The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo

A Novel
Length: 12 hrs and 10 mins
Categories: LGBT, Romance
4.5 out of 5 stars (8,146 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

2018 Audie Award Finalist for Multi-Voiced Performance

From Taylor Jenkins Reid, "a genius when it comes to stories about life and love" (Redbook), comes an unforgettable and sweeping novel about one classic film actress' relentless rise to the top - the risks she took, the loves she lost, and the long-held secrets the public could never imagine.

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 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 jump-start 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 - 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. 

Written with Reid's signature talent for "creating complex, likable characters" (Real Simple), this is a fascinating journey through the splendor of Old Hollywood into the harsh realities of the present day as two women struggle with what it means - and what it takes - to face the truth. 

©2017 Rabbit Reid, Inc. All rights reserved. (P)2017 Simon & Schuster, Inc. All rights reserved.

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Five Out of Seven Ain't Bad

Evelyn Hugo was a bombshell movie star in the 1950s and 60s whose career as a celebrity carried on past her prime as an actress. An amalgam of real-life stars like Elizabeth Taylor, Rita Hayworth, Marilyn Monroe, and bits of pieces of others, Evelyn Hugo used her physical attributes and street smarts to get to the top, stay on top (mostly), and get back on top when she fell into decline.

A master manipulator who made no bones about it, she knew how to use everyone around her to get her way -- producers, directors, fellow actors, Hollywood media, even neighbors, and most especially her husbands. And to keep her secrets. Even in her last days, in the present day, when she has recused herself from the limelight, Evelyn manipulates the media to reveal her most closely held secrets.

This is without question a fun book. If you like movies, especially the glamorous era in which Evelyn Hugo rose to stardom, this is manna from heaven. You'll be guessing throughout the proceedings as to who Evelyn represents in real life, who the people around her might have been in real life. And you'll even get some thematic depth on a couple of currently relevant topics in addition to the potboiler of a plot.

For me personally, the story faltered slightly in two ways. After a flawless first two-thirds, the last third grew repetitive, as Evelyn started making the same mistakes again. The first four or five husbands were (collectively) a great story, the last couple-three husbands were kind of a shrug. The final reveal perks things up again, but by then the book is just about over.

The other problem is the very thematic depth that makes the book more than just a mindless beach read. In the two main areas of interest (not going to give them away), I was nagged by how Evelyn dealt with them -- one by hiding her her in the sand to protect her career, the other by taking advantage of a situation that many would find heinous to further her fortunes. In addition, there were prominent issues of the era, within the film business and in the world at large, that are virtually ignored.

But that's probably just me -- if you like this kind of thing, you'll love this.

52 people found this helpful

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Wonderful Read!!

Very complicated character with many faults & bad traits yet you can't help but love & feel sorry for her at the same time.
Shed a few tears during the course of the story.....
First time I've read this author but not the last!

21 people found this helpful

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Taken to Hollywood and never wanted to return!

There aren't words enough to describe how much I loved this audiobook. It hasn't been this difficult for me to put one down in forever, and even as I wasn't listening, I was still thinking of the story and its characters, wondering where it was all leading and what would come next. Alma Cuervo's voice fit perfectly as Evelyn, and as she told the tales of her life, I was enthralled. This book has been the highlight of my reading summer, and I would recommend it to anyone fascinated by Old Hollywood.

22 people found this helpful

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Supreme storyline

The only thing about this book that didn't ring true was the fact it was fiction. It was very interesting from beginning to end. It has a real kicker at the end. You'll never see it coming. It's worth more than one listen.

15 people found this helpful

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Captured once again

I have to admit that I'm once captured by a Taylor Jenkins Reid books...the story was captivated and real and strong...i wanna to cry for Evelyn, her life and the ones she loves...Is beautifully written and addictive...
The narrative and the narrators are just perfect..

25 people found this helpful

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Glucose Gluttony


Paraphrasing a quote attributed to Abe Lincoln: 'For those who like this kind of a book, it is just about the kind of a book they would like.'

This was a significant failure in my vetting process, plain and simple.

While reading this novel, over and over I winced or rolled my eyes at the soppy prose that brought to mind the picture of one being force-fed a huge jar of crystallized honey (left in the pantry for the past year plus). I love honey, but crystallized...no, no way. E.g.,

'I loved you so much, that I thought you were the meaning of my life... I thought that people were put on Earth to find other people, and I was put on Earth to find you. To find you, and touch your skin, and smell your breath, and hear all your thoughts....'

The book is also a sugary trove of cliched gems, such as:

'Sometimes reality comes crashing down on you.'

