The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo by Taylor Jenkins Reid

The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo by Taylor Jenkins Reid

4.21  ·  Rating details ·  12,261 Ratings  ·  2,133 Reviews
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.
The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo by Taylor Jenkins Reid download or read it online for free here
The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo
by Taylor Jenkins Reid

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.



Reviews


Evelyn Hugo going to tell me just enough to keep me on the edge of my seat but never enough to truly reveal anything?


I can't say for sure what drew me to this book. It's not the kind of thing I usually pick up, and I haven't read anything by Reid before. But something about it intrigued me. So I checked out the kindle sample. Just a couple chapters, I figured, because I probably wouldn't like it anyway. And I was HOOKED.

It's perfect, easy beach read material. It's not particularly deep, it does not take the genre to new levels or make you think about something new, and yet it DID feel different. Evelyn Hugo's story was so delicious and compelling that it stood out, and kept me turning pages in a desperate need to discover the stories behind her seven husbands, and the answer to the one question everyone wants to know: who was her greatest love?

The framing of the story reminded me a lot of The Thirteenth Tale. Like that book, in The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo, a young woman - this time an ambitious journalist called Monique Grant - goes to interview an elderly woman. Unlike The Thirteenth Tale, this elderly woman happens to be one of the most famous actresses in the world.

Evelyn Hugo has lived a life in the public eye, but she is full of secrets. Only she knows what happened behind the scenes in her long career of scandals and highly-publicized heartbreaks. Just like the fictional world of the book longed to know the truth-- so did I. Reid and Evelyn's habit of giving you just enough to leave you wanting more was incredibly exciting. Throughout, we are encouraged to wonder why someone like Evelyn Hugo would specifically request a relatively-inexperienced journalist like Monique. Why Monique? What is Evelyn hiding?

The more I got to know Evelyn, the more I fell in love with her. She has made a lot of controversial decisions during her career, but she knows it and she also knows she'd probably do it all again. She's played the Hollywood game, dated famous men to further her career, and used her body to get what she wants. She has experienced the full force of the industry's sexism and, in some ways, capitalized on it. She is deeply flawed and aware of it. She has traded important aspects of her identity for more fame, more roles, more money. She was a badass Cuban woman working in an industry that didn't like women to be badass or Cuban. She manipulated and she lied. Despite everything, I liked her.

I stayed fully engrossed in the story of Evelyn Hugo - and of Monique Grant - from the opening chapters when Evelyn demanded an interview with only Monique, through decades of Hollywood in all its shimmering ugliness, right until the ending's final reveals. I enjoyed every moment.
***********************************************************************************
Evelyn Hugo, born Evelyn Elena Herrera, daughter of Cuban immigrants, grew up poor in Hell's Kitchen neighborhood of New York City. By 1955 she was in Hollywood.
Evelyn is beautiful....as tall and slim as a ballerina, with straight thick eyebrows, oversize almond shape eyes, blonde hair, ( dyed only after she arrives in Hollywood to help her get acting roles), rich, powerful, charming, and exudes a casualness and confidence that makes her all the more radiating.
This enchanting lovely woman was humble - down to earth in areas that mattered. Yes, she had seven husbands, too!

I was quickly bewitched, fully captivated by Evelyn Hugo. It was her calm wisdom - humble but direct speaking that moved me. She made a distinction about words and how they can be misleading, that made me want to SCREAM OUT AND SAY THANK YOU FOR THAT!!!!!!
There was a scene early in the book where it was very clear how one word could induce shame. Words really can hurt and paint evil pictures.... preaching...assumptions before asking.... sarcasm.....etc.
I sat and thought about all the times people have used words - not chosen them carefully - and as a result I'd feel hurt or belittled. I'm no better. I also thought about times I did the same to others. Words do hurt and damage the spirit- and the trust of relationships. Ms. Hugo, 79 year old Hollywood legend, handled those 'wrong words' with grace, correcting - teaching- inspiring her new-friend at the time while having compassion for 'herself'. Her purpose was not to hurt her friend who spoke the wrong words - but also not to allow for the misleading word to be, "misleading".
I started reading 'slower' ( wanting to take in every word out of Evelyn Hugo's mouth), when I realized this Hollywood notable Starlett was sincerely deserving- and worthy of the fans she has -- a celebrity to love!!!
I soon discovered this classy gorgeous woman had acute self-awareness, high levels of emotional intelligence, clearly socially aware, and relentlessly lived a full life of many experiences filled with joy and challenges.
I felt like I was given a gift - absorbing wisdom from this 79 year old woman. Her life experiences were fascinating, glamorous, scandalous and she herself was .....*extraordinary*. I was learning from this fictional character.

