An aging starlet with seven marriages behind her generously offers the rights to her memoir to an inexperienced writer—at a heartbreaking cost. Monique Grant is stunned when Hollywood legend Evelyn Hugo grants an exclusive interview to her over more seasoned journalists, but when she's also chosen to publish Evelyn's final confessions after her death, she learns that the 79-year-old actress has enough life experience for them both. Growing up poor in Hell's Kitchen, young Evelyn Herrera trades her virginity for a ride to Hollywood, changes her name, and climbs the rungs of the entertainment-industry ladder one husband at a time until she hits Oscar gold. To write her off as being calculating and fickle would leave out the difficulty of being a woman, especially a woman of color, trying to get by in the late 1950s without a man's blessing. Evelyn plays up her bombshell figure and hides her Cuban roots by dying her hair blonde—the first of many lies she'll have to te ll over the course of her life to prove to the world that she deserves her place in the spotlight. She's unapologetically ambitious but not without remorse. Which of her seven husbands was her true love? Why did she choose Monique to tell her story? Evelyn recounts her failures and triumphs in chronological order, one husband at a time, with a few breaks for Monique to report back to her editor. The celebrity tell-all style is a departure from Reid's (One True Loves, 2016, etc.) previous books, but Evelyn Hugo is a character who can demand top billing. When asked if it bothers her that "all anyone talks about when they talk about you are the seven husbands of Evelyn Hugo," she says no: "Because they are just husbands. I am Evelyn Hugo." Reid's heroine reveals her darkest secrets as if she were wiping off makeup at the end of the night—a celebration of human frailty that speaks to the Marilyn Monroe and Elizabeth Taylor in us all. Copyright Kirkus 2017 Kirkus/BPI Communications. All rights reserved.
Reid (One True Loves, 2016) knows how to tug at heart strings with unusual tales of finding real and lasting love. Here she goes in a different direction, evoking emotion in all new ways. Former Hollywood A-lister Evelyn Hugo is finally going public with the story of her seven husbands, ready to reveal the love of her life, so she calls in journalist Monique Grant to write her coveted biography. Stunned and thrilled to be given such a big project, Monique begins recording Evelyn’s secrets, but she soon wonders if Evelyn’s past comes closer to her own than she’d realized, and the reveal of Evelyn’s great love may not be Evelyn’s only surprise. Much of the novel is in Evelyn’s voice, narrating her story to Monique with inflection and dialogue in a way that doesn’t feel quite realistic. Yet this is a minor flaw when the reader is so captivated by old Hollywood glamour, intriguing and complex characters, and Reid’s unsurpassed ability to leave her audience reaching for a hankie. An utterly unique take on what truly makes a family. Copyright 2018 Booklist Reviews.
Adored movie icon Evelyn Hugo is finally ready to tell her story, and does she have a story to tell. Born to Cuban immigrants in New York's Hell's Kitchen neighborhood, Evelyn remade herself into a classic Hollywood beauty, marrying seven men along the way. First there was Eddie, the man who brought her to Los Angeles; then there was Don, an abuser; then Mick; and then Rex—but everyone knows that the true love of her life was Harry Cameron, who had been with her through thick and thin. But as Monique, her biographer, uncovers more of her past, she finds that the heart of Evelyn's love life doesn't involve men at all. Willing to use her looks and her body to advance her career, Evelyn may know that some of her actions were wrong, but she doesn't feel any guilt for her past. VERDICT Jenkins (One True Loves) has crafted another tale sure to appeal to fans of women's fiction, Susan Meissner, and Beatriz Williams.—Jennifer Mills, Shorewood-Troy Lib., IL Copyright 2017 Library Journal.