'When you’re given an opportunity to change your life, be ready to do whatever it takes to make it happen. '

'It felt like water in the desert.'


And schmaltzy advice like, 'You have to find a job that makes your heart feel big instead of one that makes it feel small.'


You shouldn't need any advice if you read the quotes above.


43 people found this helpful

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Representative of Trendy Writing

I understand that many have been enthralled by this book. I was not one of those people. I found the reading formulaic and in the Gone Girl genre, a sort of 21st century laziness that troubles me. It was very "up to date" in its subject matter. It follows the almost required plot line that new television and movies are gravitating to. The author has wisely gone with this flow for ease of publication. All I can say is this: I recently listened to The Age of Innocence, Rebecca, The Sympathizer, The French Lieutenant's Woman and Atonement, so this probably accounts for my low rating. The lowest I have ever given. I do not recommend this book to those who seek more craft from their authors.

69 people found this helpful

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struggled to finish.

it got better as it went along. ended better than I thought it would. a bit predictable / cliche at times.

10 people found this helpful

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Seven Husbands Too Long

What would have made The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo better?

Plot was shallow and predictable.I cheated. After husband #2, I fast-forwarded to the very predictable ending of the book.I am a huge fan of this author and this book received excellent reviews. Perhaps my expectations were too high.

What do you think your next listen will be?

Mary Kubica's new book.

What about the narrators’s performance did you like?

I always like it when there are multiple narrators. All of the narrators were excellent. Julia Whelan is one of my favorite narrators and I always enjoy her books.

What reaction did this book spark in you? Anger, sadness, disappointment?

1) Snore, snore, snore. Impatience. I wanted it to be over.
2) Anger because I wasted my time.
3) Disappointment because I was soooo looking forward to another book by this author.

20 people found this helpful

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I’m not crying, you’re crying

Completely unexpected but also touchingly beautiful. Manages to touch on a number of very difficult subjects while still staying a light read. Bravo.

2 people found this helpful

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  • Sigrin
  • 03-13-20

Great story and superb narration

I was unsure about this book as the title and cover just did not inspire. However this is where audibles members ratings and reviews come into play and I took a chance.

I am so pleased I went ahead and made the purchased, this is an outstanding book.

No spoilers.... Monique a not well known journalist working on a popular US magazine is requested to write a piece about a charity dress auction of the fictious Hollywood legend Evelyn Hugo.
What happens during the meetings of the two is Evelyns untold story is gently revealed, like the peeling of an onion. The layers are carefully unfolded to show the true Evelyn Hugo, who is the character her adoring fans know, but also so much mor than they imagined. There are many touching moments in the book of Moniques and Evelyns life that will fill you with emotion.

I highly recommend this marvelous book.

6 people found this helpful

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  • Louise loves books
  • 06-12-18

OMG

This book is incredible and made me cry. A million stars. I will be buying the paperback of this book just so I can read the gorgeous words that Taylor Jenkins Reid wrote. Thank you for creating this book Taylor.

4 people found this helpful

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  • Maya Connell
  • 09-27-18

I’m in love

I’m in love with this book...
I didn’t realise it was an LGBTQ+ novel before I purchased it, I’m Bisexual myself so identified with a number of points in this book on that topic. I am always in the lookout for more stories which are about more then sex for LGBTQ+ women,so this was a spectacular find. It’s in my top 5 book right now... I really am in love... Thank you, Thank you, to Taylor Jenkins Reid for writing this!!

6 people found this helpful

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  • beci
  • 04-15-20

very emotional

I really enjoyed this - the reading was excellent and the story engaging.
I can't say much more without spoliers, but a great listen overall.

1 person found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Stella G
  • 01-22-19

I was so hooked, I had my earphones at all times

Although 2019 has only started, I can safely pronounce this book will be one of my favourites of the year - because it is already one of the best books I've read in years. It is incredibly engrossing and beautifully written (and narrated). I've gone into this book expecting a lot, having seen it absolutely everywhere since it came out and followed only by great reviews. And I was not let down. Evelyn Hugo is an Old Hollywood movie icon, she's gorgeous, she's a sex symbol (and she knows how to use it), she's ambitious, manipulative, so much smarter than she'll ever let you know, ruthless and unappologetic, and she will do everything to get what she wants. And now, at the end of her life she is telling the story of her scandalous life, all dirty detail included. Apart from Evelyn's point of view, the story is also told through the eyes of Monique Grant, a journalist Evelyn picked to write her biography. Monique herself is a biracial woman, recently separated and in front of an impending divorce, trying to climb her way up in the magazine she's working for. She is supposed to be objective, impersonal, but she finds herself learning from Evelyn, judging her, admiring her and hating her. The story deals with content that is not always easy to deal with, it talks about prostitution (in a form), alcoholism, domestic abuse, cheating, lgbtq+ rights and homophobia, racism, betrayal, but also love, friendship, the glamour of old Hollywood... and so much more. It is one of the most diverse and best minority-represented novels I have ever read. I dont even want to say too much because I dont have the words except READ THIS BOOK.

