Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Review: The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo

Summary: In this entrancing novel “that speaks to the Marilyn Monroe and Elizabeth Taylor in us all” (Kirkus Reviews), a legendary film actress reflects on her relentless rise to the top and the risks she took, the loves she lost, and the long-held secrets the public could never imagine.

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?

Monique is not exactly on top of the world. Her husband has left her, and her professional life is going nowhere. Regardless of why Evelyn has selected her to write her biography, Monique is determined to use this opportunity to jumpstart her career.

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.

“Heartbreaking, yet beautiful” (Jamie Blynn, Us Weekly), The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo is “Tinseltown drama at its finest” (Redbook): a mesmerizing 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 costs—to face the truth. -- Atria

When I was younger, I used to love to read celebrity tell-alls. I honestly don't know why I stopped reading them -- maybe my tastes just changed, but occasionally I crave the gossip and intrigue of Hollywood. And that's why THE SEVEN HUSBANDS OF EVELYN HUGO by Taylor Jenkins Reid probably appealed so much to me. This novel reads just like a celebrity memoir and it's chock full of lust, betrayal, secrets, and more!

THE SEVEN HUSBANDS OF EVELYN HUGO tells the dramatic story of the larger-than-life Hollywood star Evelyn Hugo. At almost 80 years old, Evelyn, a very private celebrity and eventual recluse, finally decides to tell her story... but on her own terms, of course. She requests an unknown magazine reporter, Monique Grant; and no one, especially Monique, can figure out why.

Monique isn't without her own story. She's kind of in a bad place.  Her husband has recently left her after she caught him with another woman, and she has an entry level job writing for a magazine. Writing the authorized biography (and certain bestseller) of one of Hollywood's most glamorous actresses could be just what she needs to get a fresh start.

Evelyn is definitely no holds barred when telling Monique her story. There are plenty of juicy tidbits and salacious stories, especially when it comes to Evelyn's seven husbands. She even shares some secrets about her life including a forbidden love! While Monique is fascinated by Evelyn's tales, she still wonders about why Evelyn requested her to write her memoir. The truth is even more startling than Evelyn's life story!

I enjoyed THE SEVEN HUSBANDS OF EVELYN HUGO a great deal. While Evelyn was certainly larger than life, I did feel as if the author created a realistic character. In fact, it was easy to forget that I wasn't reading the memoir of a real Hollywood actress. And of course, I couldn't help but wonder if parts of Evelyn's life story were based on old Hollywood.

The novel alternates between Evelyn and Monique's stories, but make no mistake about it --THE SEVEN HUSBANDS OF EVELYN HUGO is Evelyn's story. Don't think for a minute that she'd share the spotlight with anyone! It wasn't until the end that I even understood why the author included Monique in the book.

Evelyn begins her story when she was a child growing up in Hell's Kitchen. She continues with her various love affairs and the details about husbands (in chronological order). Of course, you won't be surprised to learn that she didn't always marry for love. She was a young woman trying to make it in Hollywood during the golden age. The specifics behind all of her relationships were sometimes surprising, sometimes sad, but always gossip-worthy.

There is a little twist at the end of the novel when Monique realizes why she was asked to write Evelyn's story. I won't say I was totally shocked because I knew she had to be there for a reason, but I admit that I didn't figure out all of the details. I did appreciate Monique's progression as a character throughout the story, but as I said earlier, this was really Evelyn's book!

Overall, I did like THE SEVEN HUSBANDS OF EVELYN HUGO and highly recommend it to fans of women's fiction and fans of celebrity tell-alls.

Thanks to the publisher for providing a review copy of this novel.


bermudaonion said...

My mom still loves books like this! I'll have to get a copy for her.

ChaosIsAFriendOfMine said...

I love celebrity memoirs too - sounds like I'd like this book!

Karlie said...

You are the second person to recommend this book to me!