In brief: Evelyn Hugo is a Hollywood legend, but she only wants to give an interview to Monique, a junior writer. Why? As Evelyn discusses her past, Monique makes parallels with her own life. But they are linked in an unexpected way…
The good: I love Taylor Jenkins Reid’s books – always such a great story and so emotional.
The not-so-good: I really wish that it was easier to find her books in Australia!
Why I chose it: I returned my library book and it was there on the new releases shelf – fate!
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Setting: Mainly America
Rating: 9 out of 10
I’m not sure who introduced me to Taylor Jenkins Reid’s books, but I’m so glad they did. We don’t hear too much about them in Australia, which is a bit sad because she’s an awesome author who creates stories that lead to a super emotional response from the reader. She’s made me ugly cry, gasp in astonishment and stare in disbelief. Why do I put myself through that, I hear you ask? I do it because there’s always some sunshine at the some end. No matter how tortured the characters are, they will grow and learn from the experience, leading to better times.
So when I popped in to return a library book, I simply HAD to borrow this book to read. I got all excited, hoping that there were more Taylor Jenkins Reid books on the shelf, but alas there wasn’t. Hopefully this copy will start a revolution! Of course, The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo does not disappoint. (And how could it, just look at that cover?!) The story covers some of my favourite things in books, old school Hollywood, struggling writers and New York City. It also has a dual timeline, going from present day New York back to the 1950s land of movies and stars, Hollywood. Evelyn Hugo is a character that doesn’t disappoint, whether you like her, loathe her or sway between the two. She’s old school Hollywood, from the glamour, scandal (seven husbands!) and the universal love by America. Well, that’s what Monique thought. Monique’s a struggling writer for a top notch magazine and Evelyn Hugo is prepared to give her first interview in years, asking for Monique by name. Why? Nobody knows, including Monique herself. But when Monique meets Evelyn, she admits she lured Monique under false pretences. Evelyn wants Monique to write her memoirs, promising all will be revealed as she tells her story.
Evelyn’s story is revealed to Monique and the reader at the same time. Nothing is left out, from her arrival in Hollywood presenting as a young wife (but a determined star in the making on the inside). There’s the pain of her divorces and losing her dearest friend. But what the world wants to know is, who was the love of Evelyn’s life? The answer will be surprising, but that’s only the start of things as Monique’s link to Evelyn becomes clear…
I think you might have guessed, but I adored this story with my heart. The brutal honesty of Evelyn and why she did what she did was refreshing. I liked how she said she would do it all again, from the minor things to the major ones. She wasn’t afraid to be a rebel most of the time and only hid things to protect loved ones. The strength she lives Monique is almost palpable. Monique is much more secondary to Evelyn, but her story is quietly powerful. The power to move on, grow up and assert yourself. Both are strong women in completely different ways. Taylor Jenkins Reid sure knows how to write great female characters!
I couldn’t put this book down and eagerly looked forward to reading more and more. So get out to your local bookshop, ask for it or request it at your local library Aussies!