The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo by Taylor Jenkins Reid
Publisher: Atria Books
Publication Date: June 13, 2017
Genres: Fiction, Historical
Format: eBook & Hardcover
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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.
I’m not going to give you another synopsis of the story here in my own words; the synopsis above gives you enough of an idea of what this book is about, that I won’t repeat it here. I want to talk to you about what I think this book is about, at its core.
I’ve heard it said many times by other reviewers how different this book is for Reid; but I don’t entirely agree. There are the obvious differences: time period, some subject matter (which I’ll leave vague due to a spoiler). Reid’s past books have been set in present day, or contemporary novels. The majority of this book is Evelyn telling her story – which is of course in the past – as early as the 1950s – which is a different time period than Reid’s previous books. Yes, this is different, but I don’t think it is why people are saying this book is “so different” from her other ones. I think it has to do with one specific aspect of the book – and I agree it is a big one – but I think we need to look at the story as a whole.
For me, this story is quintessential Reid. She writes about real, complex relationships that are true to life, and that skill is showcased in THE SEVEN HUSBANDS OF EVELYN HUGO. But I’m not only speaking about the relationships with others, I am speaking of the relationship we have with ourselves. She reveals truths about our human condition in a way that makes you think, consider, debate, react, and discuss the things you always believed you were or should be. She makes you think differently about yourself, helps you see yourself and others in a new light.
So yes, this book has some new topics not prevalent in Reid’s previous works; but at the core, this book has everything I love about Reid’s writing.
This book is about love, and the role it plays in our lives. How love can make us do irrational things; how love can make us better and stronger, but how love can also make us do things we never thought ourselves capable of doing, for better or for worse. It’s about the complexity of the human condition, and how we each have so many layers that not one word alone can define us completely.
When you stop and look at the whole picture, this book is exactly the Reid we know and love.
I received an ARC of this book from the publisher, as well as BookSparks, in exchange for an honest review.