GIVEAWAY & REVIEW: Skipping a Beat by Sarah Pekkanen

Product Description

 Julia and Michael meet in high school in their small, poverty-stricken West Virginia hometown. Both products of difficult childhoods — Julia’s father is a compulsive gambler and Michael’s mother abandoned his family when he was a young boy – they find a sense of safety and mutual understanding in each other. Shortly after graduation they flee West Virginia to start afresh. Now thirty-somethings, they are living a rarified life in their multi-million-dollar,Washington D.C. home. From the outside it all looks perfect – Julia has become a highly sought-after party planner, while Michael has launched a wildly successful flavored water company that he sold for $70 million.
But one day Michael stands up at the head of the table in his company’s boardroom — then silently crashes to the floor. More than four minutes later, a portable defibrillator manages to jump-start his heart. Yet what happened to Michael during those lost minutes forever changes him. Money is meaningless to him now – and he wants to give it all away to charity. A prenuptial agreement that Julia insisted upon back when Michael’s company was still struggling means she has no claim to his fortune, and now she must decide: should she walk away from the man she once adored, but who truthfully became a stranger to her long before his near-death experience – or should she give in to her husband’s pleas for a second chance and a promise of a poorer but happier life?

About the Author

Sarah Pekkanen is the author of The Opposite of Me and Skipping a Beat. Her work has been published in People, The Washington Post, USA Today, The New Republic, The Baltimore Sun, Reader’s Digest, and Washingtonian, among others.  She writes a monthly Erma Bombeck type column for Bethesda Magazine, and has been an on-air contributor to NPR and E! Entertainment’s “Gossip Show.”  She is the winner of a Dateline award and the Paul Miller Reporting Fellowship. Sarah lives in Chevy Chase, Maryland with her husband and three young sons.


  • Paperback: 352 pages
  • Publisher: Washington Square Press; Original edition (February 22, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1451609825
  • ISBN-13: 978-1451609820



This is the most emotional book I have read in a long time.  I actually had to take breaks while reading this since I was so drawn into the story and how real the whole thing seemed.  Within pages, I felt like I had known Julia my whole life. I could feel her fear and how much she loved Michael, yet realize they had grown apart.  Like most marriages they had forgotten those moments that create the relationship.  The ending was exactly how it had to be, although I never saw it coming.  I ended up in tears several times, but any author who can create that kind of connection is something special.  This is in my top ten for the year!

I really felt the author made Julia more accessible by taking great pains to detail her relationship with money and her father and how this history makes her responses to Michael quitting his job very realistic.  She sees the money as the security she never had as a child and when Michael decides to give everything away without discussing it with her, that trust is broken.

Julia tries to understand Michael and what happened between them and how they have grown apart.  She reflects and makes correlations through the music and stories of opera that she has found as an escape.  In a way, the story is an opera. Also, Julia meets someone who puts everything in perspective in the body of a boy.  She introduces Noah to Michael and that child becomes the catalyst that rebuilds their relationship.

This is probably one of the hardest reviews I have ever written.  The story felt like it was ripped from my own life since my husband decided to quit his job on New Years Eve 1999, without much warning.  They always say truth is stranger than fiction, but it is pretty hard to imagine someone else capturing my exact thoughts and feelings, but that is exactly what Sarah Pekkanen did. I received this book at no charge from the publisher in exchange for my honest review.


Contest is open to anyone with a US mailing addresses (no PO Boxes)

Contest ends on 3.1.11 Winner will be chosen by on 3.2.11
Winner will have 48 hours to respond to email or a new winner will be chosen.
This giveaway is sponsored by  Washington Square Press and one copy of the book will be available.
Only one winner per household address!

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  1. Thanks for the chance to win! On her website, you can see that Sarah has long, beautiful hair (my fun fact.) She also loves chocolate, and will answer your email if you have a question (personal experience).

  2. Great giveaway, I am dying to read this book 🙂

    Sarah was once sued (unsuccessfully) by the chief of staff to a corrupt U.S. Congresswoman.

    Thanks for the chance to win 🙂


  3. What a fascinating premise for a story. I’m really interested in seeing how she develops this story.

    patricia dot mariani dot esq at gmail dot com


  4. Sarah sounds like she has a whole lot of moxie; her website notes that she was thrown out of the Vanity Fair White House Correspondents Dinner after-party three times by bouncers! (Wish they would have let her in just on the strenght of her persistence alone!)
    patricia dot mariani dot esq at gmail dot com

  5. Thank you for this awesome giveaway.

    I love this: Save a homeless dog! I’ll donate $100 to the animal charity of your choice (in honor of my rescue lab Bella, who kept my feet warm while I wrote)

    Thats so sweet of her!

  6. I visited Sarah’s beautiful website. I like all of the writers she loves…good chick lit gals like Jennifer Weiner, Emily Giffin and Marian Keyes. I think Sarah would be a great candidate to read Jill Mansell, that European flair/chick lit is quite fun.

  7. This book has such an intersting premise, especially the idea of them walking away from it “all”. I really liked your review, it’s always amazing when a book can touch you so much.
    Thanks for the chance to win!

  8. Sarah confirmed on her website what I always suspected: that there is absolutely nothing sexy about Capitol Hill. . . .
    rosita dot p dot mariani dot esq at gmail dot com

  9. She recommended a number of books for writers including Stephen King’s book “On Writing.” I think I’ll check that one out.
    rositatony (at) yahoo (dot) com

  10. I live in DC and I’m really eager to see how Sarah has depicted my city.

    patricia dot mariani dot esq at gmail dot com

    Daily Entry for Feb. 17

  11. Thanks for the giveaway! Great book 🙂
    What I find interesting: Bouncers did not allow Sarah into the Vanity Fair after-party. Sarah attempted entry three times! O_O


  12. WOW!!! This book is extraordinarily fresh and considerate to me 😀
    I love it.
    I just found out that Sarah’s book covers are likely cute.
    Most of the them covers image of people’s backs 😛


  13. I know you asked for an interesting fact about Sarah but I found a funny one. While she was in labor with her first child she bite her husband on the hand so he would remove it from her shoulder! *snickers
    mamabunny13 at gmail dot com

  14. REN — renahe_90

    Be sure to visit Renahe’s Ramblings HERE

    An email has been sent to the lucky person named above (first part of their email address in case my note ends up in spam). The winner has 48 hours to respond or a new winner will be chosen.

    Thanks to all who entered.