Monday 22 June 2020

The Seven Husbands Of Evelyn Hugo By Taylor Jenkins Reid Book Review

I thought I had an idea of what my top book of the year might be come the end of 2020. After reading The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo by Taylor Jenkins Reid, I'm now not so sure. I truly did not want this book to end.
The Seven Husbands Of Evelyn Hugo By Taylor Jenkins Reid Book held up over flatlay of various other books
'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 jump-start 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 clear connection to the legendary star, but as Evelyn's story nears its conclusion, it becomes clear that her life intersects with Monique's own in tragic and irreversible ways.'

My Review

I was really intrigued in how this was going to be set out and part of the reason I'd put off reading it for so long was because it almost came across as quite old fashioned just from the cover and the synopsis and I wasn't sure if it was going to be something I'd really get stuck into. It's not like anything I've read before but I can say now that it is one of the best books I have ever read, and I have read quite a few books over the last few years.

This story really gets going just after Evelyn requests Monique Grant, a journalist, to write her biography. She wants no one else and is adamant than only Monique must put her words on paper and tell people of the real Evelyn Hugo, not the one everyone knows from the big screen. The story is told from two different timelines and points of view. One from Monique interviewing Evelyn and piecing everything together for the biography and the other timelines from all of the different times throughout Evelyn's life from early childhood to going on to have seven husbands throughout her career. We also find out the true reason for Evelyn requesting Monique and her reasons for why now is the time she has to come clean about everything she's ever wanted to. Each chapter just flows seamlessly into the next and whilst there have been many books recently that have held my attention, this was like no other. I never, ever wanted it to end. I just wanted more. The plot is constantly evolving and changing and it just works like a dream.

Whilst I wasn't completely sure of Evelyn at the beginning, given almost immediately she comes across as quite cold and almost manipulative, I really warmed to her over time. As we uncover more about her early marriages, it becomes clear she was a woman that could never truly live the life she wanted to. She became famous very young, wasn't always surrounded by the best people and for a long time had to hide who she truly was. I felt for her and other characters in the book who were living lives that weren't always as they seemed in fear of what people might think otherwise. It showed that fame isn't always as spectacular and glamorous as you might expect and showed that during the 50's and later years too that if you put a foot out of line, it would be very hard to come back from it.

I'd never read anything from Taylor Jenkins Reid before this, despite hearing lots of praise about her because of this and also Daisy Jones & The Six, something else I'm keen to read now, but I'm so impressed by her writing. The whole book played out like a film in my head. I could imagine every single thing so vividly. I don't think there's a book that I've read before that has had such a way with story telling. It was genuinely like I was in each scene watching it play out, it was crazy at times how believable it all felt. I was lost in the lives of these Hollywood stars.

As I said at the beginning of this review, I wasn't expecting too much from this but it really surprised me when it went down a certain route. Whilst I don't want to spoil anything because I genuinely just want everyone to go and read this for themselves, I think it represented the LGBTQ+ community beautifully, just with such ease. In fact I think Taylor has approached each subject perfectly including race and misogyny too, just to name a few. Whilst the title leads you to believe it's all going to be about Evelyn's 7 husbands, it's so much more than that. When we dig deeper, we find out not all the marriages were as they seemed. Some were out of lust, some out of love and some out of convenience and much of the book was about just pure love for many other people in her life, not just the men.

I was utterly obsessed with Evelyn Hugo and everything about her life. This book will stay with me for a long time and I know I'll be re-reading it one day and loving it just as much as the first time. It's going to be tough picking my favourite books of the year when 2020 ends but I know this will be one of them, maybe even in the #1 spot too.

Have you read The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo?

Book reviews - Queenie by Candice Carty-Williams // Everything I Never Told You by Celeste NG

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Heather Nixon said...

I've heard nothing but fantastic things about this book x

Kelly~Diane said...

I haven't read this book but with such a fantastic review you've written, I really want to read it myself now.

Riana Ang-Canning said...

I have heard such good things about this book! I can't wait to read it!

Sarah Trademark said...

This sounds like a good book! 7 husbands though, hard enough with one haha xx

Sophie said...

This is on my TBR, I've heard nothing but fantastic things about this book this year so it's great to know you loved it too x


Hannah said...

I've not heard of this book before, but it sounds like such a great read. I really need to stop reading your book reviews as you make me want everything haha!xx

Hannah |

Tiffany Timms said...

It surprised me so much, I absolutely loved it x

Tiffany Timms said...

Thank you! Really hope you give it a read xx

Tiffany Timms said...

Hope you enjoy!

Tiffany Timms said...

Haha I know! She was such an interesting character xx

Tiffany Timms said...

Really hope you enjoy it! It was so so good xx

Tiffany Timms said...

Haha I've surprised myself with how much I've managed to read over the last few weeks! xx

Alice Myles said...

Oh I adored this book!! Daisy Jones and The Six is my favourite book of the year - Taylor Jenkins Reid is a marvel

Daniela said...

I loved this book! Well I loved everything I've read by Taylor Jenkins Reid so far (besides Evelyn, it was Daisy Jones and Evidence of the Affair) and I definitely want to read everything she has written! :- )


Vinn said...

I'll have this in mind. I haven't read Taylor Jenkins Reid book. I find the story fascinating. Thanks for the review!

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GWT said...

Now you've made me want to reach for this book. You know it's good when you can feel a part of and see the story play out in front of you.

A beautiful review.

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