by Taylor Jenkins Reid
Release Date: June 13th 2017
Publisher: Atria Books
Genres: Adult, Romance
Format: Paperback, Hardcover
Find It: Goodreads • Amazon • Barnes & Noble
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.
“I hate Evelyn, but I think I like her very much. I wish she had never existed, and yet I can’t help but admire her a great deal.”
The second that I heard there was going to be a new Taylor Jenkins Reid book I knew that I needed to read it immediately!! After reading the synopsis for The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo I was so eager to read it! It sounded so different from any other books I have ever read and I couldn’t wait to start it!
The story begins with Magazine writer Monique Grant. She is a struggling writer at an amazing magazine and she is just waiting for her “big break.” A story that will make everyone know just how amazing she is and get the respect that she deserves. That big break comes in the form of Evelyn Hugo, 1950’s starlet with an acting career spanning 3 decades and multiple husbands left in her wake. Evelyn is finally ready to share her story, the story of how she became a star and how she continued to be successful and of course… why so many husbands? The best part is, she wants only Monique to write this story. Monique is given the opportunity of a lifetime, but she is left asking WHY? Why did Evelyn choose her? The answers she gets and the true story of Evelyn’s life is a lot different than anyone ever imagined.
I confess that I had my own ideas and suspicions of how this would play out… I was WRONG! This is definitely one of those cases where you think you know but you have no idea! And I LOVED IT! I loved every single second!
This book is largely told as a narrative of Evelyn’s life, with monique’s life intersecting here and there. But in large part, this is Evelyn’s story. As the reader, I felt as though I was Monique… sitting there listening to every single word as Evelyn told her story. I was so wrapped up in it, I never wanted those moments to end and return to the present time.
Evelyn Hugo was such a dynamic character, you loved her and hated her, respected and admired her all at the same time. We start at the beginning of her life, growing up in a Brooklyn slum and follow her all the way through her life. From the start of her career in the 1950’s, to her “sexpot” stage in the 60’s and through to her retirement in the 80’s. It is a rags to riches story, but it is definitely no fairy tale. We see Evelyn at her best as an amazing actress with an IT factor that no one can deny and we see her at her worst, ruthless, cutthroat and out for no one but herself. I was so caught up in the glitz and glam of Hollywood! I stopped to envision all of EVelyn’s dresses and to picture her style through each decade. Taylor Jenkins Reid brought every moment to life!
While Monique’s story was not the larger part of this book, I did really enjoy it. Hearing Evelyn’s story gave her strength in so many way and it also broke her. She became connected to Evelyn in such a real way and I loved how she learned from her.
I think what amazed me most about this book was that Taylor Jenkins Reid made Evelyn Hugo seem so REAL! Like I honestly thought to myself “this has to be a real life person.” I found myself wanting to Google her LOL! Also, no matter how upset I was with Evelyn, no matter how terrible I felt her actions were I found myself understanding why she made those choices.
Sorry, I was trying to keep this short and that did not happen! I needed to convey just how amazing this book was! I seriously loved every second! It brought out so many emotions in me, I cried and cried and smiled and cheered for Evelyn! Taylor Jenkins Reid is simply amazing and she has won me over once again with Evelyn Hugo. She is such a talented writer! Her characters are so wonderful and fleshed out and her writing flows so naturally. She is a genius story teller and is on my must read Author list!
I have to admit, I only glanced at the synopsis before deciding I wanted to read this story. When it comes to Taylor Jenkins Reid, no matter what the story is about, I’m reading it. So I went into this story almost completely blind. And let me tell you, it was such a great decision because I had no idea what I was in for.
Monique is a struggling magazine writer when Evelyn Hugo chooses her, and only her, to write her autobiography. Evelyn Hugo is a very well-known 1950’s starlet, one of the biggest out there, and her story has never been told before. This is HUGE for Monique, and she’s unable to turn it down. Getting to be the one to FINALLY tell Evelyn’s story, including her secrets, is a chance of a lifetime. And the money that Evelyn is offering her is outrageous and unable to be turned down. So Monique and Evelyn begin meeting in Evelyn’s house, where she slowly and thoroughly tells her entire life story.
The majority of this story is about Evelyn and her rags-to-rich life story. There are a few times when the story switches back to Monique’s current day life, but those instances are quite rare. It’s just enough to get to know Monique on a level that she’s no longer a stranger to us. We don’t get to know her like we know Evelyn, by any means, but we still feel for her and are curious why Monique is the only one who Evelyn will speak to about her life.
Evelyn, on the other hand, we get to know VERY well. We learn things about how that we could never imagine. We love her. We hate her. She infuriates, disgusts, and even amazes us. She’s such an amazing character, and I loved the depth to which TJL introduced her to us. Evelyn felt like such a real starlet with a very realistic and true-to-life story to tell. I loved getting to go husband by husband, year by year, tragedy by tragedy. Evelyn’s life story was, simply put, incredible.
The switching back and forth between Evelyn’s past and the current day were done flawlessly. I was never left confused or unsure what was going on. And I have to mention how addicting this story was. With romance, it’s usually more of a relaxing, yet entertaining read for me. But this one! WOW! I seriously could NOT put it down! All adulting went out the window when I was reading this book. It was amazing. Truly amazing.
Taylor Jenkins Reid is one of those authors that I KNOW will impress me with every story. I’ve read all of her books except for one so far, and I’ve adored every single second of them. I can’t recommend her enough! I think this one just may be my favorite book of hers, and that says a lot since I believe I’ve rated every single one 5 stars! ♥ If you enjoy romance, women’s fiction, adult fiction, really any fiction, give Taylor Jenkins Reid a try. You won’t be disappointed by what this incredible writing genius can do with a story.
“People think intimacy is about sex. But intimacy is about truth. When you realize you can tell someone your truth.”
“I like the Evelyn Hugo who sees the world for what it is and then goes out there and wrestles what she wants out of it.”
“You’re not really famous if anyone still likes you.”
“It was around that time that I started to believe that friendships could be written in the stars. ‘If there are all different types of soulmates than you are one of mine.”
“It’s always been fascinating to me how things can be simultaneously true and false, how people can be good and bad all in one.”
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Have you read any TJR books?
Have you read Evelyn Hugo?