Posted in Reviews, The Sisters Recommend, Traveling Sisters in a Coulee Reviews

The Sisters Recommend: The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo by Taylor Jenkins Reid #travelingsistersread

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Photo taken by Kristin

One of our first Traveling Sisters Group reads almost a year ago was The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo and it a favorite of ours.  Kristin and Christina just recently read it and along with us they highly recommend it.

Goodreads Summary

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.

img_6430Kristin’s review

Brilliant! If I could recommend only one book for 2018, THIS would be it!

THE SEVEN HUSBANDS OF EVELYN HUGO not only surpassed my already-lofty expectations but knocked my proverbial socks off as it shot straight into the open arms of my favorites-shelf.

The spirit of this story mirrors its leading lady, Evelyn Hugo, in that it feelsgigantic and larger~than~life. I wanted to devour this whole, yet savor it in tiny pieces so I could linger with these characters whom I grew to admire for their extraordinary strengths and unabashed weaknesses.

The exceptionally beautiful, world-renowned Evelyn Hugo spent most of her life doing whatever it took to not only become Hollywood’s most iconic female movie star, but to remain planted in the fickle grip of fame and fortune.

Evelyn’s now up there in years and wants to tell her story. Not the story the public knows—her real story—the one that’s flooded with glamor, betrayal, secrets and deceit, and one hell of a complicated love story so intensely authentic it dares to bare it all, even the ugly. And I was so desperately in love with this love story.

This tale is delivered through the heart and eyes of a woman who’s desperate to be seen beyond her celebrity, and it takes an unflinching look at what it means to “make it”: The pride that follows success, and the trail of guilt that lingers for all those who were trampled and used on the way to the top.

But beneath the guise of fame, Evelyn’s story transcends, and its pieces resonate with all of us, as we can all see a bit of ourselves in her struggles and triumphs; love and loss; pains and pleasures.

Evelyn Hugo isn’t just a brilliant fictional character, she is a bold representation of life’s extravagant journey being stripped down to its most basic components—i.e., the only things that actually matter in life.

The mystery entwined in this one is taut and sophisticated as it carries the plot full circle, opening our eyes to all that is harsh and all that is sacred. I laughed, I cried, I enjoyed—and my heart was overflowing with love for all of it.

Taylor Jenkins Reid masters the art of storytelling and epitomizes the value of honesty, the significance of life, and the beauty in love of all forms. Her writing is polished and engrossing, sophisticated and sharp, witty, fluid, and I can go on…but most importantly, it has a voice that carries its messages straight into the heart of the reader.

This story stole my breath from its first pages right up until its final line, which was perhaps my favorite line of the novel. To say I couldn’t put this down would be an unjust understatement because I don’t think I’ll ever truly be able to put this one down.

Web_L151-2_blonde_blue-eyesFrom Christina’s review

Evelyn Hugo. She’s a magnetic, luscious, complicated and layered character beyond all reason. How Reid was able to fit such a huge personality into only 386 pages is honestly beyond me. I didn’t just want to read about Evelyn, I wanted to know her. I want to bask in her greatness, revel in her strengths and ponder her weaknesses and lessons with her.

EVELYN FREAKIN’ HUGO. Her story resonated with me and spoke lessons to me I didn’t even realize I needed. Evelyn simply wants what most of us doshe wants to be seen. It is an ache within in her that transcends the words on the page and nestles itself into the heart of the reader.

While this is told from Monique’s POV, Evelyn is the one weaving the tale. When Monique learns that Evelyn is ready to give a tell-all interview to her and her alone we see many parallels between these two women. Monique has her own lessons to learn, her own battles to fight and Evelyn unknowingly turns into a guiding light in Monique’s life.

Interspersed with the narrative are tabloid articles that describe what the public sees as the going-ons in Evelyns up and coming career back in her hay-day. I really enjoyed this as I think it highlighted societies obsession with celebrity. It’s easy to forget that despite the wealth and fortune – these are real people, with real struggles.

It was truly effortless to love Evelyn and this cast of characters. At its heart, this is a love story, a tale of redemption and a saga of loss and heartbreak. It tackles an insane amount of timely topics with a deft and delicate hand. Reid has truly outdone herself. 

This book left my heart breaking and mending at the same moment, my breath was unceasingly caught in my throat with the turn of each page. I am awestruck by Reid’s storytelling and her ability to craft such a layered, complex narrative while delivering stunning prose and lessons woven so seamlessly that you don’t even realize you’re learning about yourself until after it’s done.

This book. Who am I now? What do I do with my life in this new stage of After Evelyn. This is easily the newest member of my favorites shelf and my new go-to recommendation for other readers. This book isn’t hyped, it’s properly praised for the literary masterpiece it is. I’m now facing one of the worst book hangovers of my life because I’m not ready to say goodbye to Evelyn and her story. Reid crafted Evelyn’s character in a way that those around her could never get enough and she did so in such a spectacularly efficient way that readers won’t be able to either.

Evelyn always leaves you hoping you’ll get just a little bit more. And she always denies you

 

img_6384-1  From our Traveling Sisters Group Read Review

Taylor Jenkins Reid does a fantastic job creating and bringing together realistic, rich, diverse and well-developed characters to life that we all quickly loved and adored. Even some of the not well-loved characters brought some kind of lesson, insight, and wisdom into the story through all of the topics and situations that incurred throughout Evelyn’s life.

Taylor Jenkins Reid uniquely leads us through Evelyn’s life as she relays her life story to writer Monique which is told to us in husband sections. Through Evelyn’s telling we learn about Evelyn’s life that she shared with her seven husbands and we could see and feel her struggles, and how calculated yet graceful she was to keep herself in the limelight. We admired her determination and strength. Taylor Jenkins Reid does a great job weaving in so many different scenarios and topics within the storyline. We loved how we could see how vulnerable she was and how she refused to let that stop her to get what she wanted.

We all really enjoyed all the stories and each section of the husbands and their title and found them fitting to each husband. It was a very clever and unique way to introduce us to each husband.  We could really see how much Evelyn grows and learns something about herself through each of her husband’s and the relationship she had with them.

Taylor Jenkins Reid does a brilliant job of making Evelyn so real by deriving insight from her, giving her many words of wisdom. Throughout our discussion, we really enjoyed sharing her words of wisdom that we thought highlighted her story even more as we were reading.

The ending left a few of us teary-eyed and caught us all off guard as we never saw it coming. At times it felt a little over the top but it really worked for us and in the end, it left us wondering how many relationships, similar scenarios, and cover-ups really do happen in Hollywood.
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Have you read this one?  Want to read this one? Drop us a comment!  We would love to hear from you!

22 thoughts on “The Sisters Recommend: The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo by Taylor Jenkins Reid #travelingsistersread

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