Regular price: £18.49

Membership details Membership details
  • A 30-day trial plus your first audiobook, free
  • 1 credit/month after trial – choose any book, any price
  • Easy exchanges – swap any book you don’t love
  • Keep your audiobooks, even if you cancel
  • Free, unlimited access to Audio Shows
  • After your trial, Audible is just £7.99/month
OR
In Basket

Summary

This wickedly candid memoir that Ava Gardner dared not publish during her lifetime offers a revealing self-portrait of the film legend's life and loves in Hollywood's golden age.

Ava Gardner was one of Hollywood's great stars during the 1940s and '50s, an Oscar-nominated leading lady who co-starred with Clark Gable, Burt Lancaster, and Humphrey Bogart, among others.

But this riveting account of her storied life and career had to wait for publication until after her death, so concerned was Gardner with its frankness. 'I either write the book or sell the jewels,' Gardner told co-author Peter Evans, 'and I'm kinda sentimental about the jewels.'

The legendary actress serves up plenty of gems in these pages, reflecting with delicious humour and cutting wit on a life that took her from an impoverished childhood in North Carolina to the heights of stardom.

Get ready for the most revealing Hollywood autobiography in decades.

©2013 Peter Evans and Ava Gardner (P)2014 Audible, Inc

More from the same

What members say

Average customer ratings

Overall

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    20
  • 4 Stars
    12
  • 3 Stars
    10
  • 2 Stars
    4
  • 1 Stars
    3

Performance

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    22
  • 4 Stars
    11
  • 3 Stars
    7
  • 2 Stars
    4
  • 1 Stars
    2

Story

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    20
  • 4 Stars
    13
  • 3 Stars
    7
  • 2 Stars
    4
  • 1 Stars
    3
Sort by:
  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Totally absorbing, fascinating and all consuming!

Buy this book! It is written and performed in such a unique way that creates a feeling of being there with Ava and Peter, her writer and soaking up all of her riveting and incredibly revealing recollections. I felt a sense of loss when the book abruptly seemed to come to an end, but the circumstances dictated the ending and any other finish would have affected its honesty. Fascinating from start to finish with no dips in delivery or content!

8 of 8 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • James
  • Bath, United Kingdom
  • 18-07-13

cigarettes and alcohol!


A complex and really interesting woman, this is an eye opening audiobook, beautifully read by William Hope, this is as much a description of the relationship between her and the ghost writer as about Ava Gardner which is what makes it so different. Highly recommended!

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars
  • alan
  • Canvey Island, United Kingdom
  • 22-05-14

So disappointing

I really expected more from this book.
It was disappointingly shallow and the narrator didn't do it any favours either with his awful rendition of an american accent - I abandoned listening to it about half way through.
One to miss I think!

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Sandor
  • banbury, oxon, United Kingdom
  • 31-01-14

If you love the golden age of the movies it's for

Any additional comments?

If you love the inside stories of the great Hollywood stars as close as possibly from their own mouths, this is for you. The writer spent hours talking to Ava and making copious notes and this is basically the transcript of his notes. Unfortunately the narrator tries to do an Ava voice, which isn't a bit like Ava's ( or any womans) voice, this gets annoying. I put up with this and enjoyed the insider view of the golden age of Hollywood, but if you're not that into that era it's not going to interest you at all.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    1 out of 5 stars
  • irene
  • Fermanagh
  • 14-08-13

Unadulterated rubbish

What would have made Ava Gardner: The Secret Conversations better?

The narrator not trying to mimic her voice

Would you ever listen to anything by Peter Evans and Ava Gardner again?

I have read other works by Peter Evans - this one doesn't leave up to his previous books

What didn’t you like about William Hope’s performance?

Overall it really wasn't William Hope's performance but the content of the book that was so disappointing and lacking in all that makes for a good biography

What reaction did this book spark in you? Anger, sadness, disappointment?

Disappointment

Any additional comments?

Don't waste your money on this nonsense.

3 of 4 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

A lovely insight

I wish the book he was originally writing was completed. The conversations were interesting but I felt it lacked something. It conveyed Ava's personality, and showed she was ahead of her time. She was brash, funny and shocking at times.

I read this after hearing that Taylor Swift's 'Wildest Dreams' music video character was based on Ava Gardner

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Fabulous

as fabulous as the lady herself , the so called star's of today don't compare .

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Authentic

I recommend this as authentic and genuine personality description.I emjoyed the conversations a lot.Sometims there is a repetitoon of i said..she said...but not botheri g in the whole.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars

Enjoyable

It's a fascinating period of time and makes me want to listen to other biographies from stars of the silver screen.
Easy to listen to.
Enjoyed it.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

What a character!!

I have enjoyed this book enormously and have read sections twice. Peter Evans has been very sympathetic to Ava Gardner and things that might have been to embarrassing are reduced or cut short ( but this is purely my opinion). I'm certain that there are things in the book that people don't know about A.G But still a very sympathetic look at a great movie star.

Sort by:
  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Baloo
  • 23-09-13

Ava and Author Joust

Any additional comments?

