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Olivia Joules [Hardcover]

Helen Fielding
2.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (40 customer reviews)

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Book Description

June 7 2004 Fielding, Helen

Enter Olivia Joules: fearless, dazzling, independent beauty-journalist turned master spy.

At the close of the last millennium, Helen Fielding debuted the irrepressible (and blockbuster-bestselling) Bridget Jones. Now, Fielding gives us a sensational new heroine for a new era...Move over 007, a stunning, sexy-and decidedly female-new player has entered the world of international espionage. Her name is Olivia Joules (that’s "J.O.U.L.E.S. the unit of kinetic energy") and she's ready to take America by storm with charm, style, and her infamous Overactive Imagination.

How could a girl not be drawn to the alluring, powerful Pierre Ferramo-he of the hooded eyes, impeccable taste, unimaginable wealth, exotic international homes, and dubious French accent? Could Ferramo really be a major terrorist bent on the Western world’s destruction, hiding behind a smokescreen of fine wines, yachts, and actresses slash models? Or is it all just a product of Olivia Joules’s overactive imagination?

Join Olivia in her heart-stopping, hilarious, nerve-frazzling quest from hip hotel to eco-lodge to underwater cave, by light aircraft, speedboat, helicopter, and horse, in this witty, contemporary, and utterly unputdownable novel deluxe.

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Product Description

From Publishers Weekly

Considering the number of writers who've tried, and generally failed, to do plummy Bridget Jones one better, it only makes sense that Fielding should take a vacation from the genre she spawned and seek (sort of) greener pastures. Her new inspiration? Think Ian Fleming. Fielding's ridiculous, delicious, wildly improbable plot goes something like this: freelance journalist Olivia Joules ("as in the unit of kinetic energy"), formerly Rachel Pixley (her whole family got run over when she was 14), gets bumped from the Sunday Times's international coverage down to the style pages thanks to the titular imagination (e.g., a story about a "cloud of giant, fanged locusts pancaking down on Ethiopia"). In between ducking twittering PR reps and airheaded blondes at a Miami face cream launch party, she uncovers what looks like an al-Qaeda plot, headed by a dreamy Osama bin Laden look-alike, who is either (1) a terrorist, (2) an international playboy, (3) a serial killer or (4) all of the above. Languid, mysterious Pierre Feramo returns Olivia's interest, and thus begins an around-the-world adventure that has plucky Olivia eventually recruited by MI6. In addition to the fun spy gear (e.g., Chloé shades fitted with a nerve-agent dagger) there are kidnappings, bomb plots and scuba-diving disasters. Olivia is slim, confident and accomplished; ostensibly, she's "painstakingly erased all womanly urges to question her shape, looks, role in life," etc. But she still has her bumbling Jonesian moments, and though she may not need a man, she'll get one in the end. What's wrong with the book: two-dimensional characters, dangling plot threads, the questionable taste of al-Qaeda bombings in an escapist, comic spy novel. What's right: girl-power punch, page-turning brio and a new heroine to root for.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From Booklist

More than anything, freelance journalist Olivia Joules wants to write serious news stories, but because of her "vivid" imagination, Olivia instead finds herself relegated by her editors to the style section. While in Miami covering the launch of a new face cream, Olivia meets mysterious, sexy Pierre Feramo, the scientist responsible for developing the cream, and once again Olivia's imagination takes over. Is Pierre really a cosmetics-developing, movie-producing international playboy or could he be an al-Qaeda agent in disguise? Olivia, who knows a thing or two about changing one's identity, can't decide if her suspicions about Pierre are correct or merely a product of her fertile imagination. What is even worse is that if Olivia turns out to be right about Pierre, it means she might be falling in love with a terrorist! The author of the phenomenally popular Bridget Jones's Diary (1998) gifts readers with another endearing, irrepressible heroine, who, armed with her lists and survival kit, discovers in this deliciously fun novel that she has a natural talent for spying. Fielding's latest has all the ingredients of a good thriller--exotic locales, a resourceful heroine, intrigue, and a touch of sexy romance--but the book is also electric with Fielding's wry wit, and the combination is simply delightful. John Charles
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved

Inside This Book (Learn More)
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"The problem with you, Olivia, is that you have an overactive I imagination." Read the first page
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Customer Reviews

Most helpful customer reviews
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars WAY better than Bridget! Oct. 16 2005
By Rose
I really really liked Olivia Joules and the Overactive Imagination. Okay, so the plot wasn't exactly perfect -- it runs all over the place and leaves you in the dust, wondering what on earth just happened more than once -- but it is SOOOOOO funny. I laughed so much, and I just loved all the characters. I think I enjoyed this book a lot more than the two Bridget Jones books because Olivia Joules actually has a BRAIN. Bridget is just a bumbling fat fool (albeit a lovable one), but Olivia means business! I definitely recommend this book. :)
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Fast paced but misses something June 3 2004
I adored the Bridget Jones diaries, which I think are among the cleverest of the genre, so it was with great anticipation that I picked up Helen Fielding's latest effort. I was disappointed.
Sure the book delivers all that it promises - fast paced action in the beautiful parts of the world, potentially evil terrorists (or playboys?), big terrorist attacks, sub plots and red herrings. But somewhere along the way, I really began to find the book was quite hard going. I think I just stopped being interested in, or caring about our hero Olivia.
It is certainly mildly entertaining, and as a smallish book it is a quick read, great for lying on a beach somewhere. But I think it is also a great opportunity missed. Perhaps it will translate better into a movie - this is a screenplay waiting in the wings.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Such Fun to Read! Aug. 13 2006
By Shepherdess Extraordinaire TOP 1000 REVIEWER
If you're looking for a fluffy, fun, brain candy book, this is it! I thoroughly enjoyed reading this. It's a combination of Bridgette Jones and Stephanie Plum (the "lingerie sales clerk turned bounty hunter" heroine in author Janet Evanovich's series of novels). So the plot is unrealistic - big deal! It's a fun read! Few books make me laugh out loud like this one did.
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3.0 out of 5 stars Brain Candy for Summer Holidays July 21 2005
By A Customer
Although not as good as Bridget Jones, this book was still light and fun. It kept me reading right until the end, laughing out loud at the silliness of Olivia - a good charachter who displays values as well as imagination!
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2.0 out of 5 stars Easy to put down and forget May 26 2005
By A Customer
I had high hopes for this book having enjoyed both Bridget Jones book. One word -- BORING. The character was super annoying and the plot very weak and absurd.
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1.0 out of 5 stars Below Your Intelligence Nov. 5 2004
By Ez
Journalist Olivia Joules (formerly Rachel Pixley) believes that Osama Bin Laden is masquerading as a millionaire French playboy. Oh yes, this book is tacky, Hollywood-style drivel that is neither thrilling nor funny. (...). I don't approve of that racial stereotyping. This book is surely below your intelligence - after all, it's below mine. (D)
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3.0 out of 5 stars Helen Fielding and the Underwhelming Offering Aug. 20 2004
I am a huge Bridget Jones fan mainly because Helen Fielding has such a great sense of humour. She also has a uncanny knack for pinpointing the hidden fears many women have running through their minds at some point (though, thankfully, most of us are not quite as neurotic).
Now Fielding presents us with a new heroine, and on paper, it all looks great. A witty heroine as well as a fast-paced adventure plot? What could be cooler than a female spy? Sadly, I really felt this novel was just a hollow echo of Fielding's previous offerings. Sure Olivia is more composed and less of a spazz than Bridget, but Bridge made those qualities (or lack thereof) endearing. Bridget is not exactly someone we strive to be, but I still empathised with her more than Olivia, who just rang false and never seemed fully conceived to me. Somehow, Fielding has all the parts right, but the result is underwhelming.
I personally did not enjoy the terrorism plot, which seemed tawdry and like a poor attempt to cash in on an ever-present global threat. As well, I found the twists very predictable, and I'm not really one of those readers that thinks ahead... at least not if the story's good enough to utterly enrapture me. Again, I'm not sure how, but this book seems trite and was very unsatisfying.
I would recommend borrowing this from a friend or at least waiting for it in paperback. It's not worth a hardcover printing. I would have given this a 2.5 star rating if I could have.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Morton C and nearly no kissing scenes July 19 2004
I can't tell you how glad I was that the kissing scenes were limited. I enjoyed reading this book. All of a sudden all sorts of thrillers are popping up. If you like this one, with strong women characters I recommend....
Da Vinci Code
The Fifth Internationale.
Thanks again Helen for such super books.
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