The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo, Taylor Jenkins Reid (2017)
Themes: Historical, Contemporary, Romance, Adult
Reading Format: Audiobook
Listening time: 12 hrs, 10 mins
This book was mind-blowing, I devoured it and I loved every second. The author made me feel like I was there every step of the way with Evelyn on her journey. Reading this as an audiobook made me feel even more involved, it was a very enjoyable reading experience.
For those of you who don’t know what this book is about, here’s the blurb:
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.
In my opinion, this synopsis does not do the book justice. The plot is constantly changing and developing and evolving with new angels. I went from laughter to tears with this book. The characters are superb, I fell in love with pretty much most of them, especially Evelyn, Harry and Celia. Being able to follow their lives and careers over many years made me feel way more invested in them than when you just know a character for a few months of their life.
We are taken through Evelyn’s life in this book, from her rise to fame to her elderly years. I didn’t expect to go on such a rollercoaster and come out feeling like I had learnt something from this book. The character of Evelyn was a confident one, someone who knew how to get what she wanted and priorities her needs. She is a strong and powerfully willed character and I certainly took away some things from her.
I loved hearing about her career and her fame in the 50’s onwards. I’ve seen films from this time, but never have I really appreciate what it was like for the stars of them. Fame now seems to be so much easier to find and retain, but for Evelyn she had to work her way up and do things she shouldn’t have had to do to secure her spot. At this time in Hollywood actresses were regularly reused again and again for films year on year, so it was immensely important to stay in the spotlight. I’ve never read about this era before and it’s certainly given me an interest in watching more films from this time.
This is a book I will always keep in my head, for both it’s excellent storytelling, but also the message it sends. The need to be yourself, to be sure of who you are and to do the very best for you. I am so glad I read this and I will not hesitate to pick it up again some day.