Hi everyone, I’m so happy to write here again even if I’m not sure to remember how to process ahah, but I’m gonna try my best. Today I wanted to talk about a beautiful book I finished a few days ago. I used to see it on Booktok and every single time, people gave it five stars and said it was a little masterpiece. I didn’t need more to want to read it so I was delighted when a friend sent me The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo by mail for my birthday. I already knew the author, Taylor Jenkins Reid because I wanted to read Daisy Jones and the six before (and I’m going to buy it very soon). Anyway, this book was just incredible and I’ll tell you why.
ps : I’m french so I probably made some english mistakes, sorry about that !
s u m m a r y
Aging and reclusive Hollywood movie icon Evelyn Hugo is finally ready to tell the truth about her glamorous and scandalous life.
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—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.
A heartbreaking love story
Let’s be clear, this book is beautiful but so heartbreaking ! The story is not just about the career of the great and iconic Evelyn Hugo and her seven marriages, it’s deeper, it’s about her tumultuous and flawed real love story that nobody suspected because because Evelyn hide it so well. Because, yes, when you were as famous as Evelyn, there are some things you couldn’t reveal to the world…When I started my reading, I tried to anticipate but I failed ahah. Obviously I can’t say too much if I don’t want to spoil anything but I really loved to see a relationship like this. It was pure, powerful but so complicated for many reasons and I appreciated this complexity because I think it reflects a truth, especially at this period. It was not exaggerated, simply authentic.
The price to pay to be a star
Honestly I really enjoyed the fact that we’re immersed in the Hollywood of the 50s until 80s. It feels like it’s a world apart and I imagined men looked like James Dean, Cary Grant or Marlon Brando while women were all like Marilyn Monroe (I suspect the author to have been inspired by her btw), Audrey Hepburn or Sophia Loren. I loved the atmosphere and the way the author depicts it as a tough world. Because, yes, it’s glorious and dreamy but we realized through the story of Evelyn that it’s also cruel, especially for women but not only. At this time, you couldn’t be who you really were if you didn’t fit the mores, everything was monitored. In this way, we have a depiction of a really narrow-minded society which can be disappointing but unfortunately accurate. This novel is undoubtedly about sacrifice and that’s why I find the story about her husbands so powerful.
One of the main point of the story is obviously the journey of Evelyn to become the legendary actress that she is. And in the book, a thing is highlighted : she lives in a man’s world. We understand this thing the moment Evelyn starts her story and even it is frustrating, it’s fascinating. She did all she needed to climb the ladder and she succeed, but at what cost ?
The fact the author integrates articles of newspaper like Hollywood Digest or Sub Rosa also brings a little more credibility. It gives rhythm and fluidity to the novel, I loved it !
First, I absolutely wanted to talk about Harry Cameron because this character is so amazing. I love him with all my heart, he was a real guardian angel for Evelyn. So truthful, so kind. They were…you know, kind of soulmates and I was moved by their beautiful long lasting relationship. Even when pain and sadness hit Harry at some point in the book, he never mistreated Evelyn and made sure to be here for her, what a man ♡
Taylor Jenkins Reid did an amazing job for the characters and their development. They feel so real, all of them, and it’s one of the thing that make the book amazing and moving. They are nuanced and developed enough for us to have the feeling this story is realistic.
I think Max was a particular interesting one, what do you think ?
Evelyn is obviously, amazingly complex and impressive. She’s brave, talented and loving with her entourage. I think she’s one of the most striking character I’ve ever meet in a book. She’s extraordinary but of course, not perfect and she knows it, she claims it and it’s just impossible to hate her when we know all she’s been through. Furthermore, I loved the fact she was Cuban and the frail link she has with hers origins. This book has representation, thank you !
The characters are so realistic that I wanted to see the movies of Evelyn and Celia and then I remembered they don’t exist !! However it made me want to discover 50s/60s’ movies (if you have any suggestion, go for it).
Side story of Monique
This book is so surprising in all the ways possible because beside the story of Evelyn, we learn that it is linked to Monique’s, this mid-thirty journalist who was chosen do to the interview and what a plot ! Once again, I can’t say too much but it was mind-blowing !
I created an aesthetic for the book with one of my favorite citation. (if you use it, please mentions me)
I feel like I didn’t do justice to the book with my article but I hope you got why it is amazing. I loved all the reflexions that come with the novel, it’s deep, moving, authentic, the characters and the storyline surprising and meaningful…What are you waiting for ?
And if you’ve read it, tell me everything, did you like it ?