Welcome to the Reading Addiction Blog Tour for Laurel Osterkamp's book November Surprise. It is the full-length novel whose companion novella, Campaign Promises, I reviewed a couple of months ago. [Read a review of that here.]
Title: November Surprise
Author: Laurel Osterkamp
Date Published: 8/2012
For Lucy Jones, the distinction between love and politics is hazy at best. Both can be all-consuming, and either can lead to a heart-breaking loss or an exhilarating win. Whatever the case, if you’re seen as a loser, you probably are one. Lucy first learns this lesson in 1988, when she’s a shy girl, battling a high school bully and rooting for Dukakis. Through the years Lucy will experience the thrill of victory and the agony of defeat as she makes the choices that define her. Meanwhile, she also struggles to define her relationship with Monty, who comes in and out of her life like the changes in public opinion. Is Monty simply a one-night stand, a kindred spirit, or the love of her life? And by 2008, can he offer her a change to believe in?
Over the course of twenty years and six presidential elections, Lucy grows and adjusts with the times. Filled with snarky political and pop-culture references, November Surprise is about the journey we take to believe in a candidate, in love, and in ourselves.
November Surprise is a companion piece to Campaign Promises, which is free on Amazon. They can be read in either order. Both have a liberal slant.
Read an excerpt:
Monty and I have been dancing together all evening. The slow songs are the best, but we also do the Macarena and even the Chicken Dance. I can’t stop laughing the entire time I’m quacking my hands.
Jack and his new wife, Petra, have fed each other cake. Petra has thrown her bouquet, and all the toasts have been given. The night is winding down, and Monty leads me off the dance floor.
“I’m really glad neither of us had dates,” he says.
“Yeah, me too.” My heart beats just a little bit faster than normal.
“And I’m sorry about earlier. Hitting on you like that. It was clumsy. Will you forgive me?” His face is flushed and his tie is loosened. I’m sure I’ve noticed before how good looking he is, but this is the first time I’ve let myself appreciate it.
“There’s nothing to forgive.” I look around, make sure nobody is watching, and then I stand on my tip-toes and plant a kiss on his cheek. When he doesn’t flinch or pull away, I give him the barest whisper of a kiss on the lips.
It’s all the encouragement he needs.
With a conspiratorial smile, he takes my hand and leads me outside the reception hall. I follow willingly.
When we get to a dark, hidden spot, he wraps his arms around my waist and kisses me deeply. I can feel it everywhere, my entire body is tingling, my knees are weak, and I’m sure that at any moment, my heart will explode.
I don’t want him to stop. But he does.
“Where are you staying tonight?” he asks.
“I was going to drive back to my parents’ house.”
“Hmm…” he leans in and kisses me some more. I press up against him like I can’t get close enough. He tilts his head back ever so slightly, so he can talk. “That’s a long drive. Do you want to stay with me, instead?”
“You have a hotel room?”
“It’s close to the airport,” he whispers. “I fly back to New York really early tomorrow.” Then he baby kisses my eyes, nose, and chin.
I don’t answer immediately. I’m trying to steady my breathing. “So you can make a clean get away?”
“It’s not like that.” he smiles. “And you haven’t even said yes, yet.”
But he knows I’m going to. “You can’t ever tell Jack,” I say.
“He just got married, Lucy. Do you really think he’ll care?”
I rub my hands down his back and across the taut muscles in his arms. “I never had sex with him, and we dated for months. If he finds out you and I had a one night stand…”
Monty cuts me off with another kiss. “I promise I’ll never tell him,” he murmurs, between kisses.
We make out a few seconds more, but our kissing is interrupted when I’m consumed with a fit of giggles.
“What’s so funny?” Monty asks.
I shake my head. “Sorry. It just occurred to me. I’m about to do it with the homecoming king.”
Monty chuckles. “Does that turn you on?”
“Yeah,” I admit. “Kind of. Is that okay?”
He kisses my neck. I tilt my head back and sigh in pleasure.
“Are you kidding?” His lips are a mere centimeter from my skin as he mumbles, and his arms tighten around me even more. “If I had known, I would have worn my crown.”
Now we’re both laughing.
“You know this isn’t the sort of thing I usually do…”
He raises his face so he’s looking me in the eye. “I know,” he says, and he smiles.
Crinkles form around his green eyes, and I feel a moment of panic. There’s no way I’m casual enough to be with him for just one night.
“Let’s make it special, okay?” He reaches down and clasps my hand, and I let him lead me somewhere, again. This time, I follow him to the parking lot. Tonight, I’d follow him anywhere.
This book and Campaign Promises complement each other. When you read the two of them together, you feel like you have Lucy's entire story. Each book can stand on its own and gives you a good idea what is going on in Lucy's life as she navigates the tumultuous political world while calming some chaos in her own world. Lucy is relatively likeable and you always want to know more about your favorite characters.
You follow her story based on the major election years, therefore getting her life in four-year snippets. As you watch her grow and mature, you find yourself also reminiscing about your own life during each of those campaigns. You may ever find yourself reflecting on your own personal growth at those times as a comparison point.
To say these books have a liberal slant is putting it somewhat mildly. Nevertheless, it is an entertaining read that is quite timely this year.
Laurel Osterkamp was a comedy writer in Minneapolis before she began writing novels. Her first novel, Following My Toes, has been a Kindle best seller and won the 2008 Indie Excellence Award for Chick Lit. Starring in the Movie of My Life received honors in the 2011 Indie Excellence Awards for Chick Lit, and in the 2011 International Book Awards for Women's Fiction and Young Adult Lit. Both books are indie approved at indiereader.com. She currently teaches high school, and is working on her next book, which is inspired by her recent jury duty.
Purchase on Amazon: http://amzn.to/RYj5zj
*Disclosure of Material Connection: I am a member of Reading Addiction Blog Tours and a copy of this book was provided to me by the author. Although payment may have been received by Reading Addiction Blog Tours, no payment was received by me in exchange for this review. There was no obligation to write a positive review. All opinions expressed are entirely my own and may not necessarily agree with those of the author, publisher, publicist, or readers of this review. This disclosure is in accordance with the Federal Trade Commision’s 16 CFR, Part 255, Guides Concerning Use of Endorcements and Testimonials in Advertising*