Monique Grant, Evelyn's new friend, 35 years old, is an unknown reporter at 'Vivant', in Los Angeles. Evelyn wants Monique to write a book about her life story. Everyone in the journalism community- including Monique's boss, Frankie, were shocked that Evelyn asked for Monique. ONLY Monique -- or no deal at all!!! There are some complications for Monique to figure out with work--plus her husband, David just left her....( not even married a full year), but her life is about to change.

Why did Evelyn pick Monique to write her book? We wonder right away!!!
We also want to know about Evelyn's life - her husband's - and which one she loved the most. We have many questions as we take this journey-- and it's delicious- with many insightful life lessons and messages.

Intimacy - closeness - trust - and real friendship grows as Monique listens to Evelyn's life story. Monique is past the point of remaining objective. She knows how specular of a human being Evelyn is. Against all of her journalistic integrity Monique feels a full range of emotions for her.
Monique begins to feel a deep connection and love with Evelyn. There are many juicy stories that get revealed about Evelyn's past marriages, relationships, and movies she stars in, "Father and Daughter", "Little Women", and the title role in "Anna Karenina", however when Evelyn begins to share about her present day life......a secret door becomes unhinged. Both women will have to face the truth together.

My final words.... THIS NOVEL IS EARTH SHATTERING FABULOUS- FANTASTIC -WONDERFUL -soooooo GOOD I can barely stand it!!!!!! It's 'not' what you think it is!!!!!!
I laughed, I cried, and thankful that this book kept me cozy company while sick in bed!!!!!

Many Thanks Atria Books, Netgalley, Jamie, ( my friend who demanded I 'not' wait for the audiobook book as planned - that I RUN over to Netgalley and begged for this book and then drop everything and start reading if given the opportunity -- bless you Jamie Girl.... and last to Taylor Jenkins Reid... ( you really out-did yourself with this novel... amazing!!!! Love You for it!!)
***********************************************************************************
The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo is a 2017 Atria Books publication.

A story so well written I had to remind myself it was a work of fiction.


The cleverly titled novel appealed to my interest in old Hollywood, the scandals and cover-ups the public never had the slightest clue existed.


Evelyn Hugo is a faded movie star in advanced years who has decided to write her life story- a deliciously scandalous tell all with a sharp focus on her seven marriages.

To help with this task, she lures Monique Grant to her home under false pretenses, but soon seduces her into agreeing to take the job, by making her an offer she couldn’t resist.

The story moves slowly at first while Evelyn settles into her story and Monique learns how to handle Evelyn, often using Evelyn’s own advice against her to gain leverage.


But, once they have come to an understanding, Evelyn’s story takes center stage and what a story it was.



The first question Monique asked Evelyn is:

‘Who was the great love of your life?'

It seems like a reasonable enough question, considering Evelyn’s numerous marriages, but it turns out to be much more complicated than what it may seem on the surface.

I admit, I sat literally spellbound and mesmerized by Evelyn and her turbulent life as an actress and movie star, and the amazing twists and turns her life took in search of personal peace, love, and contentment. Her storytelling was an Academy Award performance.

Evelyn made concessions along the way to fame, allowing herself to be recreated by erasing her Cuban heritage and features, as well as leaving her first husband for a chance at fame and fortune.

