Review: Skipping a Beat by Sarah Pekkanen
Author: Sarah Pekkanen
Publisher: Washington Square Press (imprint of Atria)
Release Date: February 22, 2011
Rating: 4 Bookmarks
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.
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