I’ve taken a while to get to this one despite the hype. I adored Daisy Jones and the Six by the same author and after reading this one, I will have to hunt for more of this author’s work, because her books are just so damn good.
The novel follows the life of Evelyn Hugo, a glamorous movie star who rose to fame in the 1950s and 1960s. Evelyn, now in her seventies and has decided to give a tell-all interview to an unknown journalist named Monique Grant. As the two women sit down for the interview, Evelyn begins to reveal the secrets of her past, including her seven marriages, her rise to fame, and the tragedies that have shaped her life. You almost believe she’s a real person but of course it is fiction.
It’s an epic journey through each stage of her life from her early days and her rise to fame. As we progress through the story, we discover that her life is not as it may seem. Secrets are kept hidden and lives fabricated into something entirely different in order to feed the publicity machine for the tabloids and fans. The author gives us an insight into the inner workings of Hollywood and the sacrifices made by actors. It reminded me very much of the lives such as Rock Hudson and Judy Garland both stories hidden from the public.
What makes this story so compelling is the character of Evelyn herself. She is not always a likeable character, but you can’t help but feel sorry for her. She is the product of Hollywood and can never be her true self. Her struggle with this makes you cheer her on while understanding the choices she has made. There’s a nice twist towards the end which I guessed.
Overall, it is a beautifully written novel that is both entertaining and thought-provoking, with well drawn characters. It’s a story that stays with you long after you’ve finished. I was hooked entirely. Try this one which would be especially good as a holiday read.