Title: The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo
Author: Taylor Jenkins Reid
Length: 388 pages
Release Date: June 13, 2017
Recommended for fans of: old Hollywood, celebrity gossip
Content Warnings: sexual assault/rape, domestic abuse, suicide, cancer, infidelity, manipulation, car accident, homophobia
Aging and reclusive Hollywood movie icon Evelyn Hugo is finally ready to tell the truth about her glamorous and scandalous life.
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—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.
I found this book entirely engrossing from the beginning. When I wasn’t reading, this book was constantly on my mind, and I counted down the minutes until I could pick it back up. I was captivated by Evelyn’s early life during the Golden Age of Hollywood and her ruthlessness to do what it took to get was she wanted (fame and love, in that order). She was a shrewd, calculating, manipulative, horrible person, but I just loved reading her story, which made me want to look up some real life Old Hollywood tea.
The pacing slowed a bit in the middle, and I found Evelyn’s relationship with Celia to get a bit repetitive, which is why I docked half a star from my rating.
The ending really surprised me. I liked how Evelyn’s story was told in dual timeline through the lens of the interview with Monique. I would’ve liked a little bit more of Monique’s story, but I appreciated the character development we saw as a result of spending time with Evelyn.
I totally understand the hype for this book and author now. This is a story that will stick with me. It was my first Taylor Jenkins Reid book, but it will not be my last.