THE SEVEN HUSBANDS OF EVELYN HUGO
Written by Taylor Jenkins Reid
Published by Simon & Schuster Canada, June 13, 2017
My star rating: 5 stars
Evelyn Hugo is finally ready to tell the truth about her glamorous and scandalous life. But when she chooses unknown magazine reporter Monique Grant for the job, no one in the journalism community is more astounded than Monique herself. Why her? Why now?
Monique is not exactly on top of the world. Her husband, David, has left her, and her career has stagnated. Regardless of why Evelyn has chosen her to write her biography, Monique is determined to use this opportunity to jumpstart her career.
Summoned to Evelyn’s Upper East Side apartment, Monique listens as Evelyn unfurls her story: from making her way to Los Angeles in the 1950s to her decision to leave show business in the late 80s, and, of course, the seven husbands along the way. As Evelyn’s life unfolds through the decades—revealing a ruthless ambition, an unexpected friendship, and a great forbidden love—Monique begins to feel a very a real connection to the actress. But as Evelyn’s story catches up with the present, it becomes clear that her life intersects with Monique’s own in tragic and irreversible ways. Find it on Goodreads
You’ve heard it a million times by now – “Never judge a book by its cover” – consider it lesson learned yet again! I never planned on reading this book. I hated the cover and the life of a Hollywood star didn’t interest me at all. But when the reviews started coming in and they were GLOWING, I started to chance my mind. I saw it on the shelf with a 40% off sticker so I decided to take the plunge. I’m so glad I did!
Evelyn as a character absolutely surprised me. I’m not a fan of Hollywood drama, at all! I find that most books written about stars gives us a shallow, one sided, self centred jerk as a character. This isn’t Evelyn Hugo. She was brilliant! She came from nothing and used her talent (both in skill and body), and she used people to get to where she wanted to be. She wasn’t afraid to push boundaries, she was brutally honest yet careful not to hurt others, and she was a genius with keeping her name in the spotlight. I was hooked! I wanted to know more about her, her brilliant mind, what brought her to her next husband then tore them apart. But the most amazing thing about all of this was how unmovable she was. She married 7 men, experienced heartbreak, motherhood, hard work and more, but she never wavered. She knew exactly who she was and never changed for anyone. Her confidence and self awareness jumped off the page. Evelyn Hugo was wonderful!
The relationships Evelyn had were so much more complex than her just not being able to keep a husband. Some she married for love, some she married out of calculation for her career, some she married to help and be with others. Like I said – it was all just so very complex! There were a few articles sprinkled throughout the book that gave insight as to what Hollywood took from all of this, but her life on the inside was so very different from what she let Hollywood see. But the lines were so blurred when you’re living a lie in the public eye. Sometimes things were confused and taken in a different way, hurting herself or others when she didn’t want to.
And then there’s the sub plot to this book, which at times I actually felt more intrigued about than Evelyn’s life! Evelyn decides to tell her true life story, from start to finish, when she is almost 80 years old. But she doesn’t decide to tell just anyone. She contacts Vivant magazine and specifically requests Monique Grant, a lower level writer with little to no experience, a marriage crumbling around her, and everyone is wondering why. Monique is confused more than anyone else, but decides to use this opportunity to springboard her career. We quickly realize that there may be something more to the reason why Monique was chosen. I honestly couldn’t figure out the connection and it was driving me insane!
The writing was just wonderful. This was very fast paced and consistently pushed me to read just a few more pages. The smallest of details were made interesting and how she was able to connect and complete the complexities of the story was perfection. I was always curious yet satisfied. And the emotions I felt toward the end – GAH! It was too much! A few times I felt like I had been punched in the chest because I didn’t see things coming and before I knew it I had tears in my eyes. If you pick this one up, make sure you have time to finish it once you get to the last quarter of the book. I guarantee you won’t be able to put it down!
This was such a wonderful surprise of a story! For a book I never planned to read it made me fall in love and I can’t wait to read more from this author!
Until next time, happy reading!