Review: Skipping a Beat by Sarah Pekkanen

Title: Skipping a Beat

Author: Sarah Pekkanen

Genre/Pages: Fiction/352

Publisher: Washington Square Press (imprint of Atria)

Release Date: February 22, 2011

Rating: 4 Bookmarks

Source: Publisher

Nat’s One-Sentence Synopsis:  After a brush with death, beverage mogul Michael Dunhill renounces his lavish lifestyle and multi-million dollar company–without his wife’s consent–to mend relationships and live a more meaningful life.

In Sarah Pekkanen’s latest novel, she explores themes of gain and loss–in life and relationships–with an engaging plot and genuinely likable characters.  Michael and Julia Dunhill have been together since leaving their small West Virginia town after graduation, heading to Washington, DC to chase down their dreams of professional success and financial security.

Now in their mid-30s, they’ve gained financial and social success but have managed to lose their marriage and bits of themselves in the process.  Their relationship has become a casualty of Michael’s drive and singular focus on work.  Julia’s career as a party-planner is demanding but it leaves her just enough time to inwardly seethe over Michael’s dalliances outside of their marriage.

After Michael is resuscitated, he leaves his company and makes a herculean effort to win back his wife and right all of the wrongs between them.  Unfortunately, it might be too little too late for Julia.  Skipping a Beat examines just how much a marriage can take before it reaches the point of no return.

Secondary characters–especially Julia’s friend Isabelle–add another dimension and the subplots keep the novel moving right along.  The opera motif is well-researched and informative.  I’ve never been to an opera but after reading Skipping a Beat am interested in going.

Despite some minor quibbles–too much foreshadowing and an ending that was a bit predictable and a tad mawkish–overall, I enjoyed this novel and found it to be a quick and enjoyable read.  An author interview and discussion questions are included and enhance the story for book clubs or avid readers.

Other bloggers are raving about Sarah Pekkanen and Skipping a Beat:


  • At 2011.03.16 00:29, Kathleen said:

    I like the sound of a quick and enjoyable read right now!
    Kathleen´s last blog post ..Commentary- You Dont Love This Man by Dan DeWeese

    • At 2011.03.16 07:40, bermudaonion (Kathy) said:

      I really enjoyed this book and even cried a few times as I read it.

      • At 2011.03.16 09:29, Meg said:

        I’ve heard from everyone that it’s a tearjerker — definitely looking forward to reading this one! Sarah Pekkanen has already gained quite the reputation . . . I’m excited to see for myself!
        Meg´s last blog post ..Sick

        • At 2011.03.16 18:41, Natalie said:

          I’m such a cynic! While gathering links from other bloggers’ reviews, I noticed that many of them got weepy from this one. It didn’t quite bring me to tears, but it was emotionally compelling. 🙂 How are you, buddy? I’ve been a bit AWOL of late but am back on the wagon now.

        • At 2011.03.16 16:31, Jenners said:

          I could imagine a marriage being past the point of no return. Sometimes it is too little too late. I’ve not read this author but you are making me want to try.

          • At 2011.03.16 18:40, Natalie said:

            Sarah Pekkanen is a great author and has a strong presence on Twitter and the blogs. She’s an author who genuinely seems to appreciate book bloggers and what we do. 🙂 Check her out!

            • At 2011.04.02 02:54, Karen @ Planet Books said:

              She totally does! I have had the pleasure of meeting Sarah and we have become friends. She truly believes in the power of the book blogger and has been active in building relationships with us since before her first book was published. She is a wonderful woman and a great author who I look forward to being entertained by in the years to come.
              Karen @ Planet Books´s last blog post ..The Sandalwood Tree by Elle Newmark

          • At 2011.03.17 21:10, sarah pekkanen said:

            Thanks so much for this thoughtful review and for reading Skipping! xo, Sarah

            • At 2011.03.18 08:47, Coffee and a Book Chick said:

              I just received this book and cannot wait to read it – I’ve heard a lot about it!
              Coffee and a Book Chick´s last blog post ..Books to Watch – The Hangmans Daughter- by Oliver Potzsch

              • At 2011.03.23 12:46, Jennifer said:

                I have heard some pretty good reviews for this one and it is definitely on my list. Hadn’t heard much about the opera motif but that definitely sounds super interesting. I will have to pick this one up soon.
                Jennifer´s last blog post ..Game On Part Deux

                • At 2011.03.30 18:10, toothybooks said:

                  interesting, a book that can compel you to go to an opera. i’ve never been interested in going to one either, but this book sounds good enough for me to give it a shot.

                  • At 2011.04.02 02:52, Karen @ Planet Books said:

                    Hey there! Thanks for the mention! Yeah, I totally loved this book. Compared to Sarah’s first novel that came out last year, THE OPPOSITE OF ME, this one is far superior. Sarah’s writing is much smoother, character development is much more thorough and the story was strong and had great flow.
                    I also wanted to say that I LOVE your blog site. I haven’t visited my list of “favorite” book blogs in ages and am so blown away with how fabulous yours looks. Good work!
                    Karen @ Planet Books´s last blog post ..The Sandalwood Tree by Elle Newmark

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