Blog Tour Review: The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo by Taylor Jenkins Reid

Thursday, June 29, 2017
Title: The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo
Author: Taylor Jenkins Reid
Genre: general fiction
Series: N/A
Pages: 400
Published: June 13 2017
Source: ARC via publisher for review
Rating: 5/5

From Taylor Jenkins Reid comes an unforgettable and sweeping novel about one classic film actress’s relentless rise to the top—the risks she took, the loves she lost, and the long-held secrets the public could never imagine.

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.

Taylor Jenkins Reid is a talented author and also an ambitious one. For her fifth and newest book, The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo, the creative writer behind contemporary classics like Maybe in Another Life and One True Loves tries an all new style of storytelling and it works spectacularly. This book is unlike any of her previous works, but it may very well be her best novel yet. A sprawling, layered, intricate look at a very complicated and charismatic woman, Evelyn Hugo and its eponymous main character are both memorable and utterly unique.

With the charisma and beauty of an old Hollywood starlet but the cunning and shrewdness of a Fortune 500 CEO, Evelyn Hugo is the kind of character that refuses to yield the spotlight. She is the star even before she makes it in the movie business. Evelyn is perpetually the epicenter of the story; she is the thread the ties the main plot of her many husbands with that of the younger journalist Monique. Obviously partially inspired by the live and loves of Elizabeth Taylor, with perhaps just a splash of Marilyn's aesthetic, her life is compelling and utterly readable from the first chapter. Her voice and presence are strong and immediately distinct; this is a woman you remember. This is a woman that absolutely refuses to be forgotten or to forgo her ambitions. She may not be a "nice" person but she is driven, smart, and a survivor.

Unwinding and revealing the real person behind the calculated Evelyn persona is a task that takes care and time, both of which Reid provides. There's more to Evelyn's convoluted story than the tabloid fodder produced from her various loves and losses; Reid keenly understands the relationship between star and fans -- which Evelyn also understands and uses to her professional advantage, even if it costs her a personal loss. She is a multifaceted person; full of both virtues and vices. She comes across as a very real, very present person. Monique, her counterpart and foil, provides some modern balance and also facilitates the novel's plot framework. Her tell-all interviews with the reclusive actress directly propel the plot.

The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo is an impressive change of pace for an established author. It's entertaining and original; it begs for a reread once the final page has been finished. For an author that continually finds new ways to explore love and emotion, this is her most creative novel yet. Highly recommended.


1 comment:

  1. Absolutely agreed. I still can't stop thinking about this one and wish there were more books like it! TJR is a master.


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