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.
This is a book I have literally seen EVERYWHERE and have been meaning to read for ages (I know I’m very late to this party!) so when it came up as a pick for one of the book clubs I’m part of, I was really excited to read finally read it. And I have to say, it did not disappoint!
This novel is SO readable. That’s no surprise, as it’s written by the queen of readable fiction that you just want to rip through without stopping. We follow reporter Monique as she is requested for an interview/ feature by Evelyn Hugo, an incredibly famous actress from the 1950s-80s. Through Monique’s chats with Evelyn, we learn about Evelyn’s life told through chapters each focusing on a different husband (she had 7 in total!)
The book explores various themes including domestic abuse, LGBTQ+ rights and relationships, family issues and much more. It also includes characters from a wide range of backgrounds, and none of the characters feel 2 dimensional or unbelievable – I may not have been alive during the time that most of the novel is set in, but I can still imagine them as real people!
Monique is very likeable whilst Evelyn is… a very complicated character! I really liked what she stood for but I did think she was a bit ruthless at times. But equally, I got why she was like that. There are some tricky parts to read and some parts felt a little rushed, but then again we’re covering many decades. There’s also a slight element of mystery running throughout it which is hinted at, and I really enjoyed that.
I got through this book so quickly. It’s the perfect summer/ holiday (or any time of year) read and I’d definitely recommend it!