Evelyn grew up in the Devil’s Kitchen, but only wanted to fulfill her mother’s dream of being a world renown actress. After running away from her abusive father, she does just that. Monique is a journalist for Vivant, chosen specifically, for some unknown reason, by famous actress Evelyn Hugo to tell her story.
Why this book?: My friend Amelie loves this book with a passion that is almost concerning.
The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo is an amazing book, I have to give it that. I first heard about it through my friend Amelie’s love for it, and seeing how much it meant to her, I just had to give it a try. And, I do have to say that it lived up to my expectations. My problem, though, isn’t that it was bad or boring or anything, but just not a book for me.
Evelyn as a character was beautifully complex, and seeing all these different sides of her, from her point of view, from Monique’s point of view, and other character’s point of view, gave an intense image of Evelyn that is hard to let go of. Repeatedly, it is said that Evelyn is a woman who sees what she wants, and doesn’t stop until she’s got it. And that is shown in the novel multiple times. I guess, the ways she did get what she want is what put a damper on me loving this novel. Being a sex-avoidant ace made it hard to understand the nuance of sexuality in this novel better, and I often found myself skipping around the scenes where Evelyn got more than a little promiscuous. I’m not saying that that’s a bad thing, but just something I personally was uncomfortable with.
In addition to Evelyn being a well-rounded and deep character, we also got the story of a few of her close friends and family. I especially loved Harry, and how the two of them loved each other in a deeply platonic way. That made my little ace heart sing with joy, and made the above mentioned scenes a little easier to handle.
Probably the hardest part of this book for me to handle was the shifting back and forth between the past and present. I really enjoyed hearing about Evelyn’s past, but I honestly couldn’t care less about Monique and her marriage troubles. While I liked Monique as a character, I just didn’t enjoy her parts in the story. The switching back and forth made it hard for me to get into the story, because I was constantly going back and forth and back and forth and I just wanted to read the damn story.
Final Rating: ★★★☆☆
I really liked the story, but felt that it could have been spread out differently. It seemed like it delved deep into it in the beginning, but as the story went on there were more time skips and shallower scenes. At the end, I thought Evelyn was still 30-something, and it turned out she was 70-ish? The time just wasn’t well deigned, and it just never clicked in my head.
Would I Recommend?
Yes! Like I said earlier, the book was amazing, but probably just not for me. I’m not much of a reader of historical fiction, especially old Hollywood actress stories. I’m glad that I decided to try it, because I feel like I’m branching out more, but at the same time, I should have expected having this difficulty with the story.
Trigger warning for domestic abuse, drunkeness, sex, racism, slut shaming, d*ke slur, off-page rape, pressuring into sex, off-page discussed suicide, drunk driving, and more that I most likely missed. If you know of others, please let me know.
Published: June 13th, 2017
Publisher: Atria Books
Page Count: 391
Genre: Historical Fiction/Contemporary/Romance
Synopsis: via Goodreads
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.