The Seven Husbands Of Evelyn Hugo
By Taylor Jenkins Reid
In this entrancing novel “that speaks to the Marilyn Monroe and Elizabeth Taylor in us all” (Kirkus Reviews), a legendary film actress reflects on her relentless rise to the top and the risks she took, the loves she lost, and the long-held secrets the public could never imagine.
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.
“Heartbreaking, yet beautiful” (Jamie Blynn, Us Weekly), The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo is “Tinseltown drama at its finest” (Redbook): a mesmerizing journey through the splendor of old Hollywood into the harsh realities of the present day as two women struggle with what it means—and what it costs—to face the truth.
The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo by Taylor Jenkins Reid
Whereas a romance novel focuses solely on a romantic relationship and the happily ever after, women’s fiction tends to focus more on a woman’s journey. I’ve personally found women’s fiction to be a more diverse and unique genre. Consider, for example, The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo. I’ve honestly never read anything like it! The latest novel from Taylor Jenkins Reid is a fascinating glimpse of Old Hollywood and the sacrifices required to become a movie star.
With one phone call, Monique Grant receives the opportunity of a lifetime. Hollywood icon Evelyn Hugo plans to auction off 12 of her most memorable gowns to raise money for a cause, and she specifically requests an interview with Monique, a no-name journalist with Vivant magazine. Monique hopes this interview will boost her career, but she soon discovers Evelyn wants more than just a single interview. The aging, reclusive actress is finally ready to open up about her glamorous career – the sacrifices that she made and the secrets that she kept on her way to super-stardom.
The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo is told from dual points of view, alternating between characters Monique Grant and Evelyn Hugo. For the most part, Evelyn’s point of view consists of the retelling of her life’s story. I found Evelyn’s story fascinating! Her life was dramatic, glamorous and even scandalous at times. Now in her late 70’s, Evelyn shares how a teenager from Hell’s Kitchen in New York City became a successful actress in Hollywood, the story behind each of her seven husbands, and the cunning and cutthroat sacrifices she made on behalf of herself and others.
A good portion of Monique’s point of view involves the process of interviewing Evelyn Hugo. Monique listens to what Evelyn has to say, but she also asks her good questions – questions I might ask if I was the person doing the interview. From the beginning of the novel, we are aware of events going on in Monique’s day-to-day life. Readers who love a little mystery in their novels will find it in The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo. As the story begins to unwind, it becomes more and more obvious Monique and Evelyn are connected in some mysterious way. Reid certainly had my curiosity piqued with hints of intrigue!
The author reeled me in with great descriptive writing – including lifelike descriptions of Evelyn, the movie star’s unique beauty, even descriptions of photographs taken of Evelyn throughout the years. I was impressed with Reid’s writing because I found I could picture things in my mind throughout the novel. The character dialogue in this novel is outstanding! Sometimes eye-opening, always clever, the dialogue captivated me and kept me glued to the pages of the book. An interesting feature of this novel are the articles written about Evelyn that are placed between each chapter. These articles are an ingenious way to let readers know what Hollywood reporters think about events going in Evelyn’s life.
Although I enjoyed Monique’s role in this story, it’s Evelyn Hugo who really steals the show! Evelyn is an extraordinary character who experiences all kinds of character growth! The author depicts this aspiring movie star perfectly – alluring, wealthy, charming, and ruthless in the pursuit of fame and fortune. I was also entertained by the stories behind each of Evelyn’s seven husbands – Ernie, Don, Mick, Rex, Harry, Max and Robert.
Readers who are familiar with Taylor Jenkins Reid will probably find The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo unlike any other book the author has written to date. But, just as I did, I hope those who read this novel will find it equally delightful! Taylor Jenkins Reid has earned my 5 star rating for The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo, and I count this novel one of my 2017 favorites!
Taylor Jenkins Reid lives in Los Angeles and is the acclaimed author of One True Loves, Maybe in Another Life, After I Do, and Forever, Interrupted. Her books have been named a “Best Book of Summer” by People, Cosmopolitan, Glamour, InStyle, Good Housekeeping, USA TODAY, Redbook, Us Weekly, Parade, PopSugar, Buzzfeed, Bustle, Brit+Co, Goodreads, and others.