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. The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo is 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.
This is the second book that I read from Taylor Jenkins Reid, after Daisy Jones and the Six.
What strikes me once more, is how REAL this story felt.
Like Daisy Jones I could imagine Evelyne Hugo, famous actress, having lived and confiding her life story to Monique. I could believe all the lies and choices Evelyne had to make in order to hide her true self and her true love, for the name of fame but also because that secret, at that time, could have been life threatening.
I could see Monique, with her recorder, going in Evelyne’s apartment in New York day after day for two weeks, till late sometimes to record that life story.
I could feel their battle of will at the beginning to have Monique get something from Evelyne, inspired by the very same Evelyne and the path she forged herself.
What I could not be was to be overwhelmed by emotions.
Taylor Jenkins Reid has an extremely precise and efficient writing but so far, she’s never swept me off my feet nor threw me into an emotional turmoil.
She’s impressed the hell of me yes, but she’s never made me FEEL.
That’s why this book won’t be a five or six stars for me. Because these are saved for books that drown me into emotions. But I don’t think either that Taylor will ever be less than 4,5 stars because her writing is just impressive and deadly.
What can I tell you more about this is not that I didn’t love it but that I’ve been amazed by it?
What can I add to everything that has been written on this book to avoid any redundancy?
Maybe that listening to this book made me realize how far we’ve come in accepting people that are different from us. We still have a very long way to go but our time, in Western countries, would have been so much better for Evelyne and her beloved ones.
Also, that Evelyne might have attained stardom, her goal as a young woman, by the end of her life she realized that she would give it all in a heartbeat. Family and love were far more important than social status and adulation. That’s a personal journey and one that many realize late in their life, when the illusion of the youth has disappeared, when life has given many beatings and you realize that the ones sticking with you are not your fans or your colleagues but they are your family.
This book asks many important questions.
What would you do to protect your family? What lies and deceit would you be ready to tell?
What are you ready to sacrifice for your career? Are you ready to sleep to get promoted or get that movie you want to passionately?
What excuses are you ready to invent to stay into a comfortable life, even if that life is only an illusion and that under the glamour, the truth is ugly?
And when you’ve been shunned by everyone, touched rock bottom, what would you do to bounce back? Where is the limit?
All these questions and more are addressed in this story in Taylor Jenkins no nonsense prose.
Is the hype deserved for that book? Yes. Because if I didn’t love it, if it did not speak to my feelings it did impress me. I can recognize genius when I see it.
Taylor Jenkins Reid is a force to be reckoned with, a formidable and outstanding writer. I have no doubt that one day her books will be classics.
Have you read that book? What did you think of it?
Thanks for reading.
This was one of my favorite reads from last year so I’m glad to hear you enjoyed it overall. I’ve loved everything I’ve read from this author so far so I can’t wait to see what she does next.
Me too Suzanne!
I haven’t read this yet, but I’m glad you loved it. Great review!
Thank you Raven!!!
Glad you liked this. I have this book to read…along with many others!
I know the feeling of being overwhelmed by the books on our TBR or out there Caro!
It is really overwhelming sometimes isnt it!!! Plus I am in another slump which doesnt help matters!
Ha Caro I hope you’ll soon be out of your slump!
Me too! With all that’s going on in the world I’ve been finding it hard to concentrate!!!! Audio has been my lifesaver this month!
Same here Caro!!! Even if I have been so disappointed to discover that some audiobook that I really wished for were not available for my country!!!
That sucks. How are you? Hows it going? We are on lockdown now and I’ve found myself busier than ever and so, so tired!
Ha Caro I hope you’ll soon be out of your slump!
Wonderful review and even if this one didn’t quite make you feel like crazy, I am happy you could still love it! A lot of people thought this book was nonfiction, that’s truly how real it feels. And I think it really does ask a lot of important questions. I am glad you loved it and finally read it <3
Thank you Olivia!!!
I also gave this book 4.5 stars. I think it deserves the hype. I agree that it feels very real. I loved Evelyn and her ambition.
Yay! We are in sync on that book AJ!!
I haven’t read this one myself, but friends in my book club gave it a thumbs up.
I think it’s an amazing read Teri!
Sounds good. Somehow I haven’t been attracted to this book. Got to read it one day
Well me neither Shalini but after enjoying Daisy Jones I thought I would give it a try!
Great review! I loved this book so much. I agree with you on how it felt so real.
Thank you! She always surprises me!!