BOOK TITLE: The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo
BOOK AUTHOR: Taylor Jenkins Reid
PUBLISHER: Atria Books
June 13th 2017
GENRES: Historical Fiction, Literary Fiction, Women's Fiction
CHECK IT OUT AT: Goodreads
BUY IT: Buy on Amazon
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.
Thank you to the publisher for providing me with a copy of this book in exchange for my honest thoughts.
As I’ve told you all, life went of the rails for me in the first two thirds of 2017. I didn’t read as much as I wanted, and I didn’t write enough.
What I did read were mostly thrillers. I guess I figured that if these people could get through life threatening situations, I could get through my pain.
In June I decided to read something lighter. I had read a couple of Taylor Jenkin’s Reid’s books, and, while on the chick lit side of the aisle, they had substance (as opposed to others, which are more ‘fluffy’). Jenkins Reid seemed like the perfect choice.
Little did I know that, while The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo hits all the fluffy requirements for good chick lit, it has more than just a little bit of meat and grit.
The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo is much more substantive than I imagined.
That statement can go to the two women protagonists as well. Evelyn is a fighter from the word go, but Jenkins Reid takes her deeper, making her fight fights that women in the 50’s didn’t even realize they could fight. She’s a multifaceted character with so much ‘moxie,’ taking chances in her career, giving it all up at the right moment for the right reasons. I cannot (well, I guess I could, but I won’t) say more — I don’t want to spoil Evelyn’s secrets for you. But I can say that Evelyn Hugo is one of the bravest fictional women I’ve read in a long time.
That bravery is passed on through osmosis and storytelling to Monique, who takes Evelyn’s life and uses it as a how-to manual when it comes to her own life and career.
Although Monique’s whole understanding of life takes a hit at the end (I think I can say that without giving it away — because, whatever you take from that statement, I can tell you you’re wrong. The connection between the two women will surprise you), she perseveres and goes on, deciding that taking chances to get what you want is better than settling and playing it safe.
The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo was so much more than I expected. I loved it, and it made me think a bit about women who came before. I’m proud of the crop of today’s Hollywood elite ladies and their ability to speak out and show my girls that they don’t have to take it (whatever it is at the time) just because they’re female. But The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo made me think of all the women who came before, who had to take abuse, adultery, and plain old misogyny because of their gender — and to really consider the women who just wouldn’t take it.
But please don’t get the wrong idea. Evelyn Hugo is a fun read. Lots of glamour and sexiness. But it’s also filled with feminism and strong women working hard to make it in a very male world.
I loved The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo. It’s a wonderful mix of fun and substance — chick lit with balls.