I received this book for free from publisher request pitch in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
Published by Atria Books on June 13th, 2017
Genres: Adult, Contemporary, LGBT, Love & Romance
Source: publisher request pitch
From Taylor Jenkins Reid comes an unforgettable and sweeping novel about one classic film actress’s relentless rise to the top—the risks she took, the loves she lost, and the long-held secrets the public could never imagine.
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 in the journalism community is more astounded than Monique herself. Why her? Why now?
Monique is not exactly on top of the world. Her husband, David, has left her, and her career has stagnated. Regardless of why Evelyn has chosen her to write her biography, Monique is determined to use this opportunity to jumpstart her career.
Summoned to Evelyn’s Upper East Side apartment, Monique listens as Evelyn unfurls her story: from making her way to Los Angeles in the 1950s to her decision to leave show business in the late 80s, and, of course, the seven husbands along the way. As Evelyn’s life unfolds through the decades—revealing a ruthless ambition, an unexpected friendship, and a great forbidden love—Monique begins to feel a very a real connection to the actress. But as Evelyn’s story catches up with the present, it becomes clear that her life intersects with Monique’s own in tragic and irreversible ways.
Filled with emotional insight and written with Reid’s signature talent, this is a fascinating 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 takes—to face the truth.
I’ve read one other book of Taylor Jenkins Reid and I loved it just as much as this. Her writing is absolutely worthy of praise. She brings characters to life. Forms and moulds them into realistic characters that you want to befriend and even root for. Namely Evelyn Hugo, with the looks and figure of Marilyn Monroe with the mysterious life of Elizabeth Taylor, this is the character I imagined her to be. But her honest and in depth life was portrayed so beautifully, I couldn’t help but cry by the end of the book. Evelyn is the most ambitious and tenacious character I have read lately. She’s anything but perfect, and I love how Reid portrayed her. She is wholly vulnerable and strong all at the same time. I think most people reading this will either love or hate her. Maybe even a bit of both. And all the other characters? They hold no candle to what was really going on. There’s something I can’t talk about because it’s a major spoiler but I’m sure anyone can agree the romance is passionate and wild and uninhibited. I loved every single bit of it. All these characters have no shame. They don’t apologize for being exactly who they are, and I found it so new and refreshing.
The only parts that bothered me was how she uses men. I know she would do anything and everything to rise to the top, but it also felt very wrong and unequal for her character to do that. But what do I know? It was set in earlier times. And for a character to be so modern thinking in an era of time that wasn’t? Well it felt off.
I loved reading about how fake everything in Hollywood really was. How everything was controlled by these characters to spin a story. Can’t help but think that they do this in our own society every day.
This was one emotional roller coaster that I couldn’t stop reading! It also pulled me out of my 26 day reading slump! Grab this one if you’re looking for a quick read that will have your heart being pulled (or twisted) into different directions. I’m such a fan of Taylor’s writing now, and I need to read all her previous novels.