Book Review: Eve in Hollywood

July 10, 2013 Whitney Review 0 Comments

I received this book for free from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Book Review: Eve in HollywoodEve in Hollywood by Amor Towles
Published by Penguin on June 25, 2013
Genres: General Fiction
Source: Netgalley

Near the end of Amor Towles’s bestselling novel Rules of Civility, the fiercely independent Evelyn Ross boards a train from New York to Chicago to visit her parents, but never disembarks. Six months later, she appears in a photograph in a gossip magazine exiting the Tropicana Club in Los Angeles on the arm of Olivia de Havilland.

In this chain of six richly detailed and atmospheric stories, each told from a different perspective, Towles unfolds the events that take Eve to the heart of Old Hollywood. Beginning in the dining car of the Golden State Limited in September 1938, we follow Eve to the elegant rooms of the Beverly Hills Hotel, the fabled tables of Antonio’s, the amusement parks on the Santa Monica piers, the afro-Cuban dance clubs of Central Avenue, and ultimately the set of Gone with The Wind.

With the glamour and grit of the studio system’s golden age as a backdrop, Towles introduces in each story a memorable new character whose fate may well be altered by their encounter with Eve. In following the thread of these varied encounters, we watch as Eve forges a new and unexpected life for herself in late 1930s Los Angeles.

I first heard about Eve in Hollywood through an ad on Goodreads.  I saw the words “All About Eve” splash across the screen and immediately clicked on it as the 1950s film of the same name is my favorite movie.  I soon found there was no relation to the film but as I scrolled down and I saw Gone with the Wind mentioned, my second favorite movie.  That was when I decided that I had to read Eve in Hollywood.

After reading Eve in Hollywood I realized that while Eve Harrington was not the star of the show, Eve Ross was very similar as these short stories explore the allure she held over others both out and in the business.  However indirectly Eve and her imperfect scar left a mark on those who even fleetingly crossed her path.

Although my favorite paths crossed was that of Olivia de Havilland.  Eve so calm and collected and Olivia ready to jump into the game.  While at the Santa Monica piers the pair came off as carefree, and childlike, discovering the world for the first time.  It was refreshing.  As for Eve’s story, we learn all about Eve.  One would think, that with my love of old Hollywood that her encounter with David O. Selznick would have been my highlight of that short story, yes I did enjoy reading that part but Eve getting coffee at an establishment with percolating steam coming out of it was so vivid and would love to have sat down with a cup and just write in my journal or take in the sights.

Amor Towles created a vivid portrait and was enthused to oversee Eve cross-out her list of fifteen “must sees”.


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