Read: July 2017
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.
When I had heard Taylor Jenkins Reid was releasing a new book, I was excited. I had devoured and loved all four of her other books and had really high hopes for her upcoming release. And then I saw the title and was a little confused. Was this going to be a departure from her style of writing that I’ve come to love? I was intrigued but not overly impressed and figured all I had to do was dive in and read it to see if it lived up to the author I love.
And it was great! I wouldn’t say that it was her best book, but she writes in such a way that you’re immediately drawn in and you get those mysteries of the past intermingled with the mysteries of the present and that leaves you with a book that’s hard to put down. I loved hearing about Evelyn’s past and why she had seven husbands, learning about her career and how she got to where she was. I also loved Monique dealing with her present and learning to take a page from Evelyn’s book when it comes to dealing with her issues. I kind of wish we had gotten to know Monique a bit more, as Evelyn was a bit of a hard character to really connect to, but I did love the story how it was drawn out.
I’ll admit, I didn’t see the whole mystery of the story coming, but I knew it had to be big. I’m sure some people could have predicted what was going to happen, but I’m glad that I didn’t. It was definitely something that lived up to all of the shocking cliffhangers throughout the story. I think the only real reason I would rate this as a 4 instead of a 5 is that I didn’t find that I connected with any of the characters in the book, finding Evelyn a pretty hard character to actually like, and I wanted more present. It’s still written similar to Taylor’s other books, where we get two alternate timelines, but there was just something that wasn’t quite like her other addicting reads. I’m still definitely interested to see what she writes next!