This is a book which surprised me.
I was expecting a lurid tale of glamorous people in old Hollywood. You know the kind of thing: sex, betrayal, drug abuse and maybe an untimely death or two. Okay, a lot of that is in here, but what I actually took away was a touching love story. There’s a real heart to this novel, one that loves its central characters and as such tells a story which isn’t just about film stars behaving badly, but instead seemingly real people and a distinctly real feeling relationship.
Obviously owing a debt to VALLEY OF THE DOLLS (which really is a book about film stars behaving badly), we follow ultra-gorgeous actress Evelyn Hugo as she makes her way from Hell’s Kitchen hopeful to one of the world’s most beloved and sought after stars, while at the same time working her way through a Liz Taylor-eqsue seven husbands. But who is the real love of her life?
If I have a criticism, it’s that this book doesn’t feel like it belongs to real Hollywood. All the movie stars at its centre are fake movie stars, which given its fiction is understandable, but all the people they bump into are fake movie stars as well. There is virtually no reference to the real contemporaries a character that Evelyn would have had. No passing allusions to a Monroe or a Hepburn. As such it feels like it takes place in a parallel universe, one with a completely different set of stars, and because of that it lacks a certain tactility.
But I forgive it that as its heart is in the right place and its love story rings true and in the end it’s hard not to be moved by it.
My debut novel, THE WANNABES – which has been out of print for a little while – is now available for free. A supernatural thriller of beautiful actresses and deadly ambition in London town, it’s well worth your time. You can get your copy here!