Real-world celebrity gossip pales in comparison to the glamorous life—and loves—of the silver screen star Evelyn Hugo.
Why I love it
On an average day, I don’t really care what’s going on with, say, Brangelina or Kimye, but, if it’s a slow work day, or I’m on vacation, or at the airport, or it’s Saturday, or Twitter hit me with just the right clickbait: I might. On a scale of "Who’s-Selena-Gomez" to "TMZ-Should-Employ-Me," I’m somewhere around "I’ll-Definitely-Binge-Watch-True-Hollywood-Story-When-Hungover."
Here’s the point: Celeb culture isn’t my main thing, so this book isn’t my usual read, but I’m so glad it caught my attention. This fictional celebrity gossip account reads like the real deal, and breathes life into a type of behind-the-scenes story of a Hollywood "It Girl" we mortals may never otherwise have access to.
Evelyn Hugo, née Herrera, is an Elizabeth Taylor-esque starlet. When we meet her, she’s an Oscar-winning former screen queen who’s now 79, six times divorced, and widowed from her seventh marriage. Her adult daughter recently passed away from breast cancer and everyone else who was close to her is gone, so she’s ready to write, or at least narrate, a take-no-prisoners tell-all to set her own record straight. Evelyn seeks out a young, unknown writer named Monique, and gives her the biggest scoop she could imagine.
Evelyn is a force of nature, from her arrival in Hollywood, through backlashes for her career choices, to her relationship with the paparazzi (at times hilarious), and of course all those marriages. Evelyn was mean, she was calculating, she used people. She was also passionate, ambitious, sexy, and sensual. How she got to the top may make her seem unlikable, but the essential parts of her she’s had to hide to get there undercut much of what villainizes her. She’s the perfect "unlikable yet likable" character.
The questions of "Why choose Monique?" and "Why tell her story now?" and "Why dredge up the past?" are slowly revealed throughout the narrative, as we learn about both the glamour and heartache from Evelyn’s salad days. Each marriage is more than meets the eye, and, amazingly, they’re never dull. I would think by marriage four or five I’d be over it, but what motivates Evelyn is ultimately a lifelong love so passionate that it’s sure to surprise her adoring fans (and readers as well!).
Whether you end up liking Evelyn or not, or think she could’ve done it all another way, her story is addictive. Forget your magazines and Twitter updates—this is the breathtaking historical fiction, celeb gossip beach read you’ve been looking for.
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 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—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, 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.
Read a sample →
Historical Fiction • Celeb Drama • Romantic Suspense • Twists & Turns • Juicy AF • Mock- Marilyn Monroe • Hollywood Glitz & Glamor • Fem Grit • Fully Realized/Personal Characters • Multiple Viewpoints
As a huge fan of vintage Hollywood I went into the book knowing I would like it, not realizing I would fall in love with the female lead & complicated issues that haunted her. Read now! ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
Las Vegas, NV
I typically read murder/mystery books and this is the second book I’ve read by this author and I’m blown away. I love being taken into a journey and feeling apart of that characters life. ❤️❤️❤️❤️
Easily one of the best books I have ever read. If I wasn’t read it, I was thinking about it. I read the description a ton of times & didn’t think it was “for me” but I’m so mad I took so long to read!
West Seneca, NY
I’m not usually in love with a book. I’m in love with this book. The characters, the story, the feels. OMG THE FEELS. I don’t know why I didn’t read this sooner. If you haven’t read this do it ASAP!
Trabuco Canyon, CA
I both loved & disliked this book immenselyâ€”but that's indicative of the story itself: There's no middle ground emotionally. The editing could have been tighter, but I nonetheless recommend the book.
Pleasant Grove , UT
TJR has a gift for creating complex, intertwined casts of characters that all feel incredibly real. The nuance of bisexuality was handled so beautifully, I underlined several paragraphs. ????????????????????
Evelyn Hugo’s life keeps you wanting, asking, reading more. She had the kind of life we all expect out of a 1940’s movie star. It would’ve been an amazing book even without the surprise, twist ending.
Loved Evelyn’s story! Glad Monique’s was minimal but I understand the role in the book. That being said, I didn’t see the twist coming. I thought it was a true surprise how their stories interwined.
College Station, TX
Evelyn is unrepentantly flawed, and it’s exciting to read her story. I appreciated the tabloids next to Evelyn’s narrative, as well as insight on the challenges faced by LGBTQ+ stars from the 50s-80s.
I told my husband that even if I love a book there is always something about it that I don’t like. This book is the exception. The characters are flawed, but real and you can’t help but root for them.
Monterey Park, CA
Huge plot twist at the end ! Was not expecting that. I fell in love with evelyns character but not so much towards the middle of the book. Finished this book in only 3 days! Could not out it down. 5⭐️
Fayetteville , AR
Definitely not my usual genre but I became obsessed with Evelyn and her turmultous life story. There was a side story with the character interviewing “Evelyn” but I feel that got in the way. 4/5 stars
A very well written story that grabbed my attention from page 1 and kept it right through the end. I didn’t agree with Evelyn Hugo‘s decisions and life but could not help but really like her-Strange.
I couldn’t put this book down! Evelyn is such a strong female lead! This book shows that nothing is black and white. It’s a powerful book, that talks about important social issues and untold Hollywood
I wasn’t expecting to love the story of Evelyn Hugo as much as I did. What a beautiful, devastating book. She’s not even a real person, yet I have so many feelings about her fictional life. Must read!
Des Moines, WA
Dynamic characters and a story that leaves you dying to know what happens next! Offers an insightful look into the struggles of the LGBQT community from the 50’s to 80’s. Fall in love with Evelyn Hugo
This book is the “real” story behind the tabloid vignettes of fictional, flawed celebrities. It was a quick and fun read, and I liked how it incorporated LGBTQ+ issues in a thoughtful and careful way.
Ashland , OH
WOW! What an incredible story of love and redemption and scandal in Hollywood. I devoured this book and the only thing I’m mad about is how long it took me to pick it up! ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
I can’t possibly describe how much I LOVED this book in 200 letters. Passionate, unapologetic, and glamorous — I couldn’t put this book down! This love story sticks with you long after you finish.