Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Book Review: The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo, by Taylor Jenkins Reid

Evelyn's mood turns a bit darker. "I'm not a good person, Monique. Make sure, in the book, that that's clear. That I'm not claiming to be good. That I did a lot of things that hurt a lot of people, and I would do them over again if I had to."

"I don't know," I say. "You don't seem so bad, Evelyn."

"You, of all people, are going to change your mind about that," she says. "Very soon."

I'm going to be honest and say that Taylor Jenkins Reid is one of my favorite authors nowadays, so when I was able to get my hands on a very early e-galley of her newest novel, I was quite happy. The good news is, this novel is just as good as her previous ones, and it was quite a compelling read.

Official synopsis:
Book Review: The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo, by Taylor Jenkins Reid
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.

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.

Throughout this novel, I was sort of picturing a Marilyn Monroe look for Evelyn (and the cover seems to suggest that as well). Evelyn has a lot of secrets, and I liked how the author went back and forth between her point of view (as told to Monique) and what was going on in Monique's life.

As with all of Jenkins Reid's books, this novel explores different facets of relationships - the difference between this and her previous books, however, is that although we do take a quick look at Monique and her impending divorce, the focus is on Evelyn, and the seven husbands she acquired over the entirety of her acting career.

In addition, Evelyn kept cautioning Monique that "(you) won't like me by the time this is done," and she was right. I figured that Monique had an unknown connection to Evelyn, somehow, but the twist at the end was one I did not see coming.

I would love to see this book made into a movie at some point, too - my cast for that adaptation would be:

-Monique - Zoe Kravitz - she's a little young for the role (Monique is in her mid to late 30's, I believe) but would be great in it.
-(Present-day) Evelyn - Helen Mirren
-(Flashbacks) Evelyn - Blake Lively - I loved her in Gossip Girl as well as The Age of Adaline.
-(Flashbacks) Celia - Amanda Seyfried

The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo will be available for purchase on June 17, 2017. Click here to pre-order on Amazon.

4.5 stars out of 5.

*Disclosure: I received an e-galley of this book from NetGalley for reviewing purposes. The opinions expressed here, however, are my own.


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