The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo by Taylor Jenkins Reid
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.
Imagine my surprise when I went to schedule posts and realised I had yet to post this review. I feel like I’ve talked about this book enough that I don’t even need an official review, but here it is anyway!
This is one of the best books I’ve read in a while. It completely enraptured me and I was totally engrossed in it. It quickly made it’s way onto my favourites list, and I don’t think I’ll ever stop recommending this book.
I loved the format of this book, which alternates first-person from Monique’s perspective, and first-person as Evelyn is narrating to Monique. It worked really well to convey the story and emotions.
I loved the look into Evelyn’s life. I mentioned in a discussion a while ago that I loved behind-the-scenes aspects of books, so I loved that Evelyn was an actress. I liked seeing how her roles played a part in her life, and how her relationships affected that and were affected by them.
The relationships are obviously the focal point of this book, and they were wonderful. They were so interesting to read and I loved getting the insider perspective. All the relationships were different and had a different objective, if that makes sense. Without spoiling anything, the relationship between Evelyn and the love of her life was so good. Their love was so obvious and they were so devoted to each other, and I really enjoyed seeing that.
I also loved how this book highlighted certain social issues present during this time period. It highlights the struggles certain groups went through, and how hard it was. I also liked how it highlighted it was even harder for those in the public eye, and that those who are famous make certain sacrifices for their career.
I really liked the characters too, especially Evelyn. She was such a great character: she was driven and devoted and had a very clear moral compass, even if it was different than others’. She unapologetically used her sexuality, looks, and beauty to get what she wanted, and this was portrayed as an asset, as something she was unashamed about. I really admired that, especially as women who do this are often slut-shamed, whereas here it was celebrated. She was unafraid to be herself in Hollywood, even though she was hiding a huge portion of herself. I just loved her. I also loved Harry and their relationship.
I just loved this book. It caused the BIGGEST reading hangover I’ve maybe ever experienced, partially because I wanted to keep reading it and partially because I was intentionally not reading anything so as not to compared them unfairly.
In short, I loved this book a lot and have recommended it to everyone I know. It’s just so good. Please read it.