Book Title: The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo
Author: Taylor Jenkins Reid
Genre: Historical fiction, Celebratory gossip
Published Date: June 13, 2017
Rating: 4 stars
Challenges: Modern Mrs. Darcy (Recommended by Someone with Great Taste), Goodreads (#1 0f 68), Popsugar (Book I Meant to Read in 2017 but Didn’t)
I first heard about “The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo” by Taylor Jenkins Reid on “What Should I Read Next” last June and it finally came out from behind the hold curtain on my library’s Overdrive. (I also believe that it was a Book of the Month Club selection choice.) I knew that this would be my first read for 2018 (though I was still in the midst of “The Goldfinch” and “From the Mixed Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler”).
It was such a long time ago that I really didn’t remember what about this selection sounded like it would be for me. Nevertheless, I happy to report that it was.
When I first started the book, I had in my mind a mental image of Elizabeth Taylor…well after all she was married seven times so it was a very natural happenstance. However, the similarity ended with the husband quantity. Evelyn Hugo was nothing like Elizabeth Taylor in looks or upbringing.
Here’s the hook of the book: The former film icon decides that it is high time to share the intimate details of her life. There are a lot of skeletons in her boudoir closet and thus she reaches out to a high-end magazine, and specifically a fairly new to the publication writer, Monique Grant. Early on, we find out that the telling of Evelyn’s life story comes at a prize with strings attached for Monique. Nothing to fear…it all works out and we are soon on the journey to find out how a woman with a Cuban heritage refashions herself into a blonde bombshell and movie siren.
Chapters are devoted to each of Evelyn’s husbands: who the man was, how they met and the why of the marriage. It comes as no surprise as we come to understand Evelyn that marriage was not necessarily about love in her book: more often than not it was a stepping stone for career growth, a business contract and also to cover deep-rooted secrets.
Initially, it read like a celebrity tell-all. But that fortunately, it evolved into a story that was so much more. The characters are very finely drawn and there are definitely individuals you like and cheer for, and those you would like to throttle. The author gives the reader many questions/answers and themes to ponder as we journey forth through Evelyn’s life along with the personality evolution and awakening of her future biographer, Monique.
I was pleasantly surprised with this novel, and I am sure this will not be my last book by Taylor Jenkins Reid. And even though I just finished reading “The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo,” I have a sneaky feeling that the story and characters will stay with me for quite sometime…suffice to say they get under your skin.