I remember seeing The Seven Husbands on Evelyn Hugo by Taylor Jenkins Reid, all over #Bookstagram and it spiked my interest in the book, because the title is enough to create intrigue and interest in any Fiction lover’s mind.
This isn’t the first time I am reading a book by Taylor Jenkins Reid. Maybe in Another Life started my initial foray into her writing and I honestly loved it. The author’s style of writing is simple enough that you whiz through her books.
The way she writes stops you mid paragraph, and makes you absorb what you just read. It is the perfect form of fiction and I’m really falling in love with her books. Whether I want to relax, read something humane and raw, or be engaged in an intricate story line, Taylor Jenkins Reid knows just how that pull off.
“You do not know how fast you have been running, how hard you have been working, how truly exhausted you are, until somewhat stands behind you and says, “It’s OK, you can fall down now. I’ll catch you.”
So the book: The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo – let’s get back to that before I go on a whole rant as to why I love the author!
“Heartbreak is a loss. Divorce is a piece of paper.”
The story is about a famous Hollywood actress: Evelyn who ruled Hollywood cinema during the 50’s and 60’s. She is an icon, always in the tabloids, Oscar nominee and winner, and is known for beauty and attraction that is unlike anything. Think Marilyn Monroe, Elizabeth Taylor and the likes. She had a magnificent run in Hollywood and in the 80s she went quiet and reclusive.
“When you’re given an opportunity to change your life, be ready to do whatever it takes to make it happen. The world doesn’t give things, you take things.”
Now, in old age and after decades of being in hibernation she is willing to give an interview and an epic tell all that will reveal all the secrets behind her 7 marriages and a secret no one knows. Here comes the interviewer: Monique Grant, a budding writer who is trying to make it in the field and get a good position in the magazine she works for.
“I like you impure and scrappy and formidable. 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. So, you know, put whatever label you want on it, just don’t change. That would be the real tragedy.”
Caught off guard as to why Hugo chose her for the interview, she still goes to her Upper East Side apartment and finally faces the actress who stole the hearts of millions around the world. However, both their lives are connected in a tragic and sad way, that Hugo is finally willing to reveal to Monique after many years.
What begins as meetings for Evelyn Hugo’s memoir, her 7 marriages, her ruthless ambition, the dark side of Hollywood, paparazzi, and more, Monique finds her entrancing and a woman who has been through it all… until she learns the truth.
I tried not to give any spoilers because there are so many points that could add more context to this story, but I honestly was riveted from the start. The story reminded me oddly of Beautiful Ruins by Jess Walters that I read last year. It has a similar theme of forbidden love in Hollywood and keeping it a secret.
But what really astounds me is how realistic the story felt, obviously Taylor Jenkins Reid did take inspiration from real life Hollywood actresses in the 50s and 60s, like I mentioned above. And the author did have a casting job in Hollywood which allowed her to write with such conviction about what goes behind the scenes that it is hard to differentiate fiction from reality.
It is weird in a way, how these characters do what they think is right in the moment, and you’re struggling to accept or understand their wrong/right actions. The character of Evelyn Hugo is so complicated you can’t truly figure her out. Also, the old school Hollywood glamour reminded me of movies like The Great Gatsby, The Chaperone and Rules Don’t apply. Even though I’m not a huge Hollywood buff I still found this book really interesting and time flew by while reading.
Onto the basics:
- Rating: 5.0/5.0
- Favourite quote: “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, how someone can love you in a way that is beautifully selfless while serving themselves ruthlessly”
- Reader level:
- Should you read: If you’re interested in Old Hollywood type novels.
- Would I read it again: I think not.
Till next time,