What would you do if your husband wanted to rewrite the rules of your relationship?Review:
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 façade, 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?
Skipping a Beat is a book that caught my eye the first time I heard about it, because not only was the cover stunning but the premise sounded intriguing as well as promising. Thankfully enough Sarah Pekkanen's Skipping a Beat was a book that took a hold of my heart with its very first sentence and didn't let go until the very last.
Julia and Michael meet under some unusual and scary circumstances all those years ago and ever since that fateful day they have been hooked on each other. Though, as of lately everything between them is starting to drift apart. For one, they both have their own careers that keep them busy. For Julia it's her party planning business and for Michael its his self started business that over time has accumulated a wealth in the millions. And second of all, Michael's just a different person these days. He never seems to have time for Julia, and as of lately, she's been wondering if they should break it off for good. But then Michael goes into cardiac arrest and comes out a different person, a person who wants to make things right with Julia once and for all, a guy who wants to sell his mega-successful business so he'll have all the time in the world for her. Julia doesn't know what to think. At first, she just puts it off as Michael being crazy, but after she begins to believe him, and before she knows it she begins to fall in love with him once again. Though, with this comes shocking revelations and secrets, ones that will have any reader wondering what will happen between these two people as they begin to rewrite the rules to their marriage.
This novel was so fantastic that I don't even know where to begin, though I guess I'll start where I always do...with the characters.
One of the things I love most about adult fiction is the layers and layers of development and time the writers put into their main characters and the lives and relationships at hand and the same rang true with Skipping a Beat.
For one, I adored Julia. She was a character who I never failed to root for, even when she did some pretty silly things, because she just felt so real to me. She made mistakes, she wasn't the perfect wife or friend at times but that didn't stop her from being someone I completely admired as as person, and the same was true about her husband Michael. Michael is that typical sweet and nerdy kid in high school that turns out to be a fabulous and brilliant guy during adulthood. What I liked most about them, though, was their relationship. It was complicated beyond relief, filled with so many unsaid things, but yet I could easily see how much they loved each other even when they couldn't weren't able to. Better yet, I loved the questions Sarah brought about me with their relationship. Questions like, how far would I go to try to understand someone I used and still love? How much change is too much change? How far can a person go before loosing all faith in a person and calling it quits once and for all? How would I feel if someone asked me to rewrite the rules of my relationship? It was a thoughtproking read to say the least.
I also enjoyed the plot in this once again because of the layers and layers of details and twists and turns that will have nearly any reader on the edge of their seat dying to know what will happen next. Best of all, when mixed with the characters and Sarah's excellent writing, this book was one I couldn't put down, not even for a second.
Lastly, I have to say something about the ending in this, though I won't giveaway anything. It was heartbreaking to say the least, though the impact it left on me as well as the characters it involved made it worth it in the end, and it also shows just how brilliant of a writer Ms. Pekkanen is.
In all, readers of adult fiction, teen fiction, or a mix of both, you all must read this one! It's simply amazing, a heartbreaking and heartwarming book that I'm still thinking about even though I finished it several days ago.
Skipping a Beat is now out! You can read the first chapter here.
Source: Publicist at Simon and Schuster. Thanks Cristina!
*Also, if you've had the chance to read this book, I would love to know your thoughts on it, especially the ending, so feel free to leave a comment, or send me an email.*
Oh, and I don't usually do this, but here is as song that I think goes along perfectly with book except for a few lyrics: