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November Surprise by Laurel Osterkamp
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November Surprise

by Laurel Osterkamp

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November Surprise is a story that follows the life of Lucy Jones in a span of twenty years from her senior year in high school in 1988 to her twentieth high school reunion in 2008. Author Laurel Osterkamp weaves an intriguing tale that expands upon the novel's companion novella, Campaign Promises, where the reader is first introduced to Lucy via five vignettes that touch upon the milestones in her life in connection with each time period's corresponding political landscape. Told in the first person narrative, Lucy invites the reader into her life story, and shares her fascination for politics along with her evolvement and growth of her views on life, love and politics over the twenty years. Filled with idealism, realism and humor that shines a spotlight on Lucy's life and the political landscape between 1988-2008, November Surprise is a story about a girl who is trying to find her way and make the right choices in her private and public life.

While the story revolves around Lucy and her two relationships with brothers Jack and Monty Bricker, this is so much more than the typical boy-girl romance story. It is a realistic story of a girl coming of age, who learned to define and voice her political and relationship beliefs that ultimately shaped her life within a twenty year span. Lucy takes the reader on a nostalgic walk down the political memory lane covering five elections from Bush-Dukakis through Obama-McCain in rich detail and vivid descriptions seen through her passionate eyes. With each election that Lucy describes, the reader can see the evolved connection between the political commentary, Lucy's life situation, life lesson learned, and her level of growth and maturity at each time period.

I loved the relationships that Lucy had with Jack and Monty, the growth and strength of their bond that grew over the years was poignant and made their relationships special. I especially loved how Lucy and Monty's relationship evolved and developed, it provided the right kind of romantic scenario that everyone looks for and enjoys when they read a Chick Lit and Contemporary Romance novel. Lucy is one feisty, opinionated and intelligent lady. I thoroughly enjoyed her passion, outlook, and perspectives on life and politics. I loved both Jack and Monty's personalities, while they are total opposites, they are both endearing and wonderful men. I loved how they shared a powerful bond of friendship and family.

As a college graduate with a BA Degree in Political Science and a longtime history/politics buff, I loved how the author interwove the political time period and pop culture references of 1988-2008 into the story. I enjoyed taking the stroll down memory lane, and found myself laughing as I reminisced and thought that the author's take on that time period was filled with humor, sarcasm and was mildly sardonic. If you are looking for a wonderful romantic story with a political theme, one that parallels and encompasses politics with relationships, then November Surprise is the one for you!

Disclaimer: I received a copy of the book from the author in exchange for my honest review and participation in a virtual book tour event hosted by Chick Lit Plus Blog Tours.

http://jerseygirlbookreviews.blogspot.com/2012/11/campaign-promises-november-sur... ( )
  JerseyGirlBookReview | Nov 7, 2012 |
This book was a good, fast read. However, for me it had more of an YA novel feeling than a fully adult book. Even with all the political context and the fact that the main character is in her late 30s by the end.... I just couldn't shake that feeling of reading a book meant for a younger audience. ( )
  yukon92 | Sep 29, 2012 |
While Lucy is certainly an entertaining character, I found myself getting more intrigued with the political aspects of the story. I wanted to sit down with her and debate the validity of many of her political views. I tried to remember that this was a work of fiction but I found that my own political views made it difficult to enjoy Lucy's story. Perhaps if her view was less different than my own it would have been a better read.

The author did use this format to good advantage and I am sure other will enjoy reading it.

Disclaimer: I received this book in exchange for an honest review. My review has not been influenced by this in any way. ( )
  MadStitcher | Sep 28, 2012 |
I won this book with Member Giveaway from Librarything. This book somewhat reminds me of the old movie Same Time, Next Year, as the story jumps every four years, as it has political ties, and the main characters seem to meet up and review what has happened in their lives up to this time. The book is also so much more. We follow the main character, Lucy, from her high school years until her late thirties has she deals with all the milestones of her life. Throughout her life as been two brothers, Jack and Monty. How Lucy's, Jack's, and Monty's lives intertwine, along with the political commentary throughout the book, makes for an interesting read. ( )
  calicocat901 | Sep 9, 2012 |
“November Surprise” by Laurel Osterkamp is a delightful trip through the life of Lucy from her teens to her late thirties. I found the use of the four year presidential election cycle as mile stones for her life very clever. It was a good tie in to her political activism which is definitely liberal. Since she mixes her passion for politics with her love life and friendships, it is not surprising that inevitable complications arise. Her youthful naiveté about the consistency of her friends and lovers commitment to her and the liberal causes she champions leads to a lot of disillusionment. As she matures she begins to realize that while she and her friends change and can even disagree on political ideals, human friendships and love can hold and even grow stronger. This realization allows her to grow into a more adult relationship with Monty the man she was destined to marry. The many complications the author places in Lucy’s life result in a mature women with the chance for a fruitful and fulfilling life. The book is a very good read with some lessons to be learned in this highly charged, polarized political year.

DaveS ( )
  Zeleg | Aug 26, 2012 |
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Laurel Osterkamp's book November Surprise was available from LibraryThing Member Giveaway.

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