Chapter 47 

John dies of a heart attack, and Harry is wracked with grief. He starts drinking and stays in bed. Evelyn, Harry, Connor, and Celia attend the funeral. Evelyn is aware that Harry is more grief-stricken than makes sense to the public given that the world thinks John was just his friend. At the funeral, Celia and Evelyn do not speak. Connor recognizes Celia, not from real life, but from watching her play Beth in Little Women. Evelyn says her family had truly disintegrated. 

Celia St. James and Joan Marker, Best of Friends 

This 1980 article in Now This says that Celia has been spending a lot of time with another actress, Joan Marker. 

Chapter 48 

The only things that help Harry out of his grief are Connor and work, so Evelyn finds a film for them to work on together—Max’s All for Us. Harry and Evelyn both finally win Oscars for their work on All for Us. Max also wins an Oscar for Best Director. Evelyn alludes to Celia in her acceptance speech to show Celia that she still loves her.  

Chapter 49 

After celebrating their Oscar wins, Max asks Evelyn to go get hamburgers with him. They go to Jack in the Box and when the limo can’t fit through the drive-through, they go inside. As they order, Evelyn is mobbed by fans who are shocked to see a Hollywood star, dressed in a ballgown, inside a fast-food restaurant. Max saves her from the throng of fans. He picks her up and carries her back to the limo. Max kisses her and confesses that he loves her. Evelyn is happy to feel someone desiring her after so long. The next morning, Max sends her two dozen roses and a marriage proposal. 

Chapter 50 

Back at the interview, Evelyn stops the conversation for the evening. Monique has missed calls from her mom, Frankie, and David. David’s voicemail says that he is at her apartment. Monique is shocked. When she gets home, David tries to reunite with her, suggesting they were rash and that they don’t have to split up just because they live in different states. Monique realizes that she wants the divorce, thinking of Evelyn’s distinction between the feeling of heartbreak and the feeling of failure in a marriage ending. Though Monique feels like she failed, she realizes she doesn’t have a reason to fight for her marriage. She wants a love like Evelyn and Celia have. David leaves.  

The next morning, Monique and Evelyn schedule the photoshoot with Frankie, and Evelyn says they will be done with their interview before the shoot in three days. 

Chapter 51 

Harry and Evelyn discuss Max’s proposal, and Harry says that it makes sense for them to get a divorce if Evelyn wants to marry Max. Harry says nothing between them has to change, though he is always proud to call her his wife. When Evelyn talks to Max, he says she’s loved her for years and can’t get over it. He says that the creative connection they have is erotic. Evelyn feels attracted to him and they sleep together. Evelyn is relieved to feel wanted again and agrees to marry Max.  


Evelyn’s Oscar symbolizes the heights and limits of her star power. Throughout the novel, Evelyn has sought an Oscar. She sees it as a symbol of respect for her craft. She is snubbed repeatedly, largely because the Academy looks down on her on-screen sexuality and her off-screen romances. Though considered a shoo-in for her role in Little Women, Evelyn didn’t win because Don conspired to get her blackballed in Hollywood for divorcing him. When she loses for Anna Karenina, Evelyn believes it’s because she’s considered beautiful without substance. What’s more, the roles she’s nominated for all depict unconventional women who eschew conventional morals. For example, in Little Women, the character of Jo is more focused on her career than romance or starting a family. In both Anna Karenina and Carolina Sunset, Evelyn plays adulterers. When Evelyn does win an Oscar, it is for playing the role of a devoted mother focused on supporting her children. This is in keeping with stereotypical ideas of womanhood. While the Oscar win is a moment of triumph for Evelyn and proof that she’s earned respect as a serious actress, it also illustrates that Evelyn is only rewarded by the Hollywood establishment for playing by its gendered rules. 

The beginning of Max and Evelyn’s romance at Jack in the Box foreshadows the true nature of their marriage. Whenever Evelyn is confronted by fans in public, she denies that she is Evelyn Hugo. She treats this move as a lark, a game she plays with fans, but it also hints at the ways that the Evelyn Hugo that the fans see is not who Evelyn truly is. At Jack in the Box, Evelyn denies that she is Evelyn. This line usually works, but instead of demurring, the fans charge her undeterred by her brush-off. In a move that both saves her and objectifies her, Max throws Evelyn over his shoulders as one might a child or luggage and places her into the limo. It is a false Evelyn that Max confesses his love to, and that same Evelyn appeals to fans. She was created by false stories fed to the media, and the mob of burger-eaters treats her like “a caged animal.” This suggests that Max is in love with an image of Evelyn rather than the woman she truly is. 

Through Evelyn’s story, Monique learns to be more confident in hefself and to actively seek what she truly wants in life. At the beginning of the novel, Monique is confused about her separation from her husband. She is unclear if he left her or if she let him go. When she finally sees David, she sees their love story through the lens of Evelyn’s life story. She in turn learns from the times when Evelyn lost herself or let herself be mistreated in her relationships. In the same way that Evelyn spent her life hiding who she truly was, Monique sees clearly that she has also lied to herself and let herself be in a relationship where she was settling for less than she deserved. Reflecting on Evelyn’s distinction between heartbreak and failure, Monique understands what she wants out of her marriage. She strives for a love more like Evelyn and Celia’s and is willing to make sacrifices to get it.