Book Review: The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo

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Thank you to Simon & Schuster Canada for sending the advanced reading copy of The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo. Once I sat down yesterday to read, I found I really couldn’t stop – so absorbed was I in Evelyn’s story, how exactly and why she came to have those seven husbands, and become the powerhouse sex symbol she was in those glamorous Hollywood days. I read the bulk of this in just one day!

Aging and reclusive Hollywood movie icon Evelyn Hugo is finally ready to tell the truth about her glamorous and scandalous life.

I did see this was available in audio, and it did have a multi-narrator cast, with great narrators like Robin Miles and Julia Whelan – but now, after reading, I think I enjoyed this more the reading experience more from the paper version.  Being able to see and read the sections written up like they were in the tabloid pages, the gossip rag news and the letters, gave a greater sense of being in that time period, in that element. I really liked how the Evelyn would tell her part of the story, and how that particular event was then profiled in the gossip news. Also, it seemed to be better, or easier, to see where it would break from Evelyn’s point of view to switching to Monique’s.

Monique is given the plumb assignment of a lifetime when “the” Evelyn Hugo calls up Vivant magazine requesting specifically Monique for an exclusive interview with the aging movie icon. Vivant and Monique think she will be giving an interview concerning her auctioning off some of her most famous gowns. Instead, Evelyn informs Monique she wants to come clean, tell the truth, the complete truth to Monique, and she is to in turn sell this biography to the highest bidder. But why Monique?

Evelyn Hugo is certainly a study in contrasts – after sitting down to record Evelyn’s memoirs, Monique realizes she’s a person you hate, but can’t help admire.  Evelyn is a strong woman, there is no doubt about that, but is she painfully self-absorbed and selfish too? Everything she does is to make sure her star will rise no matter how many times, or how many people she hurts in the process. It’s her way or no way. Evelyn feels she does this for solely for her survival and for the protection of her one true and great love, but you start to wonder / distance yourself from her sometimes because she only sees what she wants, not how other people are affected or hurt by her actions. She also does a great job of exposing the way it truly is in Hollywood – the falseness, the loneliness, how cutthroat it can be. It’s a great read if you’re reading for Pride month too. The multitude of issues and secrets surrounding sexuality in Hollywood is finely presented. All of these secrets and scandals make for some great reading!

When Evelyn comes to the end of telling her story, she throws Monique with a major revelation that affects her personally and she is now left with making painful decisions of her own, and again exposing Evelyn’s selfishness and treacherous behaviour.

I thought a great companion book would be June by Miranda Beverly-Whittemore. I read June last summer and like it, The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo is a great summer read! And here is Miranda Beverly-Whittemore saying this about Evelyn Hugo:

The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo has big, juicy secrets at its heart– not just about the surprising identity of movie star Evelyn Hugo’s true love, but of the lengths she has gone to protect that mysterious lover. Brimming with heartache, betrayal, and a lifetime of Hollywood gossip, this raucous novel will seduce you even as it leaves you wanting more. ~Miranda Beverly-Whittemore, New York Times bestselling author of Bittersweet and June

Thanks once again to Simon & Schuster Canada for the paperback ARC! As always, it’s greatly appreciated!

Another great companion read to The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo could also be A Touch of Stardust by Kate Alcott. It too captures all the glamour and secrets of those old glamourous days in Hollywood.