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SKIPPING A BEAT by Sarah Pekkanen


by Sarah Pekkanen

Pub Date: Feb. 22nd, 2011
ISBN: 978-1-4516-0982-0
Publisher: Washington Square/Pocket

A two-hanky weepy in which a 30-something woman must choose between her vast wealth and a husband she hasn’t really loved in years.

After Michael’s surprise heart attack (he’s not even 40), he becomes a transformed person. His near-death experience showers him with epiphanies—love is all that matters, money is meaningless, the quest for power is corrupting—and decides to act on them. While still in the hospital he informs everyone that he is selling his company, his home, all his possessions (totaling in the hundreds of millions) and donating the proceeds to charity. This does not sit well with his wife Julia. Because of a pre-nup agreement she insisted on (her father, a compulsive gambler, shamed and ruined their family and scarred Julia’s sense of security), she will have no recourse in Michael’s decisions. Hardly a spoiled D.C. wife (in fact the two come from the same poor West Virginia town), she nonetheless would like to keep a roof over her head and the heated floors beneath her feet. Michael asks for three weeks before she files for divorce—three weeks to woo her back and convince her all they need is each other. Much of the novel is devoted to flashbacks of their courtship; as high-school sweethearts they planned on escaping the poverty of their town (and their dire family circumstances) to somehow make it big. But as Michael’s company grew, and her own business took off, they became little more than cohabitors in an ultra-luxe D.C. residence. Julia isn’t quite sure what to make of all the sudden attention Michael is lavishing on her—a trip to Paris, picnics—but she is sure that years of neglect, possible adultery and this current betrayal may simply be impossible to forgive.   

A tragic turn of events redirects what could have been a predictable romance into a drama on the fragility of love and marriage.