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.
The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo by Taylor Jenkins Reid
Publication Date: June 13, 2017 by Atria Books
Beer Pairing: New Belgium Brewery – Citradelic IPA
This is a stunning book – both in appearance and depth. I’ll admit that when I began reading The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo that I anticipated a “light” read, but was pleasantly surprised to find that Jenkins Reid tackles quite a few serious topics (identity being the frontrunner) in a way that made me want to stand up and applaud her by the last page.
Evelyn looks at me with purpose. “Do you understand what I’m telling you? 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. If you learn one thing from me, it should probably be that.”
Evelyn is a fascinating woman and it is clear from the very beginning that there are a lot of layers to her personality. As she begins to share intimate details from her life and her complicated relationships with men, those layers begin to unfold and the narrator is given a firsthand look at how issues of gender, sexuality, and identity (just to name a few) impacted her life and the choices she made along the way.
It’s always exciting when a book is able to speak to you on a personal level and without giving away details that spoil the element of surprise in this story, I can adamantly say that Reid’s story resonated with some of my own personal experiences in a way that I haven’t really encountered yet in other novels. While there are definitely layers of sadness to Evelyn’s biography, there is also a sense of empowerment by the end of the novel that proved the strongest message of all.
I would recommend this novel to anyone who is looking for a book that deals with strong, complicated female characters. The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo is such a necessary book for our current society and to essentially repeat what Jenkins Reid states in her dedication page, a reminder that it’s time to smash the patriarchy once and for all.