Monday, June 5, 2017

Book Review: The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo by Taylor Jenkins Reid


Pages: 400
Genre: Adult Fiction
Publication Date: June 13, 2017
Publisher: Atria
Source: Publisher for review
Other Novels By Author:  Maybe in Another Life 
My Rating: 5 out of 5 stars


Goodreads says, "From Taylor Jenkins Reid comes an unforgettable and sweeping novel about one classic film actress’s relentless rise to the top—the risks she took, the loves she lost, and the long-held secrets the public could never imagine.  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.  Filled with emotional insight and written with Reid’s signature talent, this is a fascinating 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 takes—to face the truth."

Evelyn Hugo, famous Hollywood starlet, hasn't granted a private interview in years. She's getting up there in age and her days gracing the big screen are over.  She used to rub elbows with the best Hollywood had to offer in the 60s, but no one truly knows who she really is. That is until one day she decides to contact Monique Grant, an average journalist, and offer her a once in a lifetime opportunity in that she would share her life's story with her. Through her sharing and divulging of secrets with Monique, readers learn about Evelyn's difficult childhood in Hell's Kitchen, her move to Hollywood, her rise to fame, her Oscar win, and the juicy details of her seven marriages. More importantly, Evelyn has told many lies during her lifetime and wants to come clean.  But the bigger question is the fact that she could have granted this story to any reporter, but requested Monique. Why Monique? And what kind of dark secrets is Evelyn hiding? Taylor Jenkins Reid's The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo is a bit different than her other novels, but I say that in the best way possible. It's definitely one of my favorite books of the year.

Evelyn Hugo is literally right off the pages of People Magazine, a classic Hollywood film and all things juicy like a Hollywood tell-all.  Reid developed her so well and so vividly that I kept forgetting that she isn't actually real.  She felt so real. Seriously! Reid's characterization is so, so good in The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo.  But I digress.

Evelyn is a complex character. Her challenging childhood made me instantly want to root for her as well as her bumpy rise to fame. I will admit she made some really crappy choices.  She doesn't feel remorseful for some of her choices though; she totally owns it.  I appreciate that in a protagonist.  I wish I could sum up Evelyn in more detail, but I can't without giving away too much.  But know she's a blend of Marilyn Monroe and Elizabeth Taylor.  She's so much more than just a classic Hollywood actress; I thoroughly enjoyed unraveling her story slowly and pealing back each and every complex layer.

Which leads me to Monique, the aspiring journalist. She is working at a magazine and dealing with her own life-altering issues when Evelyn enters her life in The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo.  She is pretty much a nobody in the journalism world, but Evelyn seeks out the magazine she works at and specifically requests Monique for the story.  This is what kept me flipping the pages. I just had to know why Evelyn would pick Monique and I thoroughly enjoyed trying to figure out Evelyn's motives.

The way that Reid tells the tale of Evelyn in The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo is brilliant. I loved the conversations between Monique and Evelyn and how she would slowly share details of her life.  Chapters was broken down and highlighted by her various marriages and I felt like I was sitting there with Evelyn getting all the juicy details.

If you love Old Hollywood or simply put--- if you love a story that's told very well, then check out The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo this summer. This is the best that summer reading has to offer and if you love a juicy tale that has historical details, romance, dark secrets, and heartbreak, this is a book for you. I bet many people, like myself, will be falling in love with Evelyn this summer.


6 comments:

  1. Oh, I can't wait to read this one! Love the glam era of the 20s Hollywood and the gorgeous starlets of the time. Evelyn's life will probably an interesting one to unravel. Looking forward to this!

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    1. I think you'll really enjoy this one, Joy. Can't wait to hear your thoughts. Thanks for visiting!

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    1. It is so good! I hope you enjoy it, Chrissy!

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  3. Thanks for your review and your recommendation. I am really enjoying it so far. I love old Hollywood and the glamour and scandals. I do hope Evelyn finds some happiness and I'm eager to find out all the secrets. Great review!

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    1. I am glad to hear you are enjoying it as well. It's so well written and I think Reid's best novel yet. I look forward to your thoughts. Thanks for visiting, Christina!

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