Author : Taylor Jenkins Reid
Title : The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo
Pages : 385
Publisher : Atria
Publication date : September 1, 2017
| ABOUT THE BOOK |
Aging and reclusive Hollywood movie icon 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 is more astounded than Monique herself. Why her? Why now?
Monique is not exactly on top of the world. Her husband has left her, and her professional life is going nowhere. Regardless of why Evelyn has selected her to write her biography, Monique is determined to use this opportunity to jumpstart her career.
Summoned to Evelyn’s luxurious apartment, Monique listens in fascination as the actress tells her story. From making her way to Los Angeles in the 1950s to her decision to leave show business in the ’80s, and, of course, the seven husbands along the way, Evelyn unspools a tale of ruthless ambition, unexpected friendship, and a great forbidden love. Monique begins to feel a very real connection to the legendary star, but as Evelyn’s story near its conclusion, it becomes clear that her life intersects with Monique’s own in tragic and irreversible ways.
| MY THOUGHTS |
Aging former movie star Evelyn Hugo is ready to tell the world about her life and set the record straight. Surprisingly, she picks an absolute nobody to write her biography. But as soon as you get to know Evelyn, you realise she doesn’t do anything for no reason and that nobody, Monique, is right where she should be. Why though? That’s the million dollar question and one I completely failed to answer until it was revealed to me.
Evelyn Hugo’s story depicts life behind the glitz, glamour and bright lights of Hollywood. In the days when the big movie studios ran Hollywood, things were very different from now. The movie studios held enormous power over their stars, determining what they should look like, what to eat (or not to eat) and even who to date. Anything to make their movie stars stand out, get publicity and sell movie tickets. There’s quite a lot of deceit, hiding behind masks, putting on acts all over town, the need to be seen. But more than anything, the sense that you should do whatever is necessary to avoid a scandal. Not just to protect your career, but also your family.
Evelyn Hugo married seven times during her lifetime. While talking to Monique, she deftly guides us through each of these marriages and it was often quite heartbreaking and devastating. Numerous times, I found I had a bit of a lump in my throat and by the end, I was very much an emotional mess.
Just like Monique, I too had a hard time deciding how I felt about Evelyn. From a young age, she knew exactly what she wanted and she went out there and got it, no matter what it took. Some of her actions really caused food for thought. Yet, they were also entirely understandable and throughout I was often left to wonder what I would have done in the situations Evelyn found herself in.
I found myself absolutely engrossed in Evelyn’s story from the very beginning. I feel privileged to have spent time with her, to have somewhat gotten to know the woman behind the actress. I say somewhat, because I’m convinced there were many more stories she could have told. Saying goodbye to Evelyn has left me feeling quite bereft and I realise I’m talking about her as if she was a real person because that’s exactly how she felt to me.
I loved everything about this story. The setting, the complex and multi-layered characters, the absolutely beautiful writing … there’s someone out there nodding her head, saying “I bloody told you so!” and now I’m telling you. If you love historical fiction or just a fantastic story in general, really, you have to meet Evelyn. This is my first time reading a novel by Taylor Jenkins Reid but it won’t be my last.
The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo is available to buy!
Book 7 from my 20 Books of Summer list.