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Genuine Fraud | E. Lockhart | Review


An intense friendship. A disappearance. A murder, or maybe two.

Jule, a scrappy fighter and an expert at blending in, and Imogen, an unsatisfied heiress, bonded over their shared history, both orphans and both determined to get away from their pasts and become someone new, Imogen and Jule share everything. Clothes, money, lavish homes in London and Martha's Vineyard. They're as close as best friends can be. Or, they were. Or... were they?

Told in reverse, Genuine Fraud begins with a young woman on the run and takes the reader backwards through not entirely reliable memories and increasingly complicated lies, through a close friendship brought to an unfortunate end, through the whole complex affair, from end to beginning and back again. 

There are so many twists and turns in this story that I hesitate to say anything about it at all for fear of spoiling anything. The narrative taking the reader back through time can be a little confusing but it means that the story gets to unfold in a way that leaves you never quite sure what's real and what isn't. As soon as one piece of the story falls into place, we're swept back two days or six weeks to reveal that something else entirely is actually the truth, but then again, maybe that isn't either. Piece by piece things click together until finally the last secret is revealed and we end up, once again, back where we started, at the end of the story.

One downside to the backwards narrative is that it makes it tough to really feel for the characters, as the reader isn't so much on the journey with them, but experiencing events in gradual backwards steps, as told by an extremely unreliable narrator. Genuine Fraud is a difficult novel to explain and, at least at first, a difficult novel to get to grips with, but it's so well written that it doesn't take long for the mysteries of the story to overtake any concerns about the characters. If you're anything like me, you'll be desperate to get to the middle of this complicated maze of lies and half-truths and find out what really happened to Jule and Imogen.

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