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Friday, July 8, 2011

Trance of Insignificance

Trance of Insignificance by Jennifer Rainville
Published by Rainville Books ISBN 978-0-615-46039-0
Trade paperback $16, 230 pages
Jennifer Rainville worked for fifteen years in politics and broadcast journalism, as an aide in the Clinton White House and a local TV news reporter. So it is no surprise that the protagonist of her debut novel, Trance of Insignificance, Jules Duvil, works as a TV reporter for a local New York news channel.

Jules becomes romantically involved with the handsome news anchor, Jack Culligan shortly after beginning her new job, on September 11, 2001. She jumped in with both feet on that fateful day, making a good impression on her boss and quickly learning the news business on a sink-or-swim day. I would have liked to have seen more detail of what Jules saw and did that day, a seminal day for anyone working in news in New York City.

Her romance with Jack is a stormy one; he has problems with monogamy and alcohol. The story jumps forward as Jules is married to nice guy Noah, but Jack's attempts to reinsert himself in Jules' life causes problems in her marriage.

The most interesting part of the novel occurs when Jules returns to her home in South Boston for her estranged father's funeral. This part of the story felt very authentic, as Jules struggles with her ambivalent feelings toward her mother and brother. Jules left Boston as soon as she was able, to escape her past and begin a new life, far away from her dysfunctional family.

Jules tries to hide her past, but her mother-in-law tells her that
"you may think from where you sit that your childhood was a burden. I'm telling you, it was a blessing. It gave you tools and a deep understanding of how to navigate this world. You can't teach that. The only way to learn it, is to go through it."
The book has a little Sex and the City feel to it; Jules spends time with her girlfriends, and there is a lot of label-dropping and fashion and relationship talk among them. There are also many New York geographical references- city dwellers will recognize the hotels, restaurants, streets, and landmarks mentioned throughout the book.

Jules leaves news gathering and ends up working as a public relations advisor, with one of her clients being the mayor of New York, a friend of hers. There is the beginning of an interesting scandal there, but that is not explored much before the end of the book.

Jules also writes a novel, a roman-a-clef about her time at the news station and her affair with Jack. The end of the novel has Jules torn between her husband, Jack and maybe a new man, one better suited to her.

The character of Jules is a complex one, one who makes some puzzling decisions. Those decisions made it difficult for me to identify with her, but I think many other readers will. I would say it's a good beachy-type read, with Jules' exploration of her past bringing it a notch above the standard Sex and the City-type books.

rating 3.5 of 5 stars


  1. Beachy can be very good! I'm going to look for this one!

  2. I have this one to read so I am glad to see you liked it. Did you read the story on the author's website about her attempts to get published? It really inspired me to read her book!

  3. I did not read her website yet- I will check it out!