The book is really more of a book about the interviewing of Ava Gardner, than it is a book about Ava Gardner herself. The author's approach is to recount in dialog the series of interviews he did with Ava, before she called the whole thing off (presumably under the direction and money of Frank.) The content is not as candid as it proclaims, but there is enough Hollywood dirt to have made it interesting. Also, you learn about early Hollywood and country girl Ava.

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    1 out of 5 stars
  • CanyonCat
  • 19-10-13

Secret and Unapproved

Any additional comments?

At the end of the book we find out that Ava worked with Peter Evans on her memoirs but backed out on the book when she learned that Frank Sinatra had sued Evans sometime before Ava hired Evans and Evans had not told her. After Evans death, people worked with his notes and put together this book. This rather explains why half the book is Evans 'complaining' about Ava calling him at 3 am and their arguing about including her cuss words. Evans has a whining tone and Ava appears careful. This book is probably unfair to them both. A bit later, Ava wrote her own book "Ava, My Story" and it is immensely better. Her own book has lots of color about Hollywood and its stars and moguls and delightful color about herself, written by her and including chapters by some of the people around her. Just to mention one big difference: in the Evans books, Evans has Ava declare she only slept with the Spanish matador once. In her own book, Ava relates a detailed love affair. Also, there is very little in the Evans book about Sinatra but a lot in Ava's book. By the way, she loved all her husbands.

7 of 8 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars
  • M. Graham
  • 17-11-15

Interesting, but one-note narration

What did you love best about Ava Gardner: The Secret Conversations?

Ava! Love her conversations and monologues!

Did William Hope do a good job differentiating all the characters? How?

No. His worst offense, however, was making Ava sound like a falling-down drunk in EVERY line she spoke. Even if she had been drunk in all of her conversations with the author, it gets irritating and boring listening to a character who NEVER varies her pace and slurs every sentence. She sounds, in this version, like a man in drag. That gets old fast. It also is vaguely misogynistic.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Nicola Read
  • 17-05-14

A book about an Interview!

Is there anything you would change about this book?

It's just too long and dull. I was hoping for an interesting biography about this fascinating woman, but after 4 hours I gave up.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Stevo
  • 22-06-18

Ava looks back at the difficult parts of her life

When we meet Ava Gardner in this book, she is 65 years old, a stroke has taken the movement of her left arm and robbed her face of her beauty. She is alone in London, without friends and family. She is sick, and in her own words she had 'made a f*#&g mess of her life'. She is also broke and selling her biography reluctantly for the money. Rock bottom.

The book is set both in the current day of 1984 or so with the opportunistic ghost writer trying to cajole her into spilling the most salacious details of her life and marriages in order to sell books, and the her story from the 30's, 40's, 50's as told by Ava Gardner. Both strands are interesting.

As Ava Gardner tells her story we realize she started with nothing beyond her sexual desirability. She could not even speak, her southern drawl was so strong. With only that as a lure, she moved through her life. Now, after her stroke, alone and without her looks, she had a lifetimes worth of manipulative tricks to play cat and mouse with our ghost writer. You get the feeling she enjoys the company, the intimacy and the games.

She had a fascinating life that included 3 marriages and numerous affairs. Why they failed, how she feels about the failures and how she justifies the failures to herself in order to go on living is the secret sauce that the ghost writer is trying to get to. And she was loathe to give it up, and even having to go back to revisit it to tell her story was painful for her.

Ava Gardner will remember her life the way she wants to. But as you listen to her, in her unguarded moments you can see though the cracks of the surface stories to the truth that is beneath. The writer does not spell it out to you, he leaves you to discover it for yourself.

It is a clever book, and a well painted portrait of a really interesting character, and a wonderful woman.

The narrator was outstanding on this audiobook. The voice of Peter, the ghost writer is in his natural British accent. The voice of Ava is done in an American accent. Since Ava Gardner had smoked 60 cigarettes a day for 45 years at this point, the smoking surely being largely responsible for her strokes and her emphysema, a coquettish male voice with a Southern drawl lulls you into believing you are listening to the actual voice of Ava Gardner. It is quite a remarkable performance.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Freeman
  • 09-06-18

Fantastic. I loved it.

So real you think your sitting with Ava and Peter. A must read from the real Hollywood glam era

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Leahmgordon
  • 01-08-17

fascinating, gossipy Hollywood history.

this book is not what you expect. I hate to express too much for fear of giving away the twist at the end... But it is a biography you will not soon forget because of the awesomeness of the subject and the humanity of the writer.

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Heather Erwine
  • 28-11-16

Interesting story of a beautiful woman

I loved the way this story was written and told. It was humorous and full of interesting stories about Ava. I learned a lot about her life and felt like I was right there beside her listening to her talk.

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Xcelle
  • 18-09-16

Riveting!!

I watched so many of her movies growing up and always thought she was beautiful. To hear her recall and relate some of her personal life experiences and the men she had been involved with were fascinating to me. I gave the book 4 stars because I believe she held back. It's too bad at the end what happened to them both, we could have hoped for a sequel.

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Stefanie
  • 18-08-15

Unforgettable gal!

A unique approach. You feel like you are eavesdropping on a conversation. Genuinely Ava Gardner