The book was written around the time that the United States was looking for Osama Bin Laden, so this is a thread that ties the book together. The character is not as well developed as I would have hoped. It was difficult to see how she gained the skills necessary to complete the missions assigned to her. You definitely need to suspend belief while reading this book.
I love this book. I love it so much I've read it about 5 times. Olivia is by far my all time favorite Helen Fielding charecter. She is adorable, spunky, vivacious and silly. It is a goofy story that is predictable but it such a fun read. Seeing the world through Olivias eyes is a riot. I first "read" this book as a CD narrated by Josephine Bailey. It was the only version I'd recommend listening to.
Rachel Pixley has escaped from her less than ideal past and recreated herself as Olivia Joules, journalist extraordinare. Oliva, as the title points out, does indeed have an overactive imagination, and this prompts her editor to stuff her into the Style section of the paper. It seems Olivia has come up with such unbelieveable stories that the paper is concerned she's a liability. When Olivia is sent to Miami to cover a face cream launch, she is introduced to Pierre Ferramo, a Europian playboy and alleged film director. Is it Olivia's healthy imagination, or does he resemble Osama Bin Laden a bit? Trying to write her assumptions off as post 9/11 paranoia, Olivia eventually feels compelled to follow her gut instinct. Especially when the Oceans Apart cruise ship/apartment houseboat blows up and CNN confirms that the government believes it to be a terrorist attack. Now Olivia begins to believe her own hype: Is Ferramo just a womanizing letch luring young girls under the guise of being a "director"? Or is he an Al-Quaida operative, staying in Miami under the guise of being a "director"?
Olivia's instincts take her all over the world as Ferramo whisks her away to places unknown. As you can probably guess, Olivia (much like her predecessor Bridget Jones) gets herself into many a mess due to her "overactive imagination", and the predictability of this plot took away 1 star for me. However, the novel is genuinely entertaining and timely, although never exploitational. It's also nice to see Fielding break away from Bridget's body obsession and give Olivia an "I don't care what anyone thinks about my body" attitude. Great fluff reading when you need a break from everything
This romance/thriller/spy novel is a fast, breezy read. Despite some of the most unlikely plot twists, the action moves forward in an enjoyable manner and the reader comes to really care for Olivia. Recommended as a quick, fun novel.
I'm a huge fan of Helen Fielding and the Bridget Jones books, but this is one is great because it's got some action and mystery added to the fun and romance. Great book - read it almost in one sitting (on a transcontinental flight).
From front cover:
Move over, 007: a stunning, sexy-and decidedly female-new player has entered the world of international espionage armed with her own pocket survival kit, her Rules for Living, her infamous overactive imagination, and a very special underwire bra.
Olivia Joules, similar to Bridget Jones, is always getting herself in trouble. You really find yourself wondering what far fetched scheme her imagination is going to come up with next. But is it really her imagination...or is it reality? You be the judge.
Helen Fielding 1st Mystery with a dash of romance and her usally all to human female hero. This book was very well written for a 1st time jaunt from romance chick lit to Mystery and well done. I am wanting more of Olivia Joule adventures and to date none have been done, which makes me said as this book was soo good and the people were well written and plot was great. Ms. Fielding should write more about Olivia Joules and be done with Bridget Jones.
from back of book:
"If Bridget Jones shaped and named a certain kind of life in the 1990's, it looks as if Olivia Joules, Helen Fieldig's new heroine, may do the same for the new decade." - The Times (London)
"Olivia Joules - fearless, dazzling, independent beauty-journalist turned master spy. Move over, 007: a stunning, sexy - and decidedly female - new player has entered the world of international espionage armed with her own pocket survival kit, her Rules for Living, her infamous overactive imagination, and a very special underwire bra."