Title: Skipping a Beat
Author: Sarah Pekkanen
Release Date: February 22, 2011
Publisher: Washington Square Press
Genre: Women’s Fiction
Rating: 4.5 out of 5
Julia Dunhill is numb when it comes to her sham of a marriage. She and her husband, Michael, barely communicate anymore. It seems as though Michael’s first love is the company he started, and Julia’s compensation for the lack of a true life partner is the oodles of money her husband brings in. She’s at peace with their arrangement, at least, as much as she can be, and she throws herself into her event planning business to compensate. But when the unthinkable happens, and Michael’s outlook on life completely changes, she has to ask herself what really matters to her, whether it’s too late to save their marriage, and if she even wants to try.
I really enjoyed Sarah Pekkanen’s first book, The Opposite of Me, so I was eagerly awaiting her second novel, Skipping a Beat. I had high expectations for this one, so I started it with a little nervousness, but I needn’t have worried. Pekkanen knocks it out of the park with her second novel.
I absolutely loved the character of Julia. Pekkanen really drew me into the story, making sure I was very emotionally involved. I was invested in Julia; her happiness meant a lot to me, and as a result, I was racing through this book, desperate to know that things would turn out okay for her. I felt Julia’s hurts and understood her fears; she had come to accept that, while Michael and she went through the motions of being a couple, she had no emotional support. However, she knew she would always be financially secure, a small comfort, but an important one. When that rug is pulled out from under her, she has no idea what to think, and all she has to hold onto is her anger.
Skipping a Beat is a very character driven novel, and central to that is introspection and reevaluation. It’s all about coming to a place of understanding, and realizing what is really important to you in life. That’s not to say that Pekkanen turns to the cliché “money is nothing, love is everything,” because as we all know, it’s more complicated than that. It’s one of the things I loved about this book – it would have been so easy to make it typical and clichéd, but instead it’s nuanced and very well done. What is truly important, and what does Julia want from her life? What does it mean to really and truly love another person, and do she and Michael have that?
I thoroughly enjoyed Skipping a Beat. It’s not often that I cry at books, but this one had me in tears, as I experienced Julia’s emotional upheaval right along with her. I really adored this book, and with it and The Opposite of Me, Sarah Pekkanen has become one of my favorite authors, and one that I will definitely be keeping a close eye on in the future.