What it’s about (from Goodreads):
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 a very real connection to the legendary star, but as Evelyn’s story nears its conclusion, it becomes clear that her life intersects with Monique’s own in tragic and irreversible ways.
Everyone raved about this book when it came out in 2017. I saw the cover everywhere and I had put it on my TBR list. However, like a lot of books on my TBR it got buried and I read other things. However, randomly I was doing a TikTok filter that gave you a book you should read next. It is something so random but I thought it would be fun to try.
The book that came up was The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo. I took it as a sign that I should pick up the book that had been on my shelf for a few years. What I found inside was a story that took me by surprise and on a journey through old Hollywood.
Yes, Evelyn Hugo is a fictional actress. She never existed, but she was inspired by other starlets that lit up the silver screen. You can see likenesses of Elizabeth Taylor and Marilyn Monroe. She had scandals and was involved with leading men. I will also admit that I didn’t find her endearing and at times I called her a selfish bitch.
This book was not meant to make you fall in love with Evelyn. I think this book was really telling her story and all the mistakes and flaws we have as humans. We see what ambition did to someone who simply wanted a better life. We also see that everyone is capable of love but that it doesn’t always come easy and that it’s not always deserved. What we also learned is that life is short and sometimes you have to live in the moment.
Evelyn’s life was much like a dramatic film. There were so many times where I questioned when would it be enough? How much could a person take before they break? Evelyn certainly had her fair share of trauma, and as someone who has had their fair share it was at times very real.
There are some people who have read this book and said that there was nothing special about it and that it was simply just telling the story of Marilyn Monroe. I think I disagree. Yes, as I said before comparisons can be made but Evelyn is all her own. She had a lot of power in this book and she did wield it, even if it wasn’t well. This story was also partly a romance and all the ways you can love. She didn’t love to the best of her abilities and I think it was because her love was so flawed that I loved it so much.
Did I cry at the end of this book? Yes, I cried profusely. It moved me and the ending is bittersweet. It isn’t happy or sad, it ends and it’s a realistic ending. I am definitely glad that I listened to the filter that finally told me to read this book.