Her love life takes many twists and turns as does her career, but what the public witnessed was nothing at all like what went on behind closed doors. Her life was like the old Hollywood is all ‘smoke and mirrors’ adage personified.

While Monique is the interviewer, her life and background deserves a close look. She is depressed over her failed marriage and her seemingly dead -end position at work. This gig is worth the incredible risk she takes, but she could never have guessed the monumental impact Evelyn Hugo would have on her life.

Naturally, I thought of Elizabeth Taylor and her many marriages, but the story also had a hint of Marilyn Monroe’s humble beginnings as well. However, a few of Evelyn's leading men mimicked or could have been modeled after real movie stars from that era as well.

But, the most significant points come from the relationships Evelyn developed, outside of the public eye, and how they managed to keep the situation a secret for so many years.

Each husband is given their own chapter with a special title that applies to them personally or to Evelyn’s relationship or opinion of them.

I disliked many of them, and really loved others, as did Evelyn. But beware of Evelyn’s spin on things. She is determined to tell this tale her way and her outlook is often a matter of perspective.

As things progress, I began to see how Evelyn’s influence on Monique begins to take hold. She gives good advice even if it sounds selfish, greedy, or cold. She didn’t get to be the great ‘Evelyn Hugo’ without some verve.

Although there are strong passages regarding sexuality, and the hidden secret lives people were forced to resort to in those days, for me, the powerful transformation Monique undergoes under Evelyn’s tutelage is what sticks with me the most.

Now, this story could have worked as a fictional tell all from Hollywood’s golden age, but there are a couple of 'Fasten your seatbelts, it's going to be a bumpy night'moments you won’t see it coming, which left me utterly speechless and completely flabbergasted. My emotions exploded in a million different directions at that point.

The conclusion is riddled with rich bittersweet irony, but couldn't have been more fitting.

Overall, this is an incredibly well written story, very atmospheric, multi-layered, thought provoking, and utterly hypnotizing. Someday, I would like to re-read this one so I can absorb all those nuances I missed leading up to that stunning conclusion.

This one was so good I had a little book hangover for a couple of days. Highly recommend!!
***********************************************************************************
So here is a little secret.....when I travel via plane, I make a b-line to the sundries shops in the airports to read the 'rag' magazines. I will stand in there and read a bunch of them cover to cover. I love it.
Something about those juicy stories that you think 'they can't be true, right', something about getting the glimpse of the stars and the outrageous stories, it's a guilty pleasure. Reading this one by Talylor Jenkins Reid, gave me that same wonderful, guilty pleasure feeling. But this one, I enjoyed so much more.

This was my first Traveling Sister Group Read and it was so much fun discussing this one with everyone. Here you learn the life story of starlet Evelyn Hugo. From when she was very young living in NYC, to making her move to Hollywood, and through her yes, seven husbands. It was quite the scandalous read. When I saw early review of this one, I was hooked. And that cover...gorgeous. I don't want to say too much other than to read this one. It truly was a great read that kept me enthralled the entire time. I listened while on the exercise bike and just didn't want to get off, I wanted to keep listening. The audio was very good, winning an ear phones award, and the voice of Evelyn just drew me in like she was talking to me. Not normally the type of book I read. But every now and then, you need a juicy story, that almost borders on 'chick lit'. (Is that wrong to say?) So glad I read this one.
***********************************************************************************
4.5 Stars!

Traveling Sisters Group Read which I read along with Brenda, Holly, PorshaJo, Jennifer and my Mom, Linda! It was another awesome experience to read THE SEVEN HUSBANDS OF EVELYN HUGO with this wonderful group of ladies. Thank you everyone who participated in this group read!

THE SEVEN HUSBANDS OF EVELYN HUGO by TAYLOR JENKINS REID was a surprisingly good read for me that I thoroughly enjoyed from start to finish! It was a fun, wicked, and an absolutely engaging read!

Highly recommend this glamorous, scandalous, touching, and emotional saga!
Source: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/32620332-the-seven-husbands-of-evelyn-hugo

No comments:

Post a Comment