The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo by Taylor Jenkins Reid
Rating: 5 out of 5 stars
This book has been such a phenomenon in the last year but strangely it has been mostly on the shores of the USA, in the UK I've heard fewer people talking about it and as a result as much as I waited and waited for my local library to get a copy it still remains elusive on the shelves. Finally, I decided I couldn't wait any longer and decided to go ebook on this one and I am so glad I did. It's one of those wonderful times when a books hype totally lives up to and exceeds your expectations.
Taylor Jenkins Reid gives us a sizzling tale of old Hollywood glamour as we follow ageing Hollywood movie star Evelyn Hugo as she approaches the age of 80, finally ready to share all on her life and seven marriages she asks for a young and unknown journalist to come and interview her in a tell-all exclusive. Through their time together Evelyn lifts the lid on her journey from Hell's Kitchen to Los Angeles and the things she did to climb the ladder of success in the movie business. From the days of the old studios who ruled the world to the modern world of movie making.
The character writing by Taylor Jenkins Reid in this book is exceptional. Her lead character of Evelyn Hugo itself is a complex one as she paints her as a woman happy to do whatever is needed to reach the top, even sleeping her way there but yet she is also a character for whom we feel immense compassion and respect and by the end of the novel it takes a while to remember that she is only a character in a book and not go running off to Wiki her online. The different marriages we are taken through in her own voice are each complex and fascinating to read about but it is the things that we don't expect about this book and that I won't disclose her for spoiler reasons that make it something truly magnificent.
I have been reading all fantasy all the time for some months now and this was a badly needed break and I devoured it. I flew through it because I simply could not put it down. We know that Evelyn's story is wrapped up in that of Monique her interviewer but we aren't sure how and we are teased throughout about how and why she asked the unknown Monique to write her story. It's a twist that when it comes is surprising and yet Taylor Jenkins Reid handles it beautifully and with compassion.
I cannot recommend this book highly enough. It was a beautiful, evocative and atmospheric story and didn't just make me understand why everyone else loved it but could very well be a book that stays with me for some time to come. A strong and early 2019 read that could very well be a top read of this year.