Title: The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo
Author: Taylor Jenkins Reid
Genre: Historical Fiction, Romance
Rating: 4.5/5 Paws
Goodreads Synopsis: Aging and reclusive Hollywood movie icon Evelyn Hugo is finally ready to tell the truth about her glamorous and scandalous life. 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—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.
“It’s always been fascinating to me how things can be simultaneously true and false, how people can be good and bad all in one, how someone can love you in a way that is beautifully selfless while serving themselves ruthlessly.”
I loved this book and I’m so happy it lived up to the hype!! Before reading this novel, I already knew that I loved Taylor Jenkins Reid and her writing style. It’s quite frank but also emotional and relatable at the same time. She puts together such a well-written novel and characters that have you constantly questioning how you feel about them.
Evelyn Hugo was definitely one of those characters. She’s a woman who knows what she wants, is protective of those she loves and is willing to do anything to achieve what she sets out to do. After reading Evelyn Hugo’s story, I’m still not sure how to feel about her as a person; similar to how the reader’s second narrator, Monique Grant, feels at the end. She’s made ruthless and cutthroat decisions, but it seems that Evelyn is always trying to do what she thinks is right for her family and it’s difficult to fault her for that. Evelyn Hugo is an extremely complex character and I can’t fully express how captivating she was to read about.
I really enjoyed how big of a role family played in the book. There was a lot of discussion surrounding both one’s biological family and the family that we find throughout the journey of our lives. It was really thought-provoking and I enjoyed the full circle aspect that was provided through the dual-perspective structure of the novel.
While the book provided a lot of emotional content, I also had fun reading about the more surface-level things like Evelyn’s Oscar award hopes and the frenemy relationships between actresses. I always love reading about celebrities and reading about fame during this time period (from the 50’s on) in particular was really interesting. The multi-media aspect with the inclusion of newspaper and online articles added a nice touch to the novel and helped to show just how good Evelyn Hugo was at what she did both on and off the screen.
Although this book is about the life, trials and tribulations of a fictional superstar celebrity, I think everyone can relate to this book and its lessons. The reader discovers that Evelyn’s greatest desire to be seen and understood for who she truly is, which is something I think we all want. There is also a large emphasis on love and the fact that love can take so many different forms for different people and different relationships. Everyone’s great love will look a bit different than anyone else’s and that’s something really special.
This was a fantastic and mesmerizing book that is sure to leave an impact well after you’re finished reading.
If you’ve read this book, let me know your thoughts down below!