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Apr 20, 2018

The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo

Friday, April 20, 2018

The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo by Taylor Jenkins Reid
Washington Square Press (June 13, 2017)
borrowed from the library

In this entrancing novel “that speaks to the Marilyn Monroe and Elizabeth Taylor in us all” (Kirkus Reviews), a legendary film actress reflects on her relentless rise to the top and the risks she took, the loves she lost, and the long-held secrets the public could never imagine.
Aging and reclusive Hollywood movie icon 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 is more astounded than Monique herself. Why her? Why now?
Monique is not exactly on top of the world. Her husband has left her, and her professional life is going nowhere. Regardless of why Evelyn has selected her to write her biography, Monique is determined to use this opportunity to jumpstart her career.
Summoned to Evelyn’s luxurious apartment, Monique listens in fascination as the actress tells her story. From making her way to Los Angeles in the 1950s to her decision to leave show business in the ‘80s, and, of course, the seven husbands along the way, Evelyn unspools a tale of ruthless ambition, unexpected friendship, and a great forbidden love. Monique begins to feel a very real connection to the legendary star, but as Evelyn’s story near its conclusion, it becomes clear that her life intersects with Monique’s own in tragic and irreversible ways.

This is an intriguing look at what could be going on behind the scenes in Hollywood -- think of Elizabeth Taylor and her many husbands and celebrity status through the years. This is a similar story but entirely fictional. And while I would not normally pick this type of story up to read, our book club had recommended it and I put it on my list at the library to hold for me when it became available.

It's a story within a story as Evelyn tells Monique the writer/journalist the sordid details of her life as she beds and weds various other power players she comes across during her movie making years. A novel that easily can be misconstrued as a light women's fiction read, it's really a story about how women can empower themselves to be the best that they strive to be. The relationships of the women shine a light on provocative themes such as homosexuality and divorce but also deal with everyday issues that we all deal with on a daily basis. I was very intrigued with all the people of Evelyn's life and the novel was very well written and even thought provoking. Complete with an ending I didn't see coming, but knew there was something there that was going to come out but this little twist was awesome and well done.

I don't really categorize this as historical fiction (debates as to whether one's life story can be historical when looking back) - but this title was nominated as a Goodreads Choice Award for Historical Fiction for 2017 and for Book of the Month/Year 2017.

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