The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo
Author: Taylor Jenkins Reid
Published: June 13, 2017
Audiobook: 12 hours 10 minutes
Reviewed By: Jessica
Dates Read: November 28- December 1, 2022
Jessica’s Rating: 4 stars
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.
The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo was a book club pick and one I would have probably never picked up on my own, but I am glad I ended up listening to it! This is a bit of a spoiler, but happens early on and it would be impossible to review without spoiling: It went in a direction I was not expecting on Eveyln’s sexuality, during a time period of the 1950s on where certain things were frowned upon. But we have a lot of various representation in this novel: A bisexual, lesbian, and gay characters, along with two interracial characters.
We have present day where Evelyn Hugo is in her upper 70s and a recluse. She was a Hollywood Icon that men wanted to be with and women wanted to be. But she hid who she was in multiple ways. Now coming towards the end of her life, she is finally ready to tell her story, and she decides on seemingly unknown journalist Monique. Monique has no idea how Evelyn even knew of her, let alone picked her to tell her life story to, but she goes with it as it is the opportunity of a lifetime that many other journalists would kill to be in her place.
Evelyn tells her story to Monique and through this life story we see how 1950s Hollywood was and how it currently is. Hollywood is not a kind life, especially for the person who Evelyn actually is. We see how things are turned in ways that certain people decide, and reality is actually far from the truth. Over the course of the interviewing, we learn about Evelyn’s life and seven marriages and her one true love.
This novel shows multiple kinds of love: romantic, love between friends, and the love between and parent and child.
I think this is another novel that should be listened to, as we have multiple narrators who do a fantastic job! I’m not sure which narrators portrayed Evelyn, but those ladies just pull you in with Evelyn’s present life and the telling of her past.
You know somewhere/somehow that Evelyn and Monique are connected, but when the connection is revealed, the reader is as shocked as Monique is, and feels the same emotions as Monique. Closer to the end the novel goes in a direction with Evelyn that also isn’t expected, and could be controversial. I can’t and won’t go into this as to me it is major, and this is an issue that people feel strongly about on both sides.
The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo is one that leaves you thinking about so many things once you have put the book down.
Author: Caitlin Starling
Series: Neon Hemlock
Published: September 5, 2020
Reviewed By: Kim
Kim’s Rating: 4 stars
Powerful shipping magnate Evelyn Perdanu lives a tight, contained life, holding herself at a distance from all who would get close to her. Her family is dead, her country is dying, and when something foul comes to the city of Delphinium, the brittle, perilous existence she’s built for herself is strained to breaking.
When one of her ships arrives in dock, she counts herself lucky that it made it through the military blockades slowly strangling her city. But one by one, the crew fall ill with a mysterious sickness: an intense light in their eyes and obsessive behavior, followed by a catatonic stupor. Even as Evelyn works to exonerate her company of bringing plague into her besieged capital city, more and more cases develop, and the afflicted all share one singular obsession: her.
Panicked and paranoid, she retreats to her estate, which rests on a foundation of secrets: the deaths of her family, the poisons and cures that hasten the dissolution of the remaining upper classes, and a rebel soldier, incapacitated and held hostage in a desperate bid for information. But the afflicted are closing in on her, and bringing the attention of the law with them. Evelyn must unearth her connection to the spreading illness, and fast, before it takes root inside her home and destroys all that she has built.
This is another one I saw on Instagram and became downright enamored but this cover. We have definitely found a contestant for the 2021 Most Gorgeous Cover Tournament, maybe even a winner? Well one can hope. But the pages under the cover … I still haven’t figured this book out yet.
It’s definitely a somber, chilling, gothic tale. I liked reading it and the setting and the characters. The story itself held me until the very end. But all I am now is puzzled. I’m not sure what this book was even about. I think the closest thing I can compare it to is Rappaccini’s Daughter, but only if Du Maurier wrote it and not Hawthorne. Thankfully I’m not frustrated by this book. If anything, I want to read it again and try to figure it out again. Overall, I liked it. But I don’t get it. So I will indeed read it again.