ABOUT THE BOOK:
Aging and reclusive Hollywood movie icon Evelyn Hugo is finally ready to tell the truth about her glamorous and scandalous life. But when she chooses unknown magazine reporter Monique Grant for the job, no one is more astounded than Monique herself. Why her? Why now?
Monique is not exactly on top of the world. Her husband has left her, and her professional life is going nowhere. Regardless of why Evelyn has selected her to write her biography, Monique is determined to use this opportunity to jumpstart her career.
Summoned to Evelyn’s luxurious apartment, Monique listens in fascination as the actress tells her story. From making her way to Los Angeles in the 1950s to her decision to leave show business in the ’80s, and, of course, the seven husbands along the way, Evelyn unspools a tale of ruthless ambition, unexpected friendship, and a great forbidden love. Monique begins to feel a very real connection to the legendary star, but as Evelyn’s story near its conclusion, it becomes clear that her life intersects with Monique’s own in tragic and irreversible ways.
Written with Reid’s signature talent for creating “complex, likable characters” (Real Simple), this is a mesmerizing journey through the splendor of old Hollywood into the harsh realities of the present day as two women struggle with what it means—and what it costs—to face the truth.
“People think that intimacy is about sex. But intimacy is about truth. When you realize you can tell someone your truth, when you can show yourself to them, when you stand in front of them bare and their response is ‘you’re safe with me’- that’s intimacy.”
Absolutely speechless. There are not enough stars for this heartbreaking, stunning and powerful story! The story is a tour de force about Hollywood, race and the staggering price of fame.
I have been sitting on this review for a while and finally felt enough distance from this story to write down my thoughts. I had this book on my Kindle FOREVER and for some reason, just ignored it. And now it has turned into one of my all-time favorites. (If you are an audio book lover, I highly recommend the audio, the narrators are SPECTACULAR.)
The book begins with Monique, whose husband has left her and who has been struggling a bit with her journalism career. At first I could not fit the pieces together as to why Evelyn, a world-renowned, reclusive movie star would single out Monique to write her no-holds-barred biography. But the pieces fit together perfectly and I urge every reader to stick with this book! It is well worth it.
I absolutely adore Hollywood stories – fiction and non-fiction – so I was enchanted by Evelyn’s story. She literally narrates the Golden Age of Hollywood, from the days of contract players to modern-day Hollywood. There are pieces of Elizabeth Taylor, Great Garbo, Rita Hayworth and Doris Day mixed in here and the characters are vivid and real. And Evelyn, the center of the story, was a woman ahead of her time. And she paid the price for her independent streak and her brains.
“I am under no obligation to make sense to you,” Evelyn said.
Evelyn marries a series of men but each one never held her heart. That person is best left for the reader to discover, as I did, never having read a spoiler-ish review. Some of her husbands were friends, some were lovers, and some were simply for good press. It made me wonder how many Hollywood actresses in the past were victims of the studio system and their ironclad control over their actors?
“It’s always been fascinating to me how things can be simultaneously true and false, how people can be good and bad all in one, how someone can love you in a way that is beautifully selfless while serving themselves ruthlessly.”
This book perfectly zeroes in on the price of fame. It is truly an epic book, spanning several decades and examining the changing morals of Hollywood. Evelyn sacrificed so much on her climb to the top but really all she wanted was to do good work. She was sometimes ruthless but would have given it all up for her one true love.
“She always made sure the bad was outweighed by so much good. I…well, I didn’t do that for her. I made it fifty-fifty. Which is about the cruelest thing you can do to someone you love, give them just enough good to make them stick through a hell of a lot of bad.”
This book has a whopper of a twist and it made all the pieces of the story come together perfectly. The author writes with real emotion and honesty and it shows. Don’t miss this one. It is a must-read. I will never forget Evelyn Hugo and these characters.
“Never let anyone make you feel ordinary.”