1 person found this helpful

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  • LWaugh
  • 07-06-17

Brilliantly written and performed

I loved this from beginning to end. Evelyn and Monique are brilliant, very real characters. The book is extremely entertaining while exploring all the complexities involved with being a woman. Highly recommend!

1 person found this helpful

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  • KennaLily
  • 06-03-20

Read it

READ THIS BOOK READ THIS BOOK READ THIS BOOK!!!

This book includes a few potentially triggering topics; domestic abuse, alcoholism, homophobia and some deaths.

This book has bisexual rep, lesbian and gay rep!

This book was a joy to read (well, listen to). The narration style is amazing.

Monique is a journalist interviewing the hollywood idol Evelyn Hugo. And so we hear both Monique's story, and Evelyn's. This is interspaced with articles from signicant events in Evelyn's life which really add something.

I loved so much about this book.

I love how connected I felt not only to Monique and Evelyn, but every character. The author really develops everyone so fully.

There are some important topics discussed, and the LGBTQ* rep was done very well, and I loved the romance between Evelyn and _______. It wasn't overly perfect, it was very real. It felt genuine.

I could go on and on. I can't think of anything I didnt like about this book, unless you count all the FEELINGS. So many feelings.

Just when you think the book has reached it's climax, something BIGGER happens.

And when you think there can't possibly be anymore... THE REVEAL!!!!

And the ending... wow.

Okay so read it read it read it.

Read it for sapphic love, for Monique being a badass and getting what she wants, for all the imperfections and human qualities in the characters.

READ IT.

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  • Fina
  • 05-26-20

Wasn’t sure.....

I’d never heard of this author, I’m not a big reader, but I joined a book club during lockdown and this was on the list! I actually really enjoyed it. It was easy to get through. I did see parts of the storyline coming but it really was enjoyable! Give it a chance you might enjoy it too!

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 05-09-20

Gripping

A fascinating listen especially during these corona times when we need entertaining and distraction

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  • Nina F.
  • 05-05-20

Listen to this book!

so great. what a fab story, such great twists, wonderfully performed. the perfect light story for audio.

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  • gena
  • 01-03-19

Loved it

Loved this story and couldn't put it down or stop listening. Brilliant narrator, really can't fault this book.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Anonymous User
  • 05-21-20

Wonderful and surprising

I loved this book, went on a journey with one woman while the other discovered her own self worth!

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  • Jan Richardson
  • 02-21-20

Fab Story

Absolutely the best writer, have read 3 books by Taylor Jenkins Reid and have loved all of them.
A different way of writing and great narrator's .

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 02-18-20

Great read.

Really enjoyed this book. I had my doubts when I saw the cover, but it was well written and entertaining.

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  • Anonymous User
  • 02-05-20

Why did it have to end?

This is the second Taylor Jenkins-Reid novel I have read and listened to; I love her style, her strength of characters and ultimately her messaging. What amazing female characters she conjures and then makes so very real.

Thank you.

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  • J Pham
  • 09-29-19

This was amazing!

All 5 stars! Even its title is intriguing, rightfully so. The story and the people are so complex and nuanced.

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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • Kylie
  • 09-12-19

not my favourite of this author but good read

I enjoyed this story though was a bit predictable at times. I enjoyed "young Evelyn" voice but found the present day Evelyn and Monique voices hard to distinguish... would find myself getting confused who was narrating. A great way to spend 12 hours though it did keep me wanting more. Would def recommend as a bit of escapism.

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  • Anonymous User
  • 09-02-19

HOLY SHIT

One of the greatest books I’ve ever read! It was emotional, dramatic, thoughtful and raised so many important life questions. Will definitely read again!

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    2 out of 5 stars
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  • Anonymous User
  • 09-02-19

Not in the Same League

quite disappointed in this novel. No where as good as Daisey Jones or Evidence of an Affair. Still, it had an interesting take on Hollywood politics.

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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • Fer
  • 07-14-19

Great story. Two narrators: one superb, one mediocre

One of the narrators (Monique’s voice) has a very strange intonation that is simultaneously halting and rushed at the same time. I noticed it early on and it drove me mad for the rest of the book. Luckily, it only takes up about one third of the book and Evelyn’s voice did an amazing job.
The story was A++, so overall, I would recommend.