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Publisher's Summary

From Taylor Jenkins Reid, "a genius when it comes to stories about life and love" (Redbook), comes an unforgettable and sweeping novel about one classic film actress' relentless rise to the top - the risks she took, the loves she lost, and the long-held secrets the public could never imagine.

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 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 jump-start 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 - 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.

Written with Reid's signature talent for "creating complex, likable characters" (Real Simple), 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.

©2017 Rabbit Reid, Inc. All rights reserved. (P)2017 Simon & Schuster, Inc. All rights reserved.

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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    4 out of 5 stars
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Five Out of Seven Ain't Bad

Evelyn Hugo was a bombshell movie star in the 1950s and 60s whose career as a celebrity carried on past her prime as an actress. An amalgam of real-life stars like Elizabeth Taylor, Rita Hayworth, Marilyn Monroe, and bits of pieces of others, Evelyn Hugo used her physical attributes and street smarts to get to the top, stay on top (mostly), and get back on top when she fell into decline.

A master manipulator who made no bones about it, she knew how to use everyone around her to get her way -- producers, directors, fellow actors, Hollywood media, even neighbors, and most especially her husbands. And to keep her secrets. Even in her last days, in the present day, when she has recused herself from the limelight, Evelyn manipulates the media to reveal her most closely held secrets.

This is without question a fun book. If you like movies, especially the glamorous era in which Evelyn Hugo rose to stardom, this is manna from heaven. You'll be guessing throughout the proceedings as to who Evelyn represents in real life, who the people around her might have been in real life. And you'll even get some thematic depth on a couple of currently relevant topics in addition to the potboiler of a plot.

For me personally, the story faltered slightly in two ways. After a flawless first two-thirds, the last third grew repetitive, as Evelyn started making the same mistakes again. The first four or five husbands were (collectively) a great story, the last couple-three husbands were kind of a shrug. The final reveal perks things up again, but by then the book is just about over.

The other problem is the very thematic depth that makes the book more than just a mindless beach read. In the two main areas of interest (not going to give them away), I was nagged by how Evelyn dealt with them -- one by hiding her her in the sand to protect her career, the other by taking advantage of a situation that many would find heinous to further her fortunes. In addition, there were prominent issues of the era, within the film business and in the world at large, that are virtually ignored.

But that's probably just me -- if you like this kind of thing, you'll love this.

15 of 15 people found this review helpful

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Captured once again

I have to admit that I'm once captured by a Taylor Jenkins Reid books...the story was captivated and real and strong...i wanna to cry for Evelyn, her life and the ones she loves...Is beautifully written and addictive...
The narrative and the narrators are just perfect..

17 of 18 people found this review helpful

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Wonderful Read!!

Very complicated character with many faults & bad traits yet you can't help but love & feel sorry for her at the same time.
Shed a few tears during the course of the story.....
First time I've read this author but not the last!

15 of 17 people found this review helpful

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Taken to Hollywood and never wanted to return!

There aren't words enough to describe how much I loved this audiobook. It hasn't been this difficult for me to put one down in forever, and even as I wasn't listening, I was still thinking of the story and its characters, wondering where it was all leading and what would come next. Alma Cuervo's voice fit perfectly as Evelyn, and as she told the tales of her life, I was enthralled. This book has been the highlight of my reading summer, and I would recommend it to anyone fascinated by Old Hollywood.

13 of 15 people found this review helpful

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    2 out of 5 stars
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Representative of Trendy Writing

I understand that many have been enthralled by this book. I was not one of those people. I found the reading formulaic and in the Gone Girl genre, a sort of 21st century laziness that troubles me. It was very "up to date" in its subject matter. It follows the almost required plot line that new television and movies are gravitating to. The author has wisely gone with this flow for ease of publication. All I can say is this: I recently listened to The Age of Innocence, Rebecca, The Sympathizer, The French Lieutenant's Woman and Atonement, so this probably accounts for my low rating. The lowest I have ever given. I do not recommend this book to those who seek more craft from their authors.

38 of 47 people found this review helpful

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Supreme storyline

The only thing about this book that didn't ring true was the fact it was fiction. It was very interesting from beginning to end. It has a real kicker at the end. You'll never see it coming. It's worth more than one listen.

9 of 11 people found this review helpful

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Uneven but good

This was a slow start, and frantic finish but the majority was even paced and very interesting.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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First book in a long time that I just couldn't put down!!

Wow! Such a nuanced story that kept surprising me until the very end. By the time the book was over, I felt so attached to these characters that I cried.

Found this book by following a narrator I loved from a previous audiobook - Gone Girl narrated by Julia Whelan. I think the great narration was a huge part of why I truly enjoyed listening to this book as well. Might start searching this way from now on!

8 of 10 people found this review helpful

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loved it

I absolutely loved this book!!!. When I wasn't listening to it, I was thinking about it. And when I was listening to it, I never wanted to turn it off. It's a great story about being human and the relationships and choices we encounter throughout life. It is definitely a book based on getting to know the characters very well

11 of 14 people found this review helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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struggled to finish.

it got better as it went along. ended better than I thought it would. a bit predictable / cliche at times.

7 of 9 people found this review helpful

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  • Louise loves books
  • 06-12-18

OMG

This book is incredible and made me cry. A million stars. I will be buying the paperback of this book just so I can read the gorgeous words that Taylor Jenkins Reid wrote. Thank you for creating this book Taylor.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • LWaugh
  • 07-06-17

Brilliantly written and performed

I loved this from beginning to end. Evelyn and Monique are brilliant, very real characters. The book is extremely entertaining while exploring all the complexities involved with being a woman. Highly recommend!

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Maya Connell
  • 09-27-18

I’m in love

I’m in love with this book...
I didn’t realise it was an LGBTQ+ novel before I purchased it, I’m Bisexual myself so identified with a number of points in this book on that topic. I am always in the lookout for more stories which are about more then sex for LGBTQ+ women,so this was a spectacular find. It’s in my top 5 book right now... I really am in love... Thank you, Thank you, to Taylor Jenkins Reid for writing this!!

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  • Emma
  • 09-20-18

Beautiful book

Not what I expected, brilliant, heartfelt, sad, joyous book. Loved it and was sad when it ended. Perfect narration

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Lisa-Marie Harris
  • 08-13-18

A wonderful story

This was an incredible story. A lovely tale of love & loss in Hollywood. Would highly recommend.

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  • M. O'Brien
  • 08-22-18

What a great read

I thoroughly enjoyed this book. I loved the flawed & driven character of Evelyn & it certainly wasn't at all what I expected. Narration of this book was excellent.

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    2 out of 5 stars
  • Anonymous User
  • 01-13-18

Fell short

The core theme of the story isn't mentioned in the blurb so my expectations vs the reality of the book were vastly different. It could have been positioned better as the whole time I was wondering when it would become the book I thought I'd bought. The story was fine but predictable and the key characters unlikable.

0 of 1 people found this review helpful