Imogen is a runaway heiress, an orphan, a cook, and a cheat. Jule is a fighter, social chameleon, and an athlete. A girl who refuses to give people what they want from her. A girl who refuses to be the person she once was.
I found this under the “Thriller” section at Barnes and Noble and although I wouldn’t label it as that, there’s still suspense and mystery surrounding the story.
The book starts out in present day with Jule residing in a resort in Mexico. She spends her days working out, chatting up with a bartender, and taking part in trivia night. All is normal until Jule discovers she’s being tracked down and all of a sudden another side of Jule is out. She goes by a different name, disguises herself to fit in different social situations, and believes she’s outrunning the cop until is eventually caught.
The rest of the story is told in flashbacks leading up to beginning, something I didn’t mind and usually don’t if done right. In this case I believe it works.
Imogen and Jule are good friends both running from another life and this causes them to bond. We learn how they met and what they went through before leading up to the beginning.
The Talented Miss Jule
I never read The Talented Mr. Ripley but know of the plot and how it ends. I’m not the first to say how similar this book is to that. If you read The Talented Mr. Ripley you’ll see the similarities. I’ll just get that out-of-the-way to start.
Jule is an artist of sorts. She can change accents, is physically fit, and can access a situation in order to escape one. For a while you don’t know what about Jule is true. She makes up stories about her past, almost convincing herself this is how her life went. The one honest part of Jule comes out with Imogen, well mostly honest. She still lies to Imogen about her life.
Imogen is the opposite. She’s open about her family, being adopted, and not wanting to do what people expect of her. Imogen loves animals, is a millionaire, and uncommitted. Just when she gets close to someone she moves on not wanting them to get attached and allows herself to have room for others.
It’s hard to say if I like either of them. They’re real. They’re likable at times while the others you question what the hell they’re doing and why they act that way. In a sense that does make me interested in general but despite Imogen being in the description, she’s not in the story as much.
Like I said, the story takes place in flashbacks, which I don’t mind. It’s either weeks or months before the beginning scene. Starting from a tragic tone-setter to the first days of Imogen and Jule’s friendship, to even before that when Jule lived from paycheck to paycheck on her own.
The flashbacks do make you want to learn everything about Jule. How did she end up having a connection to this guy Paolo who is really only in the book for one reason but in the end didn’t make a difference to Jule’s character?
Paolo didn’t matter.
If more of the story focused on Jule and Imogen I might like it more. There are mundane details, not only about Jule’s every day life but everything in general. The random pianist gets a full description. I wasn’t sure if I would like the writing style in the beginning but it grew on me.
I can’t say I didn’t like the book. It kept me interested enough to keep reading and from the start you know something is up with Jule and Imogen. Not even half-way through you’ll probably figure out the twist, but wanting to know what led up to the twist is the kicker.
Jule and Imogen are real people with their good and bad traits. It makes it hard for you to find them redeemable but those good parts do make them likable from time-to-time.
However there are some details the book didn’t need and Jule has a “romantic relationship” but in the end it did nothing for her character or the story overall. Just a minor reveal in the beginning.
If you’re interested in a mystery surrounding two girls wanting to outrun their lives then I recommend the book. I wouldn’t call it a thriller but suspenseful and a different read.
Many of us have prefer to listen to music while we read, others don’t. Either way remember an amazing performer, Tom Petty.