The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo

Hardcover, 388 pages

English language

Published March 15, 2017 by Atria Books.

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4 stars (4 reviews)

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 …

7 editions

Review of 'The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo' on 'Goodreads'

4 stars

Reid performs a fun balancing act of switching viewpoint characters, as well as sprinkling in ephemera from the history of the fictional protagonist. It's a very smooth and easy read, a real page-turner. While there are surprises and twists, they all feel very well-earned. It's a story of love, a story of devotion, a story of ruthlessness and of generosity.

By the end of the book, I really wished that Evelyn Hugo had been a real person, such is Reid's ability to create real characters. Monique and Harry and Celia all feel fully-realized as well, and even the characters who barely get any "screen time" act like people. The dialog is snappy and I'd love to have a snarky conversation with Evelyn.

Recommended to anyone who likes books about people and social norms.

Review of 'The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo' on 'Goodreads'

3 stars

This is a (kind of) good book but it's not great. There is no depth of character even though you are given Evelyn Hugo's whole life story within the pages. Evelyn was a cardboard cutout (and unlikable) and all you really know about her can be summed up in a few sentences. Just somewhat above ok-ish truthfully.

I liked the old Hollywood setting though. I liked the period of time it brought back to life-when America worshipped movie stars, bought magazines to catch up on the latest gossip, went to theaters to watch their favorite stars perform. It really was a big deal back in the 40s to about the mid 70s. Movie studios controlled the artists' lives back in the earlier days and would manipulate and curate the artists' persona, love life, artistic choices, fashion. Cover up messes and hide scandals, too. I grew up at the tail end …

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4 stars