Book Review: Skipping a Beat

Nancy's Review of Skipping a Beat by Sarah Pekkanen
High school sweethearts Michael and Julia Dunhill grew up poor in West Virginia. They got married and moved to Washington, D.C. to start a better life. Julia's event planning business is a success but Michael's beverage company is an even bigger success. They become extremely wealthy, living in a huge home, hosting dinner parties, shopping at high end retail stores, etc. It seems like they have the perfect life together. However, there is one problem: they are not together. Their fast-paced lifestyle has torn them apart and what is worse is that Julia is convinced that Michael had an affair. The distance between Michael and Julia grows with each passing moment. When Michael suffers cardiac arrest and is dead for over four minutes but miraculously revived, Julia must face a completely different man than the one she married.
Michael is no longer a work-a-holic and is determined to give all of his money away to charity. Julia leans on her best friend Isabelle for support during such a challenging time. Michael asks Julia to give him three weeks to prove his love for her and prove that his drastic changes are right for both of them. She tries to overcome anger, frustration, sadness, guilt, and loneliness as she gives her husband another chance, but still contemplates leaving him to start over. Can Julia love Michael again or has their marriage skipped too many beats to ever find the healthy rhythm they once shared?
Skipping a Beat is a thought-provoking novel with unexpected twists and turns. The characters are genuine, complex, and engaging. Pekkanen writes with exquisite detail to share the story of a marriage destroyed by success. The relationship between Michael and Julia is told in flashbacks and present-day action from Julia's perspective. Julia's inner struggles and overwhelming uncertainty are powerfully conveyed by Pekkanen. The role of Julia's best friend, Isabelle, is so involved and has so much potential, it almost seems as if there should be another book for her story. Isabelle is not a typical chick lit best friend who is there only as a sounding board for the main character and a companion for shopping trips. She is so much more and the little bit of her story that is delved into is sure to captivate readers. It is not very often that authors are able to create secondary characters that are just as, if not more, engaging than the main characters, but Pekkanen accomplished that. Another enjoyable aspect of this novel is the opera tie-in in which Julia relates her own life to the stories of her favorite operas. Overall, Skipping a Beat is a heartfelt story about overcoming relationship challenges in order to truly find love and happiness.
Sarah Pekkanen is also the author of The Opposite of Me. For more information about Sarah and her books, you can check out her Web site, follow her on Twitter, and visit her Facebook page.
Have you read Skipping a Beat yet? If not, are you going to put it on your reading list? Please share your thoughts with us in the comments section. Thanks!