together.

3. Julia's best friend Isabelle is not a cliche. She was born into money and has the world at her feet-- yet she struggles with choices and issues just like everyone else.

4. There are hints that both Michael's and Julia's pasts are going to catch up to them. I can't wait to see how and what they learn. The point is, the ending is not a foregone conclusion-- that's refreshing.

5. The book has Sarah's sense of humor and wit all throughout. I love books that can tackle serious subjects, yet still make you smile.

I will finish this book, which is really saying something. I am reading it really fast, because I can't wait to see what happens. I love reading a good story, and this is one.

Here's a summary of the book so you can read more:

What would you do if your husband wanted to rewrite the rules of your relationship?

Julia Dunhill, a thirty-something party planner, seems to have it all: Married to her high school sweetheart and living in a gorgeous home in Washington D.C., she imagines her future unfolding very much as it has for the past few years, since she and her husband Michael successfully launched their companies. There will be dinner parties to attend, operas to dress up for, and weddings and benefits to organize for her growing list of clients. There will be shopping sprees with her best friend, Isabelle, and inevitably those last five pounds to shed. In her darker moments, she worries that her marriage has dissolved from a true partnership into a fa├žade, but she convinces herself it’s due to the intensity of their careers and fast-paced lifestyle.

So as she arranges the molten chocolate cupcakes for the annual Opera benefit, how can she know that her carefully-constructed world is about to fall apart? That her husband will stand up from the head of the table in his company’s boardroom, open his mouth to speak, and crash to the carpeted floor… all in the amount of time it will take her to walk across a ballroom floor just a few miles away. Four minutes and eight seconds after his cardiac arrest, a portable defibrillator jump-starts Michael’s heart. But in those lost minutes he becomes a different man, with an altered perspective on the rarified life they’ve been living and a determination to regain the true intimacy they once shared. Now it is up to Julia to decide — is it worth upending her comfortable world to try to find her way back to the husband she once adored, or should she walk away from this new Michael, who truthfully became a stranger to her long before his change of heart?

Disclosure: I received a copy of this book for review purposes from the publisher. This post will also be entered into a sweepstakes. But I was already going to do this before I knew anything about the sweepstakes. Once I heard about it I thought, why not?
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Zibilee said...

I just had a conversation about this book with a couple of other bloggers last night, and I have to admit that this is a book I am really curious about. I find the premise and the specifics very interesting and really am excited to see what Pekkanen does with her story. I am glad to hear that you are enjoying the book, and I am looking forward to your feature tomorrow!

Tim said...

As a lover of books, I always enjoy when someone introduces me to one that they are enjoying. I have not heard of this author but your review and the summary have me intrigued. Thanks for introduction! I think I will have to pursue a relationship with this one.