I know, I know, I’m really late to the party for this book. I always like to say, it’s never to late to read a great book and it’s certainly always ok to talk about it!
Monique Grant is a writer for an entertainment magazine when she gets called into her boss’s office and is told that the famous screen star Evelyn Hugo wants to do a feature on some gowns she’s donating for charity, and she has asked specifically for Monique to write the story. When Monique meets Evelyn, she’s told that it’s actually not a feature that she wants her to write, it’s her memoir. As she tells the story of her life, and her many marriages, she reveals many things about herself but always holds back from telling Monique why she was chosen to tell this story …until the very end. The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo was as good as I’d hoped and as good as the hype. Alma Cuervo, Julia Whelan, and Robin Miles did an amazing job making me forget I was listening to a book and not watching a movie.
I really don’t want to spoil the story or what each of her marriages represent and how they molded Evelyn’s future. Instead I’m going to talk about impressions the book made on me.
This novel draws on many similarities from some famous marriages, the most famous of which was Elizabeth Taylor for her many marriages. As the narrators navigated through each husband and why Evelyn married that person, some for love, some for hype, one was her best friend, I couldn’t help but think if that was really common. With the advent of the internet, social media, and of how easy it is for a star to now engage with their public and change their image (Miley Cyrus’s most recent implosion of a marriage and self control comes to mind) it was fascinating to take this journey into the past when you had to manipulate people and the press. I didn’t mean to go on a tangent but I’ve always found that era fascinating and seeing this story through modern eyes puts a spin on what women and certain groups of that era might have had to do to make their way.
Evelyn’s life from childhood to mature woman was centered around her body image and what power that body could bring to her. I never realized how powerful a pair of breasts could be, it made me a tad bit uncomfortable to think that men could be so superficial. In an age where women had to balance their sexuality with an act of innocence so they didn’t appear a whore I guess those breasts would bring you a kind of power you wouldn’t normally be able to grasp as a woman in that time. Think of how Marilyn Monroe was lauded for her figure yet played the part of an airhead. It really puts into perspective how far the women’s movement has come, yet we are still experiencing inequality. Not that I’m an actress, but the whole Harvey Weinstein powermonger rapist opened my eyes to how the movie business even 5 years ago was still controlled by men of that ilk, but back to the book.
Monique’s tale about her own life is told in smaller snippets in between Evelyn’s monologue and we see her gain her own power through her negotiations with her magazine, as well as her relationship with her husband. She learns from Evelyn and even though there’s this secret of why she’s been chosen to write this memoir hanging over her head, you can see her admiration grow. It makes the reveal at the end even more impactful. I was looking for the answer to this secret Evelyn had hanging over Monique’s head and didn’t even come close to figuring it out. The story was wonderfully told, beautifully narrated, and shockingly good. My mom always says to never rush a good thing and I’m glad I waited to read this novel until all the hype had passed and nothing could spoil my pleasure. ❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️
Opinions from around the Blogosphere
“I just loved this book, plain and simple. I think it would make a fantastic book group choice, as there’s so much to mull over and think about. I’m pushing this book on a few key bookish friends so I can talk about it with them!” Bookshelf Fantasies
“I was in love with the setting, moving back and forth between Los Angeles and New York. Reading about the ’50’s-’90’s and how much everything has changed since then, it was hypnotizing and alluring. Having the whole story come together and wrap up in 2017 was just the absolute perfect bow-tie on top.” Hunida’s Blog
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