The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo by Taylor Jenkins Reid, historical fiction, 4.75/5 stars, 389 pages, 2017
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?
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. from Goodreads
I finally got to see what all the hype was about! We read this for book club this month and it was mostly loved. I stayed up past 1am to finish it and found it addictively juicy.
Evelyn Hugo was a force to be reckoned with. Abused by her father and determined to become a star, she used the assets she was born with to reach the highest echelons of 1950s Hollywood. She reaches out to Monique, a relatively unknown reporter to write her life story and we find out what can be hidden during a lifetime spent in the public’s eye.
This was a fast read with highs and lows, but always at its heart, a story about the price of fame. It was about other things too, but I don’t want to spoil the surprises of Evelyn’s life. She was unapologetically bold and an honest liar. Let me know if you agree. The choices she made are worth discussion and the reason I loved her character so much is that she owned every one of them.
“You’re the most beautiful woman here,” Don said into my ear as I stood next to him. But I already knew that he thought I was the most gorgeous woman here. I knew, very acutely, that if he did not believe that , he would not have been with me.
Men were almost never with me for my personality.
I’m not suggesting that charming girls should take pity on the pretty ones. I’m just saying it’s not so great being loved for something you didn’t do. page 116
Evelyn shakes her head,” Heartbreak is loss. Divorce is a piece of paper.”
“If you are heartbroken right now, then I feel for you deeply,” Evelyn says. “That I have the utmost respect for. That’s the sort of thing that can split a person in two. But I wasn’t heartbroken when Don left me. I simply felt like my marriage had failed. And those are two very different things.” page 141