Olivia Joules and the Overactive Imagination by Helen Fielding

Olivia Joules and the Overactive Imagination by Helen FieldingI expected this book, from the writer of Bridget Jones’ Diary, to be another chick-lit. But it wasn’t! Instead, it’s a mystery/thriller story in with the main character is sometimes weak and silly (like you may expect in chick-lit) and sometimes very strong and clever, a real heroine!

Olivia Joules: What it is about

Olivia is working for The Times newspaper in England. Her boss is a little sceptical about Olivia’s new ideas for newspaper articles as she often invents more behind a news-worthy situation than there really is to say about it. He says she has an overactive imagination.

The boss sends her to Miami to cover the launch of a face powder by a celebrity. Olivia is miffed but goes and meets a really attractive man at this launch. Pierre Ferano is interested in her, too, and invites her for breakfast the next day.

On her pre-breakfast run, Olivia gets involved in what turns out to be a terrorist attack. Olivia surmises that Pierre must be implicated in the attack and she has some reasons to back this up. Her overactive imagination is at work.

But there really is something fishy about Pierre and Olivia wants to get to the bottom of it.

Pierre invites her to Los Angeles and Olivia, thinking both of how attractive he is as well as of her plan to find out more about him, is game.

After this set up, the book is full of action. Starting off as something that could be chick-lit, this book rapidly develops into a thriller.

Olivia Joules: What I thought

As I hadn’t read the back cover, I expected chick-lit. Instead, I got a thriller. At first, this was odd, but once I realised what the the book’s genre really was, I enjoyed it a lot.

I think I should have caught on to the fact that Olivia was working for The Times. Not many silly, brainless women work for The Times so I should have realised that Olivia was capable of much more than I gave her credit for.

In fact, she was very resourceful, especially after her training with MI6. Yes, that’s right!

While the overactive imagination of the writer resulted in a less than realistic story, it was all good fun and made for a nice, light read.

Rating: 4/5

I got this book: in a bookswap

I read this in: English, the original language

Number of pages: 344

First published: 2003

Genre: thriller

About Leeswammes
I'm owner and editor at bookhelpline.com. In my free time, I read and review books on my two blogs, Leeswammes' Blog and De Boekblogger.

17 Responses to Olivia Joules and the Overactive Imagination by Helen Fielding

  1. Cindy says:

    Just the chick-lit association would put me off. A good review, thanks🙂 Have a super weekend.

    • leeswammes says:

      You don’t like chick-lit, Cindy? I can read it quite happily, unless the protagonists are too silly. But for instance, Marian Keyes and Freya North, Katie Fforde write good chic-lit that is interesting for the “more demanding” reader, too.

      Have a nice weekend!

  2. Chinoiseries says:

    Glad to hear you enjoyed it! I won the Dutch translation once in some competition and at first was also dismissing it as merely chick-lit, but it’s really a fun read. Not that I don’t like chick-lit at all, I must’ve read all Jill Mansell’s and Fiona Walker’s books😉

    • leeswammes says:

      I’ve never read anything by either Jill Mansell or Fiona Walker. Jill Mansell I think is the sort of chick-lit that I wouldn’t enjoy. But how can I really know? I haven’t tried her! Just the association is wrong.

      I think this is the problem with many people & chick-lit. They have a certain association with it and aren’t willing to try them (or try something new). I know quite a few good chick-lit authors. But there are also the pink-cover silly chick-lits that are written for 18-year olds that I wouldn’t enjoy.

  3. Shan says:

    I read this years ago when I first started reading chick lit. I was in university and all I wanted to read was silly chick lit. I really enjoyed it but had gone into it thinking it was going to be like Bridget Jones.

    • leeswammes says:

      That’s what I tohught, Shan, that it would be like Bridget Jones. And I think the beginning is like ti, but then it veers off in quite a different direction.

  4. Someone once said that watching a movie not knowing what it was or who was in it before it starts is the best way to view it. It sounds like you had a similar experience with this book–expecting one thing & getting a pleasant surprise🙂

  5. I read Bridget Jones and I loved it. And this sounds an equally relaxing read. Glad you enjoyed it too.

  6. Petra says:

    I have had this book for two years or so now and haven’t read it yet, but I will soon, thanks to this review!

    • leeswammes says:

      It’s silly, Petra, how much time some books spend in the book case and then when you finally read them you think: “Hey, this is nice!” It’s an easy, fast read so I hope you get round to it soon.

  7. Trish says:

    At first I was thinking this was for another Fielding book that I have on the shelf and haven’t read yet–was glad to see someone review it. But then I remembered I DID read this one. Guess it wasn’t very memorable for me. 🙂 Now that I think back I remember enjoying it. Liked Bridget Jones more, though.

  8. Aleksandra says:

    I was actually wondering if I should get it, because I saw it on discount here & now I think I will! I like fun & light read now & than🙂

  9. Pingback: Olivia Joules and the Overactive Imagination- Helen Fielding | Lucybird's Book